Start Shopping for Your Hurricane Grocery List

grocery store aisle stocked with food

If you haven't already begun, it’s time to start thinking about how you and your family can take simple steps to prepare in the event of a hurricane or other unexpected natural disaster. While hurricanes don’t happen frequently, they can occur relatively quickly and without long periods of warning, so it’s a good idea to gather items ahead of time, and it can help to create some sense of security. One of the simplest and most effective ways to begin your hurricane preparedness this season is to create your hurricane grocery list. In this article, we’ll review hurricane season, what foods you should stock up on, and why having these food and water items is important.

All of the foods that you’ll find on the following hurricane shopping list can be purchased at local grocery stores, and sometimes, you may even find these items at convenience stores or gas stations. 

When is Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season refers to the period of time when the oceans have conditions where hurricanes usually form, and there are two: the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific seasons. The Atlantic hurricane season comprises the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico and runs from June 1st to November 30th of each year. 

The Eastern Pacific encompasses the waters surrounding Mexico and Central America, running westward, and runs from May 15th to November 30th. While these seasons last the entirety of the summer and fall months, most storms begin building during mid-July and mid-August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

States on the Eastern coast of the United States are most impacted by these storms, so if you reside in a state like Florida or South Carolina, it’s an especially good idea to prepare your hurricane grocery list.

What to Add to Your Hurricane Shopping List

Add these items to your shopping list for the next time you head to the grocery store. Unlike perishable food, all of these food items are shelf stable, meaning they can last an extended period of time without refrigeration or cooling. It’s best to store them in a garage or pantry, and the amount you buy will depend on how many people are in your household. 

Many of the food items you can add to your list are comfort foods that also happen to have some nutritional value, like providing energy. Also, while you can add whatever nonperishable food items you’d like to this list, keep in mind that in the event of an emergency, you might not have normal access to electricity or cooking tools that you would normally use to warm up food.

1. Dried Fruit

You can opt for any dried fruit you like, and it’s a great way to get some extra added natural sugar, especially if energy is low during an event like a hurricane. Some popular options include mangoes, apples, and bananas, and you can normally find these items in the produce or nuts section.

2. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein that also happens to be delicious. You can find jars of crunchy or creamy peanut butter or even smaller individual-sized containers. Peanut butter can go along with other items on your hurricane preparedness grocery list, like crackers or cereal. It’s important to note, though, that you’ll want to go with peanut butter in a jar rather than fresh ground peanut butter, which can sometimes go bad much faster.

3. Canned Tuna 

Another source of protein that’s easy to prepare is canned tuna. It’s a healthy snack, or you can dress it up with other ingredients to create a more substantial meal like lunch or dinner.

4. Dry Pasta

Dry pasta is a food that can last for years on a shelf as long as the box remains unopened. Any type of pasta will suffice, but you should make note that this food item will only be an option if you have a way to safely boil water.

5. Trail Mix

Another snack item to add to your list is trail mix. Trail mix comes in plenty of flavors, so you’re sure to find a mix with ingredients the whole family will enjoy. Not to mention, trail mix is a fantastic source of energy, packed with nutrients from the different types of nuts and dried fruit inside.

a close up of soup cans nonperishable food

6. Canned Vegetables and Soup

Vegetables like corn and green beans, chickpeas, and soups are some of the healthiest items you can add to your list that also last for years on a shelf. While it’s not ideal, you can eat canned vegetables without warming them up if you’re in a pinch and need a boost of vitamins and minerals. They also go great with other ingredients, like canned tuna.

7. Apple Sauce

Apple sauce can last for years on a shelf, and it’s an option that many small children and toddlers will be sure to love. Apple sauce is another way to get your nutrients in during the event of a hurricane, especially if you don’t have access to fresh fruit or produce.

8. Fruit Juices

Fruit juices, when made from concentrate (not fresh-squeezed), can last for six months to a year if stored properly and without refrigeration. The pasteurization process, or the way the juice is treated and processed, allows it to have such a long shelf life in comparison to other juices or beverages you may drink in short periods of time.

9. Powdered Milk

Some powdered milk has a shelf life of over 20 years, making it one of the longest-lasting items on this hurricane shopping list. Powdered milk is a good source of calcium, and you should especially have some if there are any infants or young children in your household.

10. Cereal

Dry cereal comes in a variety of flavors, so you can opt for any type of cereal you and your family prefer. Just make sure the box remains sealed and the plastic bag containing the cereal box stays intact. That way, you have an item on your list that doubles as a snack and a breakfast meal if you need one.

Other Items You Should Include

Aside from the essential foods we’ve listed, there are some other nonperishable non-food items that you should always have on hand and keep in your hurricane supply. 

1. Hand Sanitizer

You should always have hand sanitizer around because it quickly kills and removes many types of germs. In the event that your power or water goes out and you’re unable to wash your hands with running water, having a bottle of hand sanitizer can prevent you from contaminating your food or getting sick.

2. Flashlights

This item should be in any form of preparation you make, whether it’s for a hurricane or other kind of natural disaster. Similar to hand sanitizer, if you lose your power, having a flashlight will allow you to feel safer, knowing that you can see in the dark and don’t have to worry about falling or tripping over debris or other items.

3. Batteries

Not only do batteries power your flashlight, but they can come in handy in all kinds of ways. You can use them to power any radios you may have, allowing you to stay connected with the news and alerts. Not to mention, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to have batteries on hand. Having a spare set can prevent any situations that might occur if your devices die unexpectedly. 

4. Gallons of Water

You should always have some form of packaged water in the event that a natural event causes issues with potability. You should account for each person in your family to have a gallon a day, and you can opt for water bottles instead if you prefer.

5. Grab + Go Box

The Terra FRMA Grab + Go Box gives you an extra layer of peace of mind. Use it as a step-by-step guide in any natural disaster event, with information about instructions to take and action plans you and your family can follow.

hurricane radar

Wrapping Up

Remember, hurricanes don’t always come with a clear warning, so it’s always a good idea to think ahead about food and water supplies you can collect. If a storm is heading your way, sometimes stores may be crowded or out of certain products, so taking care of it early can prevent any form of discomfort or scarcity in the event that a hurricane might impact your community.

Also, having these items is a huge step in tackling your preparedness strategy. It adds an extra level of protection, knowing you’ve already got the right things if a natural event were to occur. While they may be unpredictable, there are plenty of steps you can take in advance to ease your mind and set your family up for success!