In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

September 3, 2015

A Gourmet Approach to Hurricane Preparedness

By In the Loop

To prepare for the hurricane season, Dietitian Emily Brantley and colleagues at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus put together a three-day emergency meal plan. Ah September, a time of leaves beginning to turn in the north, temperatures occasionally dipping below 100 in the Southwest, and tropical storms and/or hurricanes spinning up in the Southeast. And as our friends in Florida prepare to head into the eye of another hurricane season, emergency experts say now is the time to start preparing for the worst so you can make the best of whatever weather Mother Nature throws our way. Thankfully, so far so good for the First Coast.

One thing to consider in your hurricane preparation is the threat of losing power in your home. As Florida's WJAX-TV reports, this poses unique and immediate challenges to making sure you and your family stay fed until the weather clears. "The first thing you want to eat if your power goes out is whatever's in your fridge," reporter Jenne Bourne writes. "This stuff is only going to last four hours once your power's out. But if you keep the door of your freezer closed, that food is going to last up to 48 hours."

If you'd rather not play "Beat the Clock" with whatever's in your fridge or freezer, there's plenty you can do to stock up before the weather outside gets frightful. You can start with this three-day emergency meal plan put together by Dietitian Emily Brantley and colleagues at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. The key is to focus on "what's quick, what's easy, and what's stable," Brantley tells WJAX-TV. One such example, she says, is barbecue chicken sandwiches. (We didn't see that coming.) Her hurricane-ready version is "made with barbecue sauce, which is a vinegar-based condiment that has a long shelf life" and with canned chicken.

Brantley says it's wise to "stock up" on various canned meats and peanut butter, as well as condiments, which not only "last longer," but will also allow you spice up what's in your pantry. The dietitians' emergency meal plan includes such gourmet creations as garbanzo bean gazpacho, balsamic pineapple chicken sandwiches, mango tango salad, coconut oatmeal energy bites, Caribbean red beans and brown rice, chicken Caesar pitas, Southeast Asian salmon sandwiches, and last but certainly not least, raspberry jam on angel food cake. (We don't eat that well when the sun's shining!)

The recipes and shopping list for these storm-ready creations can be found here and here. And while you're shopping, Brantley says be sure to remember clean drinking water. "I think the first big mistake is not having enough water on hand," she tells WJAX-TV. "When you don't have electricity, you don't have clean water." A gallon of water per person, per day, is a good rule of thumb, per Brantley. And, of course, be sure to have a manual can opener handy.

While the power is still on, learn more from Brantley in the Mayo Clinic News Network video below and find more tips here. Then take a turn at sharing your comments below. You can use the handy social media tools to share this story with others.

Tags: Community, Emily Brantley, Employee Stories

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