By Cheryl McEvoy, Director of Communications & New Media, NFCA
As the nation tracked Hurricane Isaac this week, it was a good reminder to make sure your emergency plans are in place. You can never be too prepared for a natural disaster, and that’s even more apparent when you have special dietary needs.
Gluten-free food can be hard to come by in emergency situations and evacuations. Shelters typically offer non-perishables or mass-produced meals, so it may be hard to tell which food is gluten-free. Volunteers may use shared pots or utensils, and the overall stress of the environment may make it hard to monitor which spoons have touched what.
It’s impossible to anticipate what may be available, or how long gluten-free supplies may last. What you can do is be prepared with your own emergency kit. Here are some items to include:
- Gluten-free energy bars
- Shelf-stable peanut butter
- Gluten-free crackers
- Gluten-free jerky
- Gluten-free granola
- Nuts and dried fruit
- Gluten-free soup (Choose a flavor like tomato bisque that tastes good even when it’s not piping hot.)
- Canned tuna (Choose a pop-top or pack a can opener!)
- Gluten-free nutrition shakes/meal replacement drinks
- Bottled water
- Gluten-free dining cards (to help you explain your needs to emergency response staff/volunteers)
- Important medications
Pack the items in a big zip-top tote or cooler, and make sure the bag is easily accessible in the event of an emergency.
For more tips, see “Disaster Preparedness” on NFCA’s staff blog.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers Vitacost.com website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free living, visit www.celiaccentral.org.