How to Prepare For a Hurricane When You Have Food Allergies

Grocery 2

It’s that time again—hurricane season in Florida! Every year we have to be ready for a storm to hit between June 1st and November 30th. Of course from time to time we get lucky and don’t actually have any hurricanes but when we do, it’s a real nuisance. It’s difficult to find supplies, arguments between strangers ensue at the gas stations, and people over purchase products that they don’t typically use…just because they think they might need them.

Preparing for a hurricane is extremely stressful for everyone, but sometimes even more so for those who have food allergies. Even when there isn’t a hurricane on the way, those who have food allergies tend to have limited options at their local grocery stores. Many have to order food online, which may not arrive in time if a major storm is en route. Often times, hurricane preparedness is more difficult when you have to avoid specific foods…and when you have food allergies, avoiding allergenic foods is non-negotiable!

So what should you do when you have allergies (or even food sensitivities) and a hurricane’s on its way?

Here are some tips to get prepared as well as some ideas for shelf-stable foods to stock your pantry with.

Refill Medications

One of the first things you should do is refill all of your medications, particularly if they can be life-saving. Insurance may not want to pay for refills until they are “due” but it’s worth paying out of pocket for a two to three week supply of medication if there’s a good chance there will be flooding and/or power outages in your area. Most importantly, for those who are prescribed them, keep two or more epinephrine injectors on hand. Make sure you also have a supply of over the counter antihistamines as well as other common OTC medications that you may need.

Create an Emergency Pack

In case you need to evacuate last minute, you should have an emergency pack ready to go. A waterproof bag that can store just enough of your belongings for a stay at a shelter or hotel should be good enough. Try to find one with a pocket so certain items will be easier to access. Store your wallet with cash, ID card, and health insurance card in your pack as well as a first aid kit. You can include all of your important medications in your first aid kit for easy access.

Don’t forget personal hygiene items, as sometimes they can contain allergens too! And remember to take along a variety of safe snacks.

Allergy Friendly Shelf-Stable Foods

One of the most difficult things for me to figure out during hurricane season is what I’m going to eat during a power outage. Since I have multiple allergies and prefer to eat a whole foods diet, I tend to make a lot of my food from scratch and don’t rely on pantry or shelf stable items very often. If there are any brands of food you know are on your “safe” list, start there and create a list of the products that you know you can purchase locally.

For creating a shopping list, I highly recommend the app “Wunderlist” since it’s easy to share your lists with your family. They can also edit the lists you invite them to and the app sends updates so everyone will know which items have been checked off or added to the lists.

Sometimes when you begin working on your shopping list, it’s easier to think of what food groups you want to make sure you include rather than specific products. You’re going to need electrolytes during a power outage because let’s face it; it’s going to be hot without air conditioning! You’ll probably want some protein as well.

We often make the mistake of “carbing out” during a hurricane because the majority of shelf-stable foods are filled with sugar and made from grains. Unfortunately eating too much sugar can impact your immune health and cause inflammation. It’s also really detrimental for those who are already stressed or have anxiety due to the storm.

So What Do I Eat?

Try focusing on eating foods you normally would eat, but shelf-stable versions of them. For example, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned meats, soups, and shelf-stable milk are all great options. Just be sure to read labels to try to avoid preservatives and added sugars as much as possible. Buy organic when available.

Let’s be clear; crackers, chips, breads, and baked goods can be enjoyed during a power outage. You just want to maintain a balanced diet as much as possible to keep you feeling your best during such a stressful event. Below you’ll find some more ideas categorized by allergy, along with a few links and brand suggestions.

As always, be sure to read all ingredient labels before buying anything.

Milk Allergy

  • Shelf-stable almond, coconut, oat, rice, or hemp milk
  • Low sugar cereals such as crispy rice cereal or flakes made from oats or corn
  • Seeds and seed butters
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken
  • Crackers or chips (plain/salted)
  • Canned/jarred vegetables (peas, green beans, butternut squash, beets, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Canned/jarred fruits (pears, pineapple, peaches, olives, no sugar added jams, etc.)
  • Canned chili
  • Canned soups
  • Refried beans
  • Jerky, dried meats
  • Dairy free bread such as Food For Life Sprouted Grain Bread
  • Vegan and other dairy free protein bars such as GoMacro
  • Nuts (plain/salted) and nut butters
  • Fresh grapefruit, bananas, oranges, avocados

Gluten Allergy

  • Shelf-stable milks (excluding oat milk unless gluten free certified)
  • Low sugar cereals such as One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken
  • Rice crackers or chips (plain/salted)
  • Canned/jarred vegetables (peas, green beans, butternut squash, beets, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Canned/jarred fruits (pears, pineapple, peaches, olives, no sugar added jams, etc.)
  • Canned chili
  • Canned soups
  • Refried beans
  • Jerky, dried meats such as Mighty Organic or Toby’s
  • Gluten free bread such as Canyon Bakehouse or Whole Food’s Gluten Free Bakehouse
  • Protein bars
  • Seeds and seed butters
  • Nuts (plain/salted) and nut butters
  • Fresh grapefruit, bananas, oranges, avocados

Nut Allergy

  • Shelf-stable oat, rice, hemp, or cow’s milk
  • Low sugar cereals
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken
  • Crackers or chips (plain/salted)
  • Canned/jarred vegetables (peas, green beans, butternut squash, beets, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Canned/jarred fruits (pears, pineapple, peaches, olives, no sugar added jams, etc.)
  • Canned chili
  • Canned soups
  • Refried beans
  • Jerky, dried meats: Mighty Organic
  • Bread such as Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Sourdough Bread
  • Bars
  • Seeds (plain/salted) and seed butters
  • Fresh grapefruit, bananas, oranges, avocados

Egg Allergy

  • Shelf-stable milks
  • Low sugar cereals
  • Seeds and seed butters
  • Canned soups
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken
  • Crackers or chips (plain/salted, watch for added egg in crackers)
  • Canned/jarred vegetables (peas, green beans, butternut squash, beets, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Canned/jarred fruits (pears, pineapple, peaches, olives, no sugar added jams, etc.)
  • Canned chili
  • Refried beans
  • Jerky, dried meats: Mighty Organic or Toby’s
  • Egg free bread: Dave’s Killer Bread
  • Protein bars (be careful for egg whites used as protein in ingredients!)
  • Nuts (plain/salted) and nut butters
  • Fresh grapefruit, bananas, oranges, avocados

Soy Allergy

  • Shelf-stable milks (excluding soy milk)
  • Low sugar cereals (be careful with added tocopherols and lecithin)
  • Seeds and seed butters
  • Canned soups
  • Canned tuna, salmon, or chicken
  • Crackers or chips (plain/salted)
  • Canned vegetables (peas, green beans, butternut squash, beets, sauerkraut, etc.)
  • Canned fruits (pears, pineapple, peaches, olives, no sugar added jams, etc.)
  • Canned chili
  • Refried beans
  • Jerky, dried meats (watch out for added soy sauce): Toby’s
  • Bread
  • Protein bars (be careful for soy protein/lecithin in ingredients)
  • Nuts (plain/salted) and nut butters
  • Fresh grapefruit, bananas, oranges, avocados

Do you have any additional suggestions for hurricane preparedness that might help those with food allergies? Let us know in the comments below. We’d also love to hear what some of your favorite shelf-stable allergy friendly snacks are!

 

 

 

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