Find all the information you need on the best foods to stock up on to ride out storms this hurricane season
Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm is headed our way—with Tropical Storm Jose hot on her trail—and the East Coast will be forced to weather the storm just days after category 4 Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc across Texas and much of the Gulf Coast. Yet, the hurricane season is only hallway through—and weather experts predict we could see additional storms soon.
With Hurricane Irma expected to make landfall in the Caribbean and Florida this week, now is the time to stock up on emergency foods—with a focus on non-perishable food—so that you can weather the storm with plenty to eat. (There's more to hurricane preparedness than items we eat, of course—at the very least make sure to keep a flashlight, different types of batteries, and a first aid kit in your hurricane kit.) So before you hit the grocery store, take a look at this hurricane checklist for the best survival foods you can buy.
According to the FDA, non-perishable foods—foods that are shelf-stable, and don't need to be refrigerated or cooked—should be the first items you throw in your grocery cart. Here's a list of non-perishable items you should stock up for and can enjoy throughout the storm.
1. Bottled water.
Your water may not be drinkable after a storm, so purchase bottled water you can drink and cook with post-Hurricane Irma or any other natural disaster. Be sure to buy at least one gallon of water per person per day for no less than three days, FEMA recommends. (For a family of three, that's nine gallons of water.)
2. Canned foods such as tuna, salmon, vegetables, or fruits.
Many canned products can last up to a year on your shelf, according to the CDC. What's more, these products are ready to eat—no cooking required. Though, we imagine canned green beans or peas taste better heated. Canned foods should stay safe in the storm, but the FDA says you can pack them in plastic bags for added security. Just be sure to check the cans haven't bulged before you open them up.
3. Instant soup mixes.
You can whip up a piping hot meal over your gas stove with nothing more than an instant soup or noodle pack—think: ramen noodles and your bottled water. The single-serving pouches ensure you won't have to worry about refrigerating leftovers.
4. Peanut butter.
You probably already have peanut butter in your house, but make sure it's not natural peanut butter, which must be refrigerated after opening. This spread will last you long after the storm passes, giving you another source protein you don't have to cook.
You may not be able to make eggs and toast during the storm, so settle for cereal, which is shelf-stable for up to a year and the right ones can supply a bevy of healthy grains to your diet.
Some items don't have to be non-perishable to be eaten in a storm. Here are some to buy.
While apples will eventually go bad, they're one of the longest-lasting fruits you can buy.
2. Canned marinara sauce.
If you stocked up on dry pasta—which you should, as it's shelf-stable almost indefinitely—you'll be happy to pair it with a prepared (and canned) sauce.
3. Boxed potatoes.
Read the labels and purchase boxed potatoes that use only water or milk to make. They'll last for six months, and make a tasty side dish for your canned meats.
Pair crackers with your peanut butter for an instant snack packed with protein. They can last up to six months—but buy the dry, crisp variety to reach that longer shelf life.
5. Soy or almond milk.
If you lose power, you may still need milk—but it won't be safe to drink it from your fridge for very long. So buy shelf-stable soy or almond milk you can easily add to your cereal. You can also buy powdered milk, which can last for up to six months.