September is Emergency Disaster Preparedness Month. I always remember this because two years ago there was a blackout in San Diego for an entire day. No one in the region had electricity. And I was due to have my third child at any moment. Luckily, we made it through without any problems. But that experience was a stark reminder that I needed to get our family ready for a disaster.
Now that we’re all gluten-free, it’s even more important that we have food preserves and a disaster kit ready in case of an emergency. And for my family, that means packing a kit that includes as much homemade, organic and real food options as possible.
If your family has gluten or other food allergies, I’ve got some tips to get you disaster ready. I’ve also got tips at the end of this article on additional supplies to include in your emergency kit.
10 Gluten-Free Foods to Pack in an Emergency Disaster Kit
Here’s a list of foods that can be bought or made ahead of time and stored in the pantry or freezer to use in an emergency. These all contain real-food ingredients – no artificial colors, preservatives, GMOs, fake food, sugar substitutes, etc. – so you can be sure that you’re family can still eat nutritious, wholesome food even in emergency situations.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing a 3-day supply of non-perishable food in case of an emergency. I suggest storing the dried goods listed below in a non-perishable, emergency bag to have on the go when you need it, and grab perishable items from the freezer when you need it (if your freezer is still functioning).
Homemade jerky can be kept in an air-tight container or bag in the freezer for about a year. It’s a great source of protein, and a kid-pleaser. Don’t forget there are a lot of options in meat, such as beef, pork, turkey and salmon.
2. Gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa
In Hawaii, the number one food that gets sold out on shelves when there’s a hurricane or tsunami warning is rice. Well, that and spam. But forget the spam and stock up on gluten-free, organic grains like rice and quinoa (which is more nutritionally dense than rice). Be sure to soak your grains before you cook them. If you’re on a grain-free diet, quinoa works well if you can tolerate it.
3. Bone broth and soups
So this can’t go in a non-perishable bag, but you can make bone broth and other homemade soup ahead of time, and freeze. Bone broth can be used in place of water to cook quinoa, rice or dried beans for extra nutritional value. Here’s a great chicken bone broth recipe and a vegetable broth recipe (still full of minerals but not the amino acids or collagen in bone broth) from Healy Real Food Vegetarian. Bone broth is especially beneficial to those with digestive issues.
Gelatin from grass-fed cows like Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin (not Jell-O or other low-nutrient instant gelatin mixes) are a great source of protein, amino acids and collagen. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, then gelatin is a great alternative to getting the same nutrients. Plus, you can make delicious gummy snacks (here’s a great recipe) that the kids will love and store it in the freezer to grab and go when you need it. Try these Citrus Fruit Gummy Snacks – they’re delicious.
Another option if you want something to store in a non-perishable bag is Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate. It’s provides the same nutritional benefits at gelatin but you can add the fine powder to any drink or food. Just 1 tbsp provides 6 grams of protein – as well as collagen and amino acids. Collagen helps to regular the body’s metabolism and provides amino acids to help build connective tissue in the body. Our family takes this every day.
5. Nuts and nut butters
If you’re family has nut allergies, then of course adjust accordingly. Otherwise, nuts are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Just be sure to soak and dry them out first to ensure they are more digestible. You can do it yourself or buy organic, raw, soaked nuts. Nut butters like almond and hazelnut are great options to add to your non-perishable stash too.
6. Dried or dehydrated fruit and vegetables
Dried fruit is pretty easy to get – but many store-bought versions (even from Trader Joe’s) have sulfites in them. You can make your own or you can buy organic dried fruit without preservatives or artificial ingredients. Dehydrated vegetables like sugar snap peas can be a great option too.
7. Canned food
Instead of store-bought canned food in tin cans (which contains a high level of BPA and often salt and other preservatives), opt for old-fashioned canned food in glass Mason jars. This works for everything from tomato sauce to asparagus to sliced peaches. If canned and preserved properly, tomato sauce, for instance, can last in a pantry for 12-18 months. You can even can chicken and store it in the pantry for a couple of years – YES, really.
In addition, can and preserve applesauce, pureed carrots with pears, or any other combination of fruit and vegetables you’re family enjoys. Pureed fruit and vegetables are PERFECT for babies, toddlers – and kids of all ages (the adults in my family still eat it).
While boxed cereals at the grocery store seem like an easy choice to add to an emergency non-perishable kit, they typically contain a LOT of sugar and preservatives like BHT. Make your own nutrient-dense granola instead. You can easily make a grain-free version (check out my Paleo Trail Mix recipe) – it’s vegan too. Preserve granola in mason jars to store in the pantry.
You can also make granola bars and store them in the pantry too.
9. Canned beans
Like vegetables and other tin-canned food in the store, canned beans are high in BPA and preservatives. It’s easy to can and preserve your own beans. First, soak dried beans overnight, rinse and cook for about an hour, and then prepare them for canning. Here’s an easy canned beans tutorial from The Prairie Homestead.
10. Gluten-free crackers
You can buy gluten-free crackers to store in a non-perishable kit, or you can make your own and store in the freezer.
What to Include in an Emergency Disaster Kit
1. First aid kit. Make sure you have a first-aid kit with at least at two-week supply of medications or pain relievers. Be sure to include medications for food allergies, chronic health conditions, etc.
2. Vitamins and supplements. We take a lot of health supplements in our house – from fermented cod liver oil for skin health to magnesium for leg cramps and fatigue.
3. Water. FEMA recommends a gallon of water per person per day. So for a family of 4, make sure you’ve got 4 gallons of water each day for drinking and sanitation. Check into a water purification system to remove contaminants from your water. Here’s more information on an amazing water purification system – get your water tested and save even more.
4. Flashlight, radio and cell phone charger. You can get an all-in-one device that’s powered by solar or hand-crank. There are plenty of battery-operated options too. I also like an LED camping light to use a night. These helps to provide light to an entire room, rather than a spotlight like a flashlight.
5. Dust masks. Keep these on hand in case there’s dust from structure damage, hurricanes, tornados, etc. These are also great for those with allergies.
6. Tools such as pliers to turn of utilities. FEMA recommends keeping a set of tools in your emergency disaster kit such as a wrench or pliers to turn of water, gas and other home utilities. An all-in-one pocket knife like this one is a great option too in case you need wire cutters, a screwdriver and other tools.
7. Water filter. In case you run out of bottle water, have a back-up water option. You can get water filters than can work with any type of water or fill a bath tub with water (if you have time) and filter as needed.
8. Toilet paper and baby wipes. Even if you don’t have babies, baby wipes are fantastic for cleaning up or quick refresh (tell me, I’m not the only one who’s used baby wipes to freshen up).
9. Shampoo bars. I love the idea of having DIY shampoo bars on hand in case you need to wash your hair or body but can’t travel with clunky bottles. You don’t have to worry about artificial ingredients or preservatives – these are all easy-to-find ingredients you can find at a local health food store. Shampoo bars can easily be stored in your first aid kit or non-perishable emergency bag.
What must-haves are in your emergency disaster kit?
Feature image credit: Flickr / epugache