We’ve all seen the stories of grocery stores being stripped of their inventory of bread and milk every time a little snow shows up in the forecast. We’ve been conditioned to feel like we need to rush out and buy these things to try and feel prepared for being stuck in our homes, maybe without power, for an extended period of time. Purchasing fragile products such as dairy, however, may not be the best option when anticipating some long days huddled at home. Here’s a list of some helpful items to add to your shopping list while braving the supermarket crowds when a prediction of severe weather shows up:
If you’re snowed in but are lucky enough to have electricity, then as long as you have your kitchen and pantry stocked as usual, you’ll be all set. But since most storm prep involves anticipating a lengthy power outage, I can’t recommend a basic Coleman Camp Stove enough. With a stove, you’ll have access to boiling water and hot meals which can make all the difference in how pleasant your time as a shut-in will be. Just keep in mind, however, that these stoves are not recommended for indoor use, so you’ll need to set it up just outside (a porch is fine) for safe use.
There’s no guarantee of a continued supply of safe running water when pipes freeze and the power goes out, so make sure you have plenty of fresh water on hand for hydration and cooking purposes.
Shopping Tip: Purchase large jugs instead of individual bottles to save on money and plastic. You can also fill large containers (even your bathtub!) with water from your own tap before the weather gets rough, which is convenient for scooping out and washing hands and faces, brushing teeth, etc.
… or any kind of nut or seed butter, to be honest. Packed with tons of protein and good fats to keep you full and give you energy, you can spread this stuff on fruit, bread, crackers, stir it into some hot cereal or just eat it straight out of the jar. It really is the perfect blizzard food.
Shopping Tip: Choose natural varieties without added sugar
Bread and Crackers
Yes, even though it’s a widely made fun of concept, picking up some bread before a snowstorm is actually a good idea. Go ahead and add some crackers as well. Butter, especially salted varieties, stays good for days at cool room temps when stored in a covered dish, so if you have power or a camp stove you can make toast or grilled sandwiches. Hearty crackers are great for quick snacks or for eating with less perishable cheeses and spreads. Keeping your fridge closed to avoid spoilage? Put some snow in a cooler and keep it just outside of your door for storing items that need to stay cool, just keep an eye on things to avoid freezing and broken jars.
Shopping Tip: To maximize nutritional density, choose whole grain breads and crackers and avoid the more refined options like white breads and plain saltines.
Pasta and Jarred Sauces
While not an option if you don’t have power or a camp stove, pasta dishes are an ideal way to fill your belly when working with a limited number of resources. A variety of jarred sauces like simple marinaras, alfredo, and pesto can offer a variety of flavors. Mop up the sauce with a chunk of hearty sprouted grain bread and you’ll have a hearty dinner at the ready while watching the snow falling outside.
Shopping Tip: Choose whole wheat pastas for more filling power and choose smaller jars of sauces (with few added sugars and lower sodium) so you don’t have to worry about refrigerating leftovers.
Protein Meal Replacement Bars
Yeah, a lot of these bars are just glorified candy bars, but if you choose carefully they can be a pretty darn effective meal replacement and will keep you full for hours
Shopping Tip: Check the labels. The best types of bars will contain at least 15g of protein and contain minimal added sugar (go for less than 10g net carbs)
Nuts and Trail Mixes
Similar to the nut butters suggested above, nuts and trail mixes are full of great protein and fat for keeping you full and satisfied with the added benefit of having the texture of a crunchy snack. Grabbing a handful of nuts is a super simple way to stave off those hunger pangs without spiking (and crashing) your blood sugar, which can make cravings and hunger even worse.
Shopping Tip: Go for seedy and nutty mixes over ones filled with too many candy additives like chocolate or honey-roasted combinations.
Again, this is an option that’s gonna require electricity or that super handy camp stove I keep mentioning, but a steaming bowl of oatmeal, farina (Cream of Wheat) or grits can really take the sting out of a cold, snowy day. Make sure you’ve got some butter, maple syrup, or any of your other favorite toppings stocked up. You can even top it with some of that trail mix from above, yum.
Shopping Tip: If you’re using a camp stove and want to save your fuel, choose quick-cooking or instant varieties.
Instant Coffee and Tea
As long as you have the ability to boil water, there’s no reason you should miss out on your favorite pick-me-up beverage. If instant coffee just isn’t your thing, you can always keep a French Press in your arsenal for brewing up the best blizzard coffee on the block. But be warned, you might need to invite your neighbors over for a cuppa if they catch wind of the aroma wafting out of your home.
Shopping Tip: If you don’t have power and are minimizing how many times you open your fridge, have some powdered creamer on hand if that’s how you take your coffee.
Though normally not thought of as a common food to fight over when stocking up for winter weather, some types of fresh produce do great at room temperature, can be eaten raw, and are an ideal source of good nutrients.
Shopping Tip: Apples, pears, bananas, citrus fruits, and avocado are all tasty choices that can skip the refrigerator.
Canned Soups or Vegetables
Most people are no strangers to the simplicity of eating canned food, and that simplicity makes them a perfect choice when Old Man Winter does his worst. Canned food is pre-cooked and safe to eat right out of the can, though this is where that camp stove will come in handy if the idea of eating cold soup or beans gives you the willies. Some canned foods that taste just fine at room temperature include canned fruits, tuna, salmon, and Vienna sausages.
Shopping Tip: Avoid condensed soups with lots of sodium.
Yeah, I’m gonna go there. But if you’re cooped up in your house and trying to stay warm, having a couple glasses of your favorite wine sounds like a good way to spend a cold evening wrapped in blankets, no? Just make sure you have plenty of water stockpiled to keep yourself hydrated if you plan to imbibe while riding out the storm.
What are some of your favorite tips for winter weather? Leave them in the comments below!