Hurricane season has begun, and already we have experienced our first tropical storm — so disaster preparations are paramount.


Hurricane season has begun, and already we have experienced our first tropical storm — so disaster preparations are paramount.



Many of us struggle with family food decisions during such weather conditions, but remember: eating healthily is just as important as other preparations.



During a disaster, if we don’t eat right, mood swings, hypertension and higher risk of heart attacks are possible. Minimizing consumption of high-sugar, high-fat, high-sodium foods will help stabilize blood sugar levels during stressful times.



Therefore, include healthy food choices while stocking up on disaster supplies.



Have a two-week supply of nonperishable foods throughout the hurricane season. Review your current pantry items and ensure expiration dates are good through December 2013.



Recommended items are as follows.



•Canned beans. Any type of bean is a source of fiber and complex carbohydrates.



•Canned chicken, turkey, beef or seafood. Each is a source of protein. (Check for salt.)



•Water. Calculate 1 gallon per day per person for drinking.



•Oatmeal, peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, seeds and granola bars. Stock up on disposable napkins, plates and utensils, and — if you have a grill — propane or charcoal briquettes.



Additionally:



•Purchase unripened fruits or vegetables and wash them in advance of the storm. Rinse the lids and outside of cans with soap and water. Bacteria can live on lids, cans and your produce. Washing them will minimize contamination risk.



•Put your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings and fill with plastic.



•Keep a manual can opener on hand.



•If you don’t have a grill, try to broil or bake meat, fish or poultry prior to the hurricane so you can eat these soon after you lose electricity.



•When preparing meals, throw away uneaten portions. Do not eat any food that appears abnormal. Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out." Make eating and cleaning up simple and healthy!



“The Healthy Hurricane/Disaster Cookbook.”



FIND IT ONLINE



See more hurricane preparation tips at www.redcross.org/services/diaster.



Brenda Smith is with the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.