Roughly 50 percent of the U.S. population has taken the famous Boy Scouts’ motto “be prepared” seriously when it comes to disaster preparedness, according to a survey by the National Center on Disaster Preparedness.
Having a cushion of nonperishable items can make a vital difference after a catastrophic event. Increased survival rate, confidence, independence, and ability to cope are some of the results of being prepared. Stockpiling nonperishable items can also be helpful during personal difficulties (injury, acute illness, bereavement).
Preparedness experts such as the Red Cross recommend having enough nonperishable food and water for at least three days and up to two weeks.
Think of the worst-case scenario—no transportation or electricity. Which nonperishable foods and liquids are needed for a few days or even a week? Here are some ideas to help with the planning process.
Items such as canned and dried foods have a long shelf life and can be eaten with little or no preparation (adding water or heat). Heat sources might be a camp stove or outside grill, if there is no electricity.
Check your pantry to determine what is necessary for a good supply of protein, vegetables, and fruit. Sugar, honey, and other sweeteners as well as tea, coffee, cereal, and snacks should be included.
Purchase items you like, that you eat regularly, or have tried before, and have room to stock.
Refrigerated liquids such as milk or soya milk are substituted with dried or pre-packaged cartons. Bottled water is a must, with additional hydration coming from sports drinks or coconut water.
Label expiration dates on pantry items so they are easy to see. The dates can act as reminders to circulate the items into use or donate them prior to the expiration date.
Extra tissues, toilet paper, dishsoap, deposable plates and utensils, garbage bags, detergent, and pet food are good to have too. A manual can opener and shaker cup/bottle are invaluable.
Simple foods, such as protein powder and peanut butter can sustain nutrition. Try powdered peanut butter in a smoothie as shown in the recipe below.
Plain Jane Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie
Shaker cup or blender bottle designed for shaking ingredients
250 ml (1 cup) of pre-made powered milk (dairy, soy) or cartons of milk (soy, rice) or coconut water
25 ml to 40 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) powered peanut butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) jelly
1 to 2 scoops of protein powder, per instructions for serving
15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar-free chocolate instant pudding (optional)
If base liquid needs to be mixed, follow instructions and prepare in a shaker cup. Then add one ingredient at a time and shake. Drink immediately as jelly will sink to the bottom. It is a thin smoothie but tasty.
Tips: If electricity is available, put ingredients in a blender rather than shaker cup and add 250 ml (1 cup) ice and a frozen banana. Powdered peanut butter tastes just like jarred and, while good for smoothies, is not a substitute for use on sandwiches.