Winter weather emergency meal planning

With winter weather comes the possibility that we could be left with no power and no means of preparing meals for our family.

Winter weather in Michigan can hit us at anytime. Are you prepared to be stuck at home? Start by planning three to five simple meals with non-perishable foods that you can store in your pantry or closet. Think about MyPlate and choose foods from each of these food groups: Vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy.

Here are some examples of foods Michigan State University Extension recommends, that you can purchase ahead of time and store:

Vegetables: Canned vegetables and beans, ready to eat vegetable soups and individual servings of vegetable juice.

Fruits: Canned fruits, 100 percent fruit juice boxes and packages of dried fruit.

Grains: Ready-to-eat cereals, whole grain crackers, corn or rice cakes, whole grain low-fat granola bars.

Protein: Canned meat, including beef, chicken, tuna and chicken that can be eaten with whole grain crackers, beef jerky, canned beans, peanut butter and nuts

Dairy: Canned fat-free evaporated milk or non-fat dry milk that can be reconstituted in small amounts with bottled water and shelf stable milks, including soy or rice milk beverages. One note of warning: Once these containers have been opened the milk needs to be consumed at that time or the excess needs to be discarded. Reconstituted milk can only be safely left at room temperature for up to two hours.

Water: Plan on storing one to two gallons of bottled water for each person in the household.

Once you’ve started stocking your emergency food supply, consider what utensils might be needed, such as can openers and disposable dinner ware, such as silverware, paper plates and napkins, to avoid using drinking water for dish washing.

Finish your emergency food plan by marking your calendar twice a year to replace emergency foods close to expiration dates and rotating them into your daily food pantry.

For more information about emergency preparedness visit www.ready.gov.

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