Healthy Hurricane Menu: A Week on Shelf-Stable or Canned Food
Sep 7, 2017
Linda Watson in emergency perparedness, health, hurricane food, menus, power outage

At least once a year, I stock up on healthy food to eat if a hurricane, ice storm or other disaster strikes. With Hurricane Irma heading my way on Tuesday, I refreshed my supplies of shelf-stable food to get my Taster and me through two weeks without power. (I either eat or donate any emergency food left over from the last season before it expires.) The picture below shows most of a week's worth of supplies (see below for a complete picture). We want to eat well and stay healthy by focusing on beans, other vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole grains.

See the menus below to get ideas to stock your emergency pantry. All the food is plant-based, so vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores can all enjoy it. Most of it is organic too. Fortunately, more stores than ever carry a variety of healthy, organic food at reasonable prices. It's easier than ever to cook in a way that slows climate change and minimizes our risk of extreme weather.

one week of canned food to prepare for a hurricane or storm without electricity


Before the Storm Hits

lemon-berry cashew cheesecake

I'll quit feeding the freezer and instead cook the best of our frozen and refrigerated food. There's no need to keep the Lemon-Berry Cashew Cheesecake for a special occasion when a hurricane is on the horizon!

I'll cook a pot of quinoa, make two loaves of bread, and bake potatoes and a dessert the day before the storm arrives. Frozen jars of bean stew and tomato sauce will go right into the coolers along with any fresh vegetables and the cooled baked potatoes. Once a season, I'll wash containers and fill them with water. The water in properly prepared containers is safe for six months. You don't need to buy a bunch of plastic bottles if you have glass jars or other clean, food-safe containers.

For more on preparing for a storm or emergency, including food safety tips, see my post on preparing for a winter storm post.

Storm Menus for the First Few Days

chickpea stew ready for the freezer

We will eat our way through as much fresh and frozen food as we can before it spoils. Fortunately, many varieties of fruit keep well at room temperature, including bananas, cantaloupe, apples, and stone fruit such as peaches and plums. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and avocadoes will also last a few days on the counter. We'll keep other food cold as long as we can in coolers filled with frozen food and ice packs.

Our storm menu will initially look pretty much like our normal menus:

On sunny days, I'll heat or cook meals using my solar cookers focusing on perishiable vegetables such as bell peppers, green beans, and okra. On cloudy days, I'll heat food using sterno burners. I wish we'd replaced our gas grill!

Usually on the second or third day, our neighborhood gets together to grill and share what has to be eaten or thrown away.

Storm Menus for Day Four and Beyond

seven days of canned ans shelf-stable food for a power outage, hurricane, or winter storm

Lunch becomes the big meal of the day. Any canned food must be eaten or gotten to a safe temperature within 6 hours. (The generous six hours is because we are eating all plant-based food. For animals products, the food-safety window is smaller.)

On sunny days, I'll use my solar cookers to heat canned food and roast the less perishiable vegetables saved for last: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and winter squash. I can even make solar baguettes and cupcakes. On cloudy days, sterno as long as it lasts.

vegan NewTella on graham crackers

What do you do to get ready for a storm?

What lessons have you learned from past storms? Please log in and share in the comments below. I hope you and yours stay safe, dry, and comfortable. May all those who are suffering recover soon.

Article originally appeared on Cook for Good, home of Wildly Affordable Organic and Fifty Weeks of Green (
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