Winter Storms Food Tips

Big winter snowstorms, like nor’easters and blizzards, bring on extreme cold, major snow accumulation, and other immobilizing conditions. Winter storm experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Red Cross offer advice on how to prepare and stay safe and healthy during blizzards and other winter storms.

In addition to dressing appropriately for the weather, experts recommend stocking up on disaster supplies: flashlights, batteries, candles, waterproof matches, a radio, a first-aid kit, sand or rock salt for icy walkways, a snow shovel, and extra blankets.

However, your most crucial disaster supplies will be your food, water, and any prescription medications you, your family, or your pets need. Even if your home doesn’t suffer any storm damage, you could have trouble getting to the supermarket, pharmacy, or doctor during extreme winter weather conditions.

Healthy Meal Plans in Extreme Winter Snowstorms

A bad snowstorm or blizzard doesn’t have to derail your regular healthy eating regimen. As soon as you hear a winter storm warning, start stocking up on emergency water and healthy, shelf-stable and frozen foods that your family will enjoy. Be sure to pay special attention to the diet-specific needs of family members with health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

It is essential for people with health conditions like these to pay attention to their diets during winter storms. People with diabetes must stay on a regular eating schedule to keep their blood sugar stable, and people with high blood pressure must remember to stick with low- or no-sodium canned goods and packaged foods — not the high-sodium prepared foods that are typically set aside for times when the electricity goes out.

Read the shopping lists and sample menus below to get more ideas about how you and your family can eat healthfully during a winter emergency.

Shopping Lists and Sample Menus by Condition and Special Food Plans

These healthy-eating plans help those with medical conditions, as well as people who choose a vegetarian diet, make it through in good health.

Healthy-Meals Kit for Blizzards and Winter Snowstorms

Part of your emergency plan to stay nourished and hydrated during severe winter storms should include creating a healthy-meals kit. Joy Bauer, a registered dietitian and nutrition expert for Everyday Health and NBC’s Today show, recommends preparing your healthy-meals kit at the start of winter, in anticipation of blizzards and snowstorms. “Doing it at the beginning of the season is especially important if you don’t regularly keep nonperishable foods on hand year-round,” says Bauer. Choose foods for the kit specific to your health conditions and make sure they remain properly sealed until you’re ready to use them. “At the end of winter, you can add whatever you didn’t use back into your main pantry,” suggests Bauer.