When you anticipate extreme weather, it’s normal to panic… Especially when you’re looking to provide your family with nutritious meals, knowing that the electricity and water could go out indefinitely.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing food that has a shelf life of at least three days at home. But if you’re plant-based and want to stay healthy, where do you start?
To start, you need a healthy shopping list of items that have a long shelf life and don’t need to be cooked. Your list should include ready meals, bread products, crackers, canned foods (including healthy proteins like chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and coconut milk for use sparingly if you want to make a sauce), long-life spreads (like nut or seed butters, salsa, and tapenades ), dried fruit, applesauce, nuts, seeds, dried spices, long-life plant-based milk (sold in aseptic cartons), breakfast cereal, oatmeal, long-life lime juice, stevia (or other sugar-free natural sweetener), and of course, water (about one gallon per person for seven days). ).
Consider these healthy tips when shopping for durable items.
Look for foods with few and simple ingredients, and try to limit the amount of salt, sugar, and saturated fat you eat. The American Heart Association
When buying canned vegetables or legumes, look for “no added salt” or “lower sodium” (less than 100 mg) on the label. Look for “no added sugar” in canned fruit and check ingredients for sweeteners like juices, syrups, molasses and honey. Canned in 100% juice or water are the best options. Also, when inspecting cans, be aware that the sterility of the ingredients in a can can be compromised if there are dents along the seam of the can.
When buying long-life foods, avoid synthetic additives and preservatives as much as possible. Look for these at the bottom of ingredient lists as they are usually found in smaller amounts. Some of the more common preservatives are benzoic acid, calcium sorbate, erythorbic acid, potassium nitrate, and sodium benzoate.
Finally, remember that in the event of a power outage, you should eat the perishable foods in your fridge first. Start with your fresh fruits and vegetables. If your fridge doors are left closed, food can only stay safe for about 4 hours in a full fridge and 2 days in a full freezer.
Below are some creative ideas for delicious and healthy plant-based hurricane meals.
Healthy Hurricane Breakfast
Pancake Oatmeal Muffins
These muffins are two breakfast items in one! The only catch is that they must be prepared before the storm hits. Just get a packet of pancake mix (you can use a vegan option like the Otherworld Pancake & Waffle Mix which is made with fruits and veggies and upcycled ingredients), some rolled oats and some frozen/fresh berries or dried fruit, add some Add water to a batter and bake in a muffin or cupcake tin. If you want to add some protein, throw in some walnuts or chia seeds. Store in a freezer bag and enjoy a healthy breakfast or snack without electricity.
Healthy Hurricane Lunch
Tomato soup with white beans and pesto toast
For this recipe, combine a can of tomato soup with white beans and sun-dried tomatoes, and add whole wheat crackers with pesto sauce for a delicious side dish.
For the tomato soup, try Dr. McDougall’s, which is not only vegan but also gluten-free and has just 115 calories per serving with 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, or Imagine Foods Garden Tomato Creamy Soup, which contains gluten. free, organic and low in sodium. Each serving provides two grams of protein and two grams of fiber.
For crackers, try Mary’s Gone Crackers Organic Everything Super Seed, which provides 11% of your Daily Value of fiber per serving, is minimally processed and has 3 grams of protein and zero grams of sugar per serving, or Lundberg Family Farms Organic Lightly Salted Wild Rice Cakes, which are also minimal processed and very low in sodium with 2 grams of protein per serving.
For a pesto sauce, you can either buy a vegan brand like Mr. Organic, or you can prep the ingredients ahead of time and combine them when you’re ready to eat. If you choose the latter, stock up on pine nuts and walnuts (which you can toss in the food processor and store in a container before the storm), olive oil, garlic powder, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, a jar of basil, a jar of parsley, water, and Salt and pepper.
Healthy Hurricane Dinner
Vegan tacos are the perfect way to use up the fresh veggies left in your fridge during a power outage. If you don’t have fresh veggies, use a canned vegan chilli sauce—most vegan chillies contain beans as the main ingredient instead of meat. If you have vegan cheese in your fridge, you can sprinkle some on top.
For vegan taco shells, try Garden of Eatin’ or 365 from Whole Foods Market
Healthy Hurricane Snacks
For healthy hurricane snacks, you can’t go wrong with seeds, granola gar, trail mix, nuts, dark chocolate, pretzels, or dried fruit. Given the high calorie content of nuts and seeds, portion size should be controlled. You should also be very critical when buying a bag of trail mix from the supermarket, as these are often filled with salt and sugar and even colorful chocolates. A great trail mix choice with a healthier balance of ingredients is the Enjoy Life Seed & Fruit Mix Mountain Mambo which is packed with seeds and dried fruit, with 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving and is low in salt and sugar… When choosing dried fruits, pay attention to peaches. They provide 34% of your daily vitamin A needs, 18% of your daily iron, 6.5 grams of fiber, and also contain potassium, niacin, and copper. Though a rare find if you can get your hands on dried lychees, they pack a nutritional punch with 2.5 times your daily allowance of vitamin C, 3.2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. Finally, with fiber, magnesium and many other nutrients, as well as a surprisingly long shelf life, vegan dark chocolate is an excellent snacking option. You can even combine some of the above snacks and make your very own trail mix.
Think nutrition, convenience, and shelf life when deciding what groceries to buy at the grocery store before a storm. The best foods are healthy, contain little or no moisture, are not temperature sensitive, and do not require cooking. If you have the time, you might even want to consider dehydrating or pickling your own foods to preserve their shelf life before a hurricane…