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Published on July 09, 2020

Pack Nutrition into Your Hurricane Kit

Printable Sample Meal Plan

Heading to the store? Take this printable Grocery List and Meal Plan with you while you shop.

Grocery List

Planning for food is an essential part of preparing for any emergency – including a hurricane. With the arrival of hurricane season, Wayne UNC Health Care Clinical Dietitian Mary Frances Donnelly gives her tips for packing nutrition into your hurricane kit for you and your family.

Effective food planning begins with assessing your current inventory. “If you have a hurricane kit from the previous year, check to see what’s left over – and don’t forget to check expiration dates,” said Donnelly.

A hurricane kit should include a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food, or nine meals and one gallon of water per family member. Donnelly recommends referring to Heart Healthy grocery tips as a guide for basic essentials.

Tips for Buying Food

When it comes to purchasing nutritious food items for your emergency kit, Donnelly recommends:

  • Going to your local farmers market to purchase fruits and vegetables before a hurricane – and avoiding refrigeration. “This will extend the shelf life of produce,” she said. “Also look for produce without any bruises.”
  • Freezing bread items like whole grains, breads, tortillas, pitas, etc. until they are needed, to preserve freshness.
  • Noting that for some temperature-controlled foods like eggs, they can last about 10 days if you lose power. If you buy eggs that have never been refrigerated, they can last a month or longer.
  • Looking for no-salt added canned food items to avoid excess salt.
  • Subbing shelf-stable milk (or soy or almond milk) containers for refrigerated milk.
  • Keeping cleaning supplies on-hand to clean up after cooking

Donnelly suggests a range of non-perishable produce and pantry proteins and starches in her Heart Healthy Hurricane Grocery Checklist.

Planning Your Meals

To extend your kit, Donnelly suggests getting creative and planning out a few simple, non-perishable meals that incorporate your five food groups: protein, starch, fruits, vegetables and dairy. “Also remember to include healthy snacks, like protein bars, pretzels or fruit with peanut butter, trail mix or even no-bake protein balls with oats, honey and peanut butter,” Donnelly said.

To get you started, Donnelly has a suggested three-day meal plan that covers the basic food groups.

While you’re preparing for the unexpected from a nutrition standpoint, be sure to also check out our resources for building an emergency kit and packing medical provisions for you and your family.

For more information on nutrition or to find a professional to support you in your health and wellness goals, talk to your primary care provider.

Heart Healthy Hurricane Grocery Checklist

Non-Perishable Produce

Fruit: 2-3 servings per day per person

Veggies: 1-2 serving per day per person

  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Canned fruit packed in its own juice/water
  • Raisins or dried fruit
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Canned green beans


Protein: 1-3 per meal/snack

  • Pinto/Black/Kidney/Garbanzo/Lima Beans (look for No Salt Added Cans)
  • Lentils
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nut Mix
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Canned Tuna/Salmon or pre-seasoned packets
  • Shelf Stable Milk
  • Whey Protein Powder
  • Protein Bars

Starches: 1-3 per meal/snack

  • Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Grain Cereal
  • Whole Wheat or Chickpea Pasta
  • Whole Wheat Tortilla/Pita/Loaf Bread
  • Whole Wheat Pretzels/Crackers
  • Canned Pumpkin/Yams
  • Canned corn

Seasonings and Extras

  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Red Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Jelly
  • Pudding

Hurricane Sample Meal Plan

Day 1


1 cup Kashi Go Lean or Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

1 cup Milk

¼ cup dried fruit


1 Banana

1 TBS Peanut Butter


1 Whole Wheat Pita

3 oz canned tuna

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS avocado


1 Whole Wheat Tortilla

½ cup refried beans or black beans

2 TBS avocado

½ can green beans 

Day 2

Breakfast- Avocado Toast

2 slices whole wheat toast

½ avocado

1-2 egg (if you have access to grill)

1 cup milk

Lunch- Banana Peanut Butter Wrap

1 Whole Wheat Tortilla

2-4 TBS peanut butter

1 banana

½ cup carrots

Serving of Pretzels

Dinner- Build your own burrito bowl

1 cup rice

½ cup black beans

½ cup corn

Choice of vegetable

1 TBS olive oil

Red Pepper flakes or seasoning of choice 



Serving of fruit 

Day 3


1 protein bar

1 cup Milk (opt add scoop of protein powder)

1 piece of fruit

Handful of nuts


2 slices whole wheat toast

2-4 TBS Peanut Butter

2 TBS jelly

1 apple

Dinner- Poke Bowl

3 oz canned salmon or tuna

½ avocado

½ cup lima beans or bean of choice

½-1 cup chopped bell pepper, shredded carrot or shredded cabbage

1 cup rice

1 TBS red wine vinegar

Soy sauce and red pepper flakes to taste

Optional to top with canned, drained mandarin oranges and sunflower seeds

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