Photo credit: Anthony Albright © CC BY-SA 2.0

Keeping your body sustained during an emergency is very important, and will be different from your normal diet. You will be using more energy than usual, and you will have a limited supply of food. For these reasons, your hurricane preparation needs to focus on foods high in protein, energy, and quality.

When thinking of emergency situations, you tend to think about meeting basic needs instead of taste and preference. But if you plan correctly, you can have both! Here is a list of foods to include.

Hurricane Preparation: What to Always Have in the Pantry

These items have long expiration dates so that you can keep them on the shelf for a while. Put together a list of everything and check the expiration dates every 6 to 12 months. Rotate through your food so it doesn’t go to waste and so that you can keep your stockpile fresh. Remember to have a manual can opener handy so that you can open your food!


  • Bottled Water: You will need a minimum of one gallon per person per day. Try to keep at least a three-day supply on hand.
  • Sports Drinks: The electrolytes and carbohydrates in drinks like Powerade or Gatorade will help rehydrate and replenish fluid. This will be very beneficial during an emergency since water will be limited.
  • Powdered Milk: When perishable foods like dairy products won’t be available, you can use this substitute. It is a great way to get your vitamin D and calcium.


  • Peanut Butter: It has lots of protein and healthy fats, and is a great source of energy.
  • Whole-Wheat Crackers: This is a good substitute for bread. Whole-wheat crackers have a shorter shelf life than plain ones because they have a higher fat content. However, the extra fiber in them will sustain you longer than the alternative. Just make sure to keep an eye on the expiration dates.
  • Nuts and Trail Mixes: These are a great food item to stockpile. They are a convenient, healthy, and high-energy snack. Buy the ones that come in vacuum-packed containers so that the nuts won’t lose their freshness.
  • Cereal: Choose the multigrain cereals that are individually packaged. This way, they won’t become stale after you open them.
  • Granola Bars and Power Bars: These snacks are great to keep on the shelf because they stay fresh for at least six months. They are healthy, filling, and a great source of carbohydrates.
  • Dried Fruits: Since you won’t have access to fresh fruit, dried fruit will be a healthy snack that will provide dietary fiber and potassium. Try fruits like raisins or apricots.
  • Canned Meat: This lasts about two years on the shelf and provides necessary protein. You can buy canned chicken, turkey, salmon, or tuna.
  • Canned Vegetables: Again, since access to fresh food items won’t be an option, canned vegetables will last a while and still give you the vitamins and minerals you need.
  • Canned Soups and Chili: These can be eaten straight out of the can and offers a variety of nutrients. It’s basically a meal in a can!


  • Sugar, Salt, and Pepper: This may not be something you typically think about when planning food supply for an emergency. But if you have a charcoal or propane stove, you might be able to do some cooking. Having these basics will definitely improve the flavor of your food.
  • Multivitamins: Taking these will help you meet your required nutrients for the day.

Hurricane Preparation: What to Purchase Right before a Storm

If you are given enough advance warning about a storm, you can run to the store to grab a few last- minute items. Since you should be stocked up on non-perishables, now is the time to buy fresh produce and other items with shorter shelf lives. Most of these items should last about a week and offer a nice alternative to your large supply of packaged food. Check out the farmer’s market if it is open. Their produce is fresher than the supermarket’s, and therefore, last a little longer.

  • Apples
  • Citrus fruits, like grapefruit and oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes and Yams
  • Summer and winter squash
  • Hard, packaged sausage like pepperoni and soppressata

Natural disasters, like hurricanes and floods, often come with very little warning. Running to the store at the last minute will bring crowds and essential items may run out. Begin your hurricane preparation now by stocking up on supplies so that you will be less stressed and can focus on other necessary preparations.