According to the FDA, non-perishable foods—foods that are shelf-stable, and don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked—should be the first items you throw in your grocery cart. Here’s a list of non-perishable items you should stock up for and can enjoy throughout the storm.
1. Bottled water.
Your water may not be drinkable after a storm, so purchase bottled water you can drink and cook with post-Hurricane Irma or any other natural disaster. Be sure to buy at least one gallon of water per person per day for no less than three days, FEMA recommends. (For a family of three, that’s nine gallons of water.)
2. Canned foods such as tuna, salmon, vegetables, or fruits.
Many canned products can last up to a year on your shelf, according to the CDC. What’s more, these products are ready to eat—no cooking required. Though, we imagine canned green beans or peas taste better heated. Canned foods should stay safe in the storm, but the FDA says you can pack them in plastic bags for added security. Just be sure to check the cans haven’t bulged before you open them up.
3. Instant soup mixes.
You can whip up a piping hot meal over your gas stove with nothing more than an instant soup or noodle pack—think: ramen noodles and your bottled water. The single-serving pouches ensure you won’t have to worry about refrigerating leftovers.
4. Peanut butter.
You probably already have peanut butter in your house, but make sure it’s not natural peanut butter, which must be refrigerated after opening. This spread will last you long after the storm passes, giving you another source protein you don’t have to cook.
You may not be able to make eggs and toast during the storm, so settle for cereal, which is shelf-stable for up to a year and the right ones can supply a bevy of healthy grains to your diet.