Amy Keller, MS, RDN, LD, is a dietitian and celiac support group leader from Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Q: With hurricane season here, I keep meaning to put together an emergency kit for our family in case we lose power or need to leave our house. We have two family members who eat gluten free. What should I include in the kit for them?
A: No one likes to think about an emergency situation in which you could be forced out of your home for days or weeks. But these things do happen, and getting prepared now is smart. Emergency shelters will not likely stock gluten-free foods. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) recommends that you have a three-day supply of nonperishable food and at least 1 gallon of water per person per day (more if you live in a hot climate).
When preparing your emergency kit, make sure it’s large enough to hold what you need, but not so big and heavy that you can’t carry it. Store it on a high shelf in case of flooding, ideally near the door where you most often exit your home. Stock items that don’t need added water, cooking or refrigeration, such as ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind that canned goods can become heavy if you have too many. Peanut butter, cereal, granola, energy bars and crackers are easier to tote around. If you have a favorite “comfort” food that isn’t perishable, include that as well.
Don’t forget plastic utensils, a knife, can opener, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. You might also consider a small bag of first aid supplies, and FEMA recommends at least a seven-day supply of medications. Find additional information on preparing an emergency kit at www.ready.gov.
For more advice from our experts, check out these Q&As:
Making the Gluten-Free Diet Work for You
Eating Gluten Free in the Hospital
Preventing Gluten Cross-Contamination in Medications
FDA Issues Guidance On Labeling Gluten-Free Medications