While some people may be prepared to ride out a storm, many don’t keep enough food in their refrigerators and pantries to be able to survive for even a few days. That’s why you’ll see huge lines at grocery stores before a snowstorm or a hurricane because those who haven’t prepared are trying to make sure that they have enough food on hand to survive. Shelves are quickly picked bare, so you’ll have a tough time finding anything useful. That’s why it’s better to stock up well beforehand. Here are some of the top food choices you’ll want to stock up on that you won’t find on grocery store shelves in the days leading up to a major storm.
Man may not be able to live on bread alone, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at grocery store shelves. Bread is one of the first things to disappear from store shelves. It’s easy to eat, goes with just about anything, and keeps relatively well.
Milk is a near-perfect foodstuff, with plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But because it’s perishable, it will only last as long as you have electricity. In winter that may not be a problem because you can always keep it chilled outside. If you’re preparing for summer storms or flooding then you don’t want too much or it will spoil before you can drink it all.
Stocking up on water is always a good idea, even outside of natural disasters. Sudden plumbing problems, water supply contamination, or loss of water pressure can end the supply of tap water you’re used to. Calculate how much water you’ll need each day for drinking and washing, then store at least a week’s supply. You won’t be able to find water bottles at the store in the days leading up to a major storm.
Cereal is also one of the first things to go. If you’re a cereal eater, make sure you have a few boxes stashed away.
Eggs are a great way to start the day for breakfast. But because most grocery store eggs have been washed, they need to stay refrigerated. They can keep for up to three weeks in the fridge, so you can keep a good supply stored up.
Butter makes bread taste better, and it’s good for cooking and baking. It’s also perishable if not refrigerated, which again won’t necessarily be a problem in the winter time. Stored in the freezer it can keep for months before you need to use it.
If you can’t do without your morning cup of coffee, make sure you have plenty on hand before a disaster. It’ll keep you warm and energized when you dig out a few feet of snow or give you plenty of pep when you have to sift through the debris left by a major storm.
An alternative to sugar, honey is a good high-energy food source in its own right. It can also be used as a topical antibiotic to treat small scrapes and cuts.
Once you run out of bread, you can bake your own or, if you don’t have an oven, make tortillas or other quick flatbreads. The upside to baking your own is that it will probably taste better than store-bought too.
10. Fruit (Canned and Fresh)
Bread, milk, and water is a pretty boring diet. Fruits help liven up the diet as well as provide useful vitamins. Fresh fruit needs to be consumed within a few days since it will spoil. Canned fruit keeps for years and because the contents don’t need to be heated before serving, you can eat the fruit straight out of the can.
11. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great high-energy food. Spread it on bread, eat it with celery and raisins, or use it as a dip for apple slices.
Salt makes a lot of foods taste better, plus it’s used heavily in cooking and baking. And if you don’t have any or your supplies are running low, you may want to stock up before it disappears from shelves.
Sugar is another staple that people want to stock up on. Whether for sweetening foods or baking, it pays to keep a supply on hand.
14. Vegetables (Canned and Fresh)
Fresh vegetables will spoil, the more delicate types if they aren’t refrigerated. Canned vegetables don’t come in too many exciting variations, but cans of various vegetables can be mixed with canned tomatoes to create quick and tasty soups.
15. Canned Meat and Fish
Canned meat and fish may not be the tastiest, but it may be the only source of protein you’ll have once you exhaust your stores of fresh meat. Especially if your power goes out and you find yourself having to toss all those steaks you have in the freezer, you may find yourself dependent on SPAM or canned tuna to get your protein.