Hurricane Preparation: Healthy Eating Tips

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No power? No problem. While candlelight and silence may be the makings of a romantic date night at home, a can of cold beans is an instant buzz kill in any situation. If a hurricane leaves you in the dark, here are some tasty and nutritious meal ideas to serve up — no oven, blender, perishables or microwave required!

Overnight Oats



Mix rolled oats with water (FEMA recommends at least one gallon of water per person (and pet) each day for hydrating and preparing foods) and let sit overnight on the counter. In the morning, add no salt peanut butter, raisins or other dried fruit, sliced banana or apple and a little cinnamon, for a delicious no-cook bowl of oatmeal.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is an excellent source of protein that packs in omega-3 fatty acids, but be careful – it can also pack in the sodium. For some great low sodium alternatives use Starkist Very Low Sodium Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water or Bumble Bee Very Low Sodium Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, both only 35mg per 2oz.



Fruits and Veggies

As much fun as it sounds to live on nothing but protein, salt, carb and sugar, it’s important to keep balance by stocking up on hardy fresh fruits and vegetables that can survive room temperature for several days if not weeks. Skip highly perishable items like lettuce as well as high-water-content, thin-skinned items like cucumbers, peaches or strawberries. Buy smart, and you will have fresh produce for weeks or more. Bananas will keep for about a week — the same goes for tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. Citrus (i.e. oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit) keep for a few weeks, as do melons, onions, carrots, apples and hard-skinned gourds – like butternut and spaghetti squash. Hardier greens, like spinach and collards, as well as fresh herbs and asparagus will keep for several days when stood upright in a glass of water.

Wrap it Up



Corn or flour tortillas stay for weeks on your pantry shelf and can make ordinary fixings come alive. Opt for corn tortillas for little to no sodium or look for flour tortillas with less than 100mg of sodium each. The brand La Bandertia Tortillas has only 85mg per tortilla!

Hummus

For a tasty snack, use a fork or potato masher to smash a can of no salt added chickpeas. Then stir in lemon juice, garlic powder and a touch of black pepper for a homemade hummus dip. Serve with any sliced veggies you have on hand or whole-grain crackers for dipping.



Spill the Beans

When a storm is headed our way, we know to stock up on beans as a great source of protein. For an easy bean salad, add no salt canned corn and no salt added diced tomatoes (drained) to your choice of beans, then mix with lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder and a touch of black pepper. You can eat it with a fork or use whole-grain no salt/low salt tortilla chips for dipping. Be sure to have an old-fashioned manual can opener on hand. Combine the hummus with the bean salad on a wrap and you’ve made a meal that is yummy, substantial and low in salt.

Comfort Foods



While potato chips and candy bars can be comforting during a stressful time such as a hurricane, try to limit your consumption of these foods. Processed items are loaded with sodium. You’ll have to work harder now more than ever to avoid them. Smarter choices include the following low salt options: baked veggie chips, multi-grain tortilla chips, pita chips, whole-wheat crackers, trail mix or dark chocolate.

By Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD