20 Tips for a Better Hurricane Food Kit: Advice from Janet Keeler – WUSF News | Gmx Pharm

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Florida’s official hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. But things really pick up during the peak season, which falls between mid-August and late October, according to Florida State University’s Florida Climate Center.

So if your hurricane kit isn’t quite ready for a big storm just yet, don’t worry. There is still time to stock up. And when it comes to food, this week’s guest can help you think beyond the soup can.

Friend of the pod Janet Keeler is the former longtime food editor of The Tampa Bay Times and currently the freelance editor of the personal finance website The Penny Hoarder. So she knows a thing or two about preparing your hurricane food kit on a budget. Here’s Janet’s advice.

1) Take this seriously. “One of the biggest mistakes is just not taking it seriously,” says Janet. “It can be very serious. Life and death stuff.”

2) Assess the needs of your household. There is no easy solution depending on whether you live with babies, children, seniors, people with special medical needs or pets. “There’s a lot to think about,” says Janet. “One size doesn’t fit all.”

3) Start now. “Part of the problem with putting together a hurricane food kit is that it’s expensive and you need other things besides food,” says Janet. “That’s why I suggest you start stocking up now.” If your budget allows, spend an extra $10 on each grocery purchase so you can stock up on water and non-perishables as you go. Try to snag items on sale.

4) Conduct reconnaissance. Spend a few hours browsing the stores to get an idea of ​​what to buy to prepare for a storm. Explore shops and aisles you don’t normally visit.

5) Ban together. To ease the financial burden, join a friend or neighbor and share the cost of bulk items from Sam’s Club or Costco.

6) Buy what you will actually eat. “I’m very opposed to buying groceries that your family doesn’t normally eat,” says Janet. “If you don’t usually eat spam, don’t buy a lot of it.”

7) Lower the bar. Don’t worry about preparing a gourmet meal every day. Just figure out what you’re going to eat to survive a few days until help arrives.

8) Prepare for a power outage. Janet says food can be more of a problem during a small storm than during a large storm when most people are evacuating. “If a Cat. 5 hurricane hits us, hopefully you’ll be gone. You don’t drive it out,” she says. “But [during] these lower-tier hurricanes, you’re likely to stay there. And what’s going to happen here is the power goes out. What are you going to do now? What will you eat?”

9) Think like a camper. “You’re in really good shape as a camper,” says Janet. Items like camp stoves and MREs (meals to eat) are useful.

10) Grill what you have. If you have a grill and the power goes out, cook whatever thaws in your freezer before it goes bad.

11) Find out where you get your protein. Realistic options include thawed frozen meat, peanut butter, canned chickpeas, or canned tuna with mayonnaise. To avoid opening—and spoiling—an entire jar of mayonnaise, start collecting Shelf Stable packets of mayonnaise.

12) Beware of salty-sweet snacks. They provide little protein and make you thirsty.

13) Buy more water than you think you will need. For hydration and hygiene measures, the US Department of Homeland Security recommends one gallon of water per person, per day for several days. “I’m sure most of us fall for that,” notes Janet. Stock up on water supplies ahead of time—shelves are empty days before a storm—and find a place in your home to store it all.

14) Shop in the aisles. “When you go to the grocery store, don’t we always say, ‘Shop the perimeter’? Because that’s where the fresh stuff is. Well, with hurricanes, you almost want to look down the middle,” says Janet. Grab items like peanut butter crackers, granola bars, fruit cups, and long-life milk for granola.

15) Buy last-minute produce. Do the last grocery shopping a few days before the expected storm. Buy a bag of apples, oranges or avocados so you have something fresh to eat. If the power goes out or you need to evacuate, store the produce in a cooler filled with ice.

16) Respect the power of comfort food. Before a storm, if you can, cook something simple but special to look forward to. It feels like a luxury, but after a disaster, a pot of gumbo or a pan of brownies can ease your anxiety. When it really affects you, home has a different meaning, so we really long for it,” says Janet.

17) Think of non-food items. This includes paper plates, hand wipes, a manual can opener, garbage bags, and anything else you would take on a camping trip or picnic.

18) Keep handwritten recipes. This is a longer term project, but if you have time consider scanning and digitizing irreplaceable recipes or cookbook pages. This is a lesson many New Orleansers learned after Hurricane Katrina.

19) Prepare for the worst. After a storm, prepare to survive a few days without help. “My goal is not to be the person waiting in line for gas, cash or water,” says Janet. If your budget allows, keep your gas tank full and put a few hundred dollars in cash aside.

20) Hoping for the best. With any luck, you won’t have to break into your hurricane food set. In this case, do not let the items go to waste. Introduce food back into your normal eating routine or donate to those less fortunate.

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