Your hurricane grocery list

By Janet Keeler
Published June 6, 2007

Don't talk yourself out of a hurricane kit just because you have an evacuation plan. An impending storm may not be severe enough to require evacuation. However, even a tropical storm or a minimal hurricane can knock out power for days. You may have a roof over your head, but not the electricity to cook dinner or run the refrigerator. That's when shelf-stable food comes in handy. When making up a shopping list, consider whom you are buying for. Is there a baby in the house? A diabetic? In general, don't buy food that your family won't eat regularly - it'll still be in the cupboard for hurricane season 2010.

Clip and save this basic shopping guide for your hurricane food kit. Buy your supplies little by little over the next few weeks and you'll be ready when Chantal, Felix and Noel drop by. Let's hope, though, they stand us up. Or just stay as long as Barry.


Water: A gallon per person, per day, enough for seven days. Or if you buy the bottles, that's eight 16-ounce bottles per person or 56 bottles for seven days.

Juice: Juice and enhanced waters in boxes and plastic bottles.

Milk: Powdered or shelf-stable, in single-serving boxes. (Store more water if you are planning to use powdered milk.)

Alcohol: In general, don't. A glass of wine may calm the nerves but too much will cloud judgment.

Caffeine: Canned coffee drinks or energy drinks such as Red Bull.


Crackers: For snacking or eating with cheese and cold cuts from the fridge just after power goes out.

Fruit: Single-serving fruit cups and applesauce. When a storm is a few days away, buy apples and oranges.

Healthier snacks: Granola bars, Fruit Roll-Ups, dried fruit, rice cakes, nuts and trail mix offer nutrition and have a long shelf life.

Comfort food: You might as well buy the Twinkies (or Pop-Tarts, doughnuts, Nutter Butters or Little Debbies). You know you're going to crave them.


Canned soups, chili, vegetables, stews: They can be eaten cold but can also be heated in a pot on the grill.

Cereal: Vitamin-fortified cereal can be eaten dry or with boxed or powdered milk.

Preserved meats: Beef jerky is high-protein, low-carb and good for diabetics. Canned tuna, chicken, even Spam, also provide protein.

Condiments: Mayonnaise is generally a no-no because of refrigeration issues, but buy the smallest jar you can and make tuna or chicken salad. Look for condiments - ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, relish, salt and pepper - in individual packets.


Supplies: Garbage bags and ties, paper towels, wipes, fuel (charcoal, lighter fluid, matches) or a full propane tank for the grill, hand sanitizer. Don't forget the manual can opener. Plastic wrap or storage containers.

Tableware: Paper plates, napkins and paper or plastic cups; plastic forks, knives and spoons; a couple of serving spoons, forks and knives for food preparation and serving.

Pet food: Food and drink for your pets, and their familiar dishes. Vitamins and medications.