Feeding yourself and your family can be a central concern during a power outage, particularly if the outage may be long-term. Keeping your food cold requires power, as do many cooking methods.
There are ways you can make sure your family does not go hungry while you wait for the power to return. Preparing for these recipes in advance can be a great help if you know you are at risk of a power outage, as purchasing groceries may not be possible during a power outage or storm.
You may need to adapt recipes as needed, substituting ingredients you have on hand. Some meals can be kept as simple as possible, but you may be surprised at the number of options available to you during a power outage. By being open-minded and creative, you can make the most of what you have while waiting for the power to return.
Preparation is not always possible before a power outage, but any time you have in advance can be useful. If you are given a few hours of warning, try cooking up a big batch of rice or pasta, ready to use during the power outage.
In case you have frozen food that you think you may need, as well as perishable foods that need to be cooked before eating, cook them in the time you have. If you have a grill, make sure it has adequate fuel.
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If you have a warning of a possible power outage and have time to shop beforehand, you must ensure you have a stock of non-perishable foods, along with water, stored in your home. You can use and replace these as needed to keep everything fresh enough to use. Try to maintain a stock of the following:
- Canned beans, meats, vegetables and fruit
- Crackers and saltines
- Dehydrated milk
- Dried fruit
- Jerky and dried meats
- Peanut butter
- Prepacked snacks
Sandwiches and Wraps
Sandwiches, wraps, pita or other bread products are often the best meal for a power outage. Not only are they simple and easy to make but using up your bread before it goes stale can be important to avoid food waste.
Try constructing sandwiches and wraps using leftovers from your refrigerator, or any perishables that may not survive the power outage. This can include meats, cheeses, and a variety of other items. For a family meal, trying interesting creations with everything available could be a fun challenge.
If you do not have anything in the refrigerator to make sandwiches, or if the items in your refrigerator are no longer safe to use, you can try other fillings. Peanut butter and jelly are a classic combination and can be paired with vegetables on the side to make the meal more nutritionally balanced.
You can make sandwich fillings using canned goods as well if you are running low on supplies. Even canned beans can be mashed and seasoned to make a tasty sandwich filling and can help make sure you get enough nutrients and protein during the power outage.
Salads may not seem particularly appealing if the power outage occurs in winter, but this can be an excellent way to stay healthy, as well as ensuring your fresh fruits and vegetables do not go to waste. For a heartier meal, you can add tinned legumes or meats and fish to your salad:
- Bean salad can be made with any variety of beans, along with chopped onion, tomato and other vegetables. Add your favorite dressing ingredients such as oil, vinegar, lemon juice or mustard.
- Chickpeas can be added to many other chopped ingredients for a protein-based salad. The legumes often lend themselves to sweeter and spicy flavors, and pair well with carrots in a salad.
- Canned tuna, or any other canned fish, can make a great salad when combined with chopped or shredded vegetables and dressing. You could add mayonnaise for a creamy tuna salad, perhaps complemented with avocado. You could try something sharper, such as soy sauce or juice from a lemon or lime.
Dry cereal can be an easy meal for a power outage, provided you have a safe milk product to use. If you have dehydrated milk powder, you can use this whenever you need a bowl of cereal for breakfast or a snack.
For a more filling breakfast, try overnight oats. This involves soaking rolled oats in water overnight, allowing them to become soft for the next morning. You can add fruit, nuts and flavoring as desired.
If you have a grill, you may be able to make a variety of meals using any ingredients you have on hand. If you have any uncooked meats in your refrigerator, try to cook these soon, as they may spoil if the refrigerator becomes warm. Ground meats can be made into burgers or meatballs.
You could use the grill to cook vegetables, perhaps on skewers with oil, herbs and spices. Try marinating meats and vegetables beforehand for extra flavor, using oils, vinegars and any condiments or spices you enjoy.
Plan what you are going to make beforehand and prepare everything before lighting the grill, as you need to conserve fuel. Pots and skillets made entirely of metal are safe to use on a grill, although a side burner is better than the main grill. You may be able to cook some regular meals in this manner, or boil water for hot drinks.
Even though snack foods might not seem like a full meal, by making sure you include enough variety and food groups, they can be more than enough for a power outage meal. For instance, crackers can be paired with peanut butter, cheese or tinned meats and fish. Moreover, nuts can be a healthy addition to a snack-based meal, as can fresh fruit and chopped vegetables with dip.
In addition, cookies and trail mix could be added to a picnic-style power outage meal in small quantities for dessert. Furthermore, chips with beans or dip could make part of a meal, perhaps served in a nacho style. If you have canned chickpeas, you could mash them with lemon juice and garlic for hummus.
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