LTSS Emergency Food Plan Preparedness & Relief

We help staff and people supported prepare for, and provide proper nutrition during, emergency situations—which regulations require.

Also see our guidelines in When the Power Goes Out. And go here to get emergency food plan meal portion sizing for 1 to 12 residents for 7 days. Additionally, access resources provided by FEMA and the CDC.

Overview

Contingency plans are dramatically different than they used to be. Regulators now expect written documentation regarding direct staff taking certain actions based on a wide range of scenarios. Additionally, many states mandate that homes supporting people with disabilities maintain an emergency food kit that can be utilized given emergency conditions. We provide suggestions to enable staff to supply proper nutrition while addressing emergency situations.

If travel conditions allow for shuttling between houses, settings without power can consolidate with sites that have electricity—certainly a possibility if power is out in just a small area or is expected to be out for only a brief period of time. But because power can go down for entire regions for an extended period, many agencies transport consumers to hotels to stay until utilities are restored in the household.

And what happens if you lose power and travel is impossible . . . how are customers supported in this situation? We have ideas, not only for the emergency food kit, but also regarding how to eat while the power is out.

There are a variety of ways to deal with the inconveniences and issues that can result from bad weather. In all the scenarios described below, we adhere to Mainstay’s/My25’s guidelines regarding eating the right foods in the right amounts: a) at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and b) healthiest plate portioning (¼ plate lean protein, ¼ plate healthy starch, ½ plate of vegetables, and fruit (usually) for dessert).

We suggest you modify the following guidelines in any way necessary for the conditions in each house, but also keep a copy in the Emergency and Evacuation section of required house documentation.

Hotel Stay

If the consumers have been transported and are temporarily in a hotel, further below are suggestions regarding what to include in your emergency food kit. These recommendations try to match what consumers like to eat, but also try to balance the amount of calories, carbohydrates and fiber in specific restaurant meals. Feel free to adapt for dietary needs or other requirements.

It’s also possible to take advantage of the hotel’s food operations and restaurants that are typically in the neighborhood of most hotels. If you would like a list of the more nutritious foods found in many restaurants, please reach out to us. And be sure to access these guidelines for Better Nutrition in Fast Food and Eat Better in a Fast Food Restaurant.

Emergency Food Kit

Because many regulatory authorities require emergency food kits, we have assembled our suggestions as to how much food to set aside—again trying to adhere to the guidelines noted above regarding nutritious fiber and plating. The list further below details the kinds of food options appropriate for a three-day supply of food. If your regulations require a six-day supply of food, double the amount of food noted. Or, access our 7-day emergency meal plan, portioned for 1 to 12 residents.

Because a majority of the food in an emergency kit is canned and does not need to be refrigerated or frozen, there is likely to be more than the daily recommended amount of sodium (salt) in a full day of meals. To reduce the amount of salt, we suggest rinsing off the vegetables and beans in a strainer (colander) under cool, running water.

Some food suggestions include:

Canned Meats: Beef, Chicken, Chicken Salad, Deviled Ham, Spam, Turkey Spam, Vienna Sausage

Canned Fish: Oysters, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Tuna Salad

Canned Baked Beans

Canned Bean Dip

Cheese and Cracker Packs

Cheese and Peanut Butter Packs

Crackers (various)

Canned Vegetables (various)

Canned Fruits (various)

Dried Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Cranberries, Dates, Figs, Kiwi, Mangoes, Peaches, Pineapples, Strawberries, Prunes, Raisins

Seal the food and beverages in a box, writing a “Use By” date on the outside (to reflect the earliest expiration date on the food you are packing up), such as “September, 2020.”

Additionally, pack up a box containing olive oil; Mrs. Dash for seasoning; disposable utensils (spoons, forks, knives), cups and plates; paper towels; sharp knife; strainer (colander); and can opener.

Two Options When Staying Put at Home & Utilities Are In Working Order

There are two options regarding food to be used in emergency situations when consumers and staff cannot leave the residential site, but access to heat food is available.

If your electricity and gas are working, you are in business with your stove and oven. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you have lighter fluid (stored safely) or some other method to light the charcoal. Only grill outside in an area properly ventilated. Similarly, if you have a butane burner, such as a camp stove . . . only cook outside in a well-ventilated area.

Option 1 – Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)

MREs are commonly available and can be purchased through specialty retailers (such as camping and outdoor supply companies) or through Amazon. The expiration dates when the food must be eaten or thrown away by vary widely—typically anywhere from six months up to three years. Carefully note the expiration dates when purchasing to ensure that the food is not approaching its expiration.

When buying MREs for emergency purposes, understand that you can purchase a complete MRE or a component of an MRE. Complete MREs contain a main course, side dish, dessert, crackers or bread, powdered drink mix, seasonings, etc. Most complete MREs supply 1000 – 1500 calories, and there are a variety of flavors and meal plans available (vegetarian, Kosher, etc.). Some of these MREs also contain a heating pack.

A majority of MREs available on the internet are not complete MREs since they only include the entrée portion of the meal. Plan accordingly to fill in the other components of the meal that may not be included – such as the vegetables and fruit, which will supply needed calories and nutrients.

Option 2 –Individual Components

Use your emergency food kit as outlined above and/or follow the suggested menus below in order to pack up the individual meal components as noted. And go here to get emergency food plan meal portion sizing for 1 to 12 residents for 7 days.

Day 1

Breakfast

High fiber cereal

Evaporated milk (can)

Water for the evaporated milk (plastic bottle)

Lunch

Ravioli (can)

Condensed soup choice (can, low sodium)

Water for soup (plastic bottle)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Snack

Granola bars

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Dinner

Chicken (can, drain) (low sodium)

Yams (can)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light (powdered)

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Quick recipe

  1. In a skillet over medium heat on the stove top, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Open the can of chicken, drain and add to the skillet. Saute the chicken for about 3-4 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
  3. Open the can of vegetables, drain and stir into the skillet.
  4. Season the mixture with Mrs. Dash, turn the heat on the stove top down to low and simmer the ingredients for about 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are heated through.

Snack

Wheat crackers

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Day 2

Breakfast

High fiber cereal

Evaporated milk (can)

Water for the evaporated milk (plastic bottle)

Lunch

Spaghetti O’s (can)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light (powdered)

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Snack

Fruit & grain bars

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Dinner

Tuna (can, drain)

Cream of mushroom soup (can)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light (powdered)

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Quick recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, cream of mushroom soup and the vegetables.
  3. Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking oil spray and evenly spread the mixture into the baking dish.
  4. If you have some bread crumbs, sprinkle a light layer on top of the tuna and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Snack

Graham crackers

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Day 3

Breakfast

High fiber cereal

Evaporated milk (can)

Water for the evaporated milk (plastic bottle)

Lunch

Black, kidney or pinto beans (can, drain & rinse)

Condensed soup choice (can, low sodium)

Water for soup (plastic bottle)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light (powdered)

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Snack

Graham crackers

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Dinner

Spam (can, lite)

White potatoes (can, drain & rinse)

Vegetables (can, drain & rinse)

Fruit (can)

Drink mix such as Crystal Light (powdered)

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

Quick recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Open the can of spam and slice into ½ inch slices.
  3. Place Spam slices onto a baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with a side of the potatoes and the vegetables.

Snack

Vanilla Wafers

Water for drinking (plastic bottle)

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