Perhaps you have celiac disease or have chosen to live a gluten-free lifestyle due to other health concerns. You know that doing so can be challenging under normal circumstances, especially if other people in your family are not following this diet. Once a week, somebody brings delicious looking bagels and cream cheese to your office. When you go out to dinner with friends, that basket of freshly made Italian bread looks pretty tempting! Living gluten-free takes time and energy and requires an unwavering commitment.
When a natural disaster strikes, it helps to be prepared in advance, and this adage is even more true for anybody who has health concerns including being on a special diet. Chances are your neighborhood shelter is not going to cater to people on gluten-free diets. In fact, shelters often serve ready-to-eat meals that have wheat or oats as an ingredient. If you need to vacate your house because it is unsafe, you may need to rely on your own stockpiled gluten-free food, assuming it is accessible.
Experts recommend stocking basic survival items that will last three days, including water, non-perishable food that requires no cooking, a manual can opener, ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, crackers, and protein or fruit bars. If you are gluten-free, you need to substitute some of these products with gluten-free varieties and experts recommend enough for 5-7 days. In addition to the above steps to prepare for emergencies, the following food suggestions can help you stay gluten-free during a natural disaster.
Gluten-Free Foods to Stock in Your Food Pantry
Honey: Although it can crystalize, all you need to do is reheat it and honey will be edible once again.
Canned fish: Salmon, tuna, sardines, and other canned fish have fairly long shelf lives and are good sources of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Potato flakes: Some chefs swear by this gluten-free item as a substitute for bread crumbs. You can dip meat or fish in an egg wash so the flakes stick, just like you would do with traditional bread crumbs.
Nuts in the shell: They can last for up to 2 years and the shells protect them from gluten cross contamination. Although they have a high fat content, they are a great source of protein and have other health benefits.
Gluten-free cereals and protein bars: Keep gluten-free varieties on hand since they don’t take up much room and are easy to bring with you.
Powdered eggs: Gluten free and less expensive than fresh eggs, powdered eggs don’t require refrigeration and are easy to transport if you need to vacate your home.
Powdered milk: Available in whey form, this handy type of milk can be added to recipes, used in cereals, coffee, and as a beverage instead of regular milk, and has the added benefit of lasting an astounding 20 years.
Canned or boxed gluten-free soups: Many manufacturers make gluten-free soups that are safe even for those with celiac disease. Stock up on varieties that are ready to eat just by adding water.
A little advanced planning goes a long way to ensuring you can maintain your diet. A properly stocked emergency food pantry can prevent problems when your local grocery stores run out of everything but toaster pastries. Try to stock up on gluten free products that have long shelf lives.