The weather gods have spoken, and there’s a snowstorm (or worse, a blizzard) on its way. But before you flock to the nearest grocery and start stocking up on bags of potato chips, Marshmallow Fluff and cookie dough, take note. There are plenty of healthy options, including fresh produce, worth picking up, instead. In fact, eating a well-balanced meal can help you stay warm and boost your immune system, protecting you from catching a cold or the flu.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It, says, “You can’t always plan for emergencies, but when possible, it can make the difference between whether you’re safe or in danger.” Taub-Dix recommends picking up plenty of bottled water, canned foods, veggies and fruit and small-sized jars of mayo or mustard to avoid excess waste.
Here are a few snowstorm all-stars to add to your grocery list:
- Hearty grains. Oatmeal, farro and brown rice, cook up quickly over stovetop, keep you warm and provide lasting energy you’ll need.
- Soups and stews. Grab a couple cans, or the ingredients to make some ahead of time and store in the freezer, so all you have to do is re-heat them.
- Canned tuna and salmon. Trust us, these will make it easy to get a hit of protein and omega-3 fatty acids (which will help boost your immune system!).
- Leafy greens. Superfoods like kale and Swiss chard have a longer shelf life than Romaine lettuce and spinach, and are brimming with nutrients.
- Citrus fruits, apples, bananas and avocados take time to ripen and come in handy for simple breakfasts and snacks.
- Starchy vegetables. Winter squash and sweet potatoes don’t go bad easily, and when you’re in a serious pinch, high-quality protein powders can give you nutrients, minerals and vitamins when fresh food isn’t available.
More pro tips? If the power goes out, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. “An unopened, full freezer can hold foods safely for about 48 hours. A refrigerator will keep your food safe for about four to five hours,” Taub-Dix says.
Another thing to note: While a hot toddy or cuppa spiked wine hot chocolate sounds like the perfect way to stay toasty, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages or caffeinated drinks. Alcohol and caffeine can cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. With that said, here are some easy, health-boosting recipes when a snomaggedon hits.
RELATED: 9 Easy Overnight Oats Recipes
8 Super Easy Recipes to Fill You Up During a Snowstorm
On the night before a snowstorm, make ahead a week’s worth of these deliciously filling overnight oats. Simply mix unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, peanut butter and maple syrup in a Mason jar. Slowly add in rolled oats until they’re all immersed in the almond milk. Leave the jars in the fridge overnight to let the mixture set. In the morning, add whatever fresh berries you have and chopped nuts. If your nearest grocery is out of milk, you can make your own nut milk at home. Just follow this simple guide. Outta peanut butter, too? Check out these DIY nut butter and fruit jams you can make with leftover nuts and fruits. Recipe and photo: Dana Schultz / Minimalist Baker
Sweet potatoes are great starchy vegetables to keep on hand because they don’t need to be refrigerated, and last a few weeks. Plus, they’re packed with beta-carotene, the secret ingredient to healthy skin and eyes. This recipe also features red curry paste to bring on the heat, immune-boosting ginger and garlic, which has allicin, a compound that helps fight infection. Photo and recipe: Colette Dike / Food Deco
No stove? No problem! If the gas isn’t working, consider whipping up these easy yet flavorful open-faced sandwiches. Instead of mayo, we swap in creamy avocado to prepare the tuna salad. Be sure to purchase unripe avocados a few days before you plan to use them so they ripen on time. Top with halved grape tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese and black beans on toasted whole-grain or sprouted bread. Photo and recipe: Monique Volz / Ambitious Kitchen=
When snow strikes, so do the sugar cravings. Cue that box of Oreos looking more appealing than ever. But if you’ve got a couple of overripe bananas sitting on your counter, this mouthwatering shake is just what you need to satisfy those sweet rumblings. Bonus: It has other good-for-you ingredients, including extra-virgin coconut oil, nut butter, chia seeds, maca powder and freshly grated nutmeg and cardamom to spice things up. Photo and recipe: Alison Wu / Wu Haus
Switch up your grain game and try incorporating farro into your dishes. It’s similar to long-grain brown rice but has a chewier texture. This satisfying farro salad includes cannellini beans, which are an excellent source of plant protein when beef, chicken and fish are out of reach. Garlic, parsley, leeks and lemon juice add refreshing flavor. Photo and recipe: Brandon Matzek / Kitchen Konfidence
A bowl of this sweetly spiced granola with milk beats the cereal box any day. Unlike the store-bought stuff, this ginger-spiked granola is lightly sweetened with blackstrap molasses (a good source of potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium). Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and unsweetened dried fruit are also in the mix. Photo: Alan Weiner; Recipe: Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky / Run Fast. Eat Slow. Cookbook
Poke bowls actually make flavorful, nutrient-rich meals when the power is out because you can do all the prep work in advance, and there’s not much to cook. Clean out your fridge by using leftover fresh herbs, veggies and fruits to make a zesty sauce, like the mango chimichurri in this recipe. You can also make the brown rice ahead of time and just store it in Tupperware. Tuna cooks up super quick, requiring only about a minute of searing per side before you slice it thinly. Photo and recipe: Tieghan Gerard / Half-Baked Harvest
We call this a “kitchen sink” salad because it features a colorful variety of seasonal produce. Kale outlives other leafy greens in the fridge, which makes it super versatile. Meanwhile, delicata squash roasts up quickly, so you only need about 15 to 20 minutes for it to caramelize. Add some walnuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, and you’ve got a fiber-rich meal that’s ready in minutes! Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by Daily Burn