Prepare for Hurricane Season with a Diabetes Emergency Plan

When preparing for a hurricane, it’s crucial to consider your health, especially if you or someone you care for has diabetes. Storms can bring power outages, temporary lockdowns, and flooding, which can lead to increased stress, eating, and snacking. Without the right items on hand, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate dramatically. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your glucose levels stable during and after a storm:

1️⃣ Stock Your Kitchen:
Ensure your kitchen is well-stocked with non-perishable items that can last for an extended period. FEMA recommends having at least a 3-day supply of food and 1 gallon of water per person per day in your household.

2️⃣ Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods:
Opt for nutrient-dense foods and avoid highly processed and sugary snacks. Read food labels and compare packages before making a choice. Look for items low in sodium or with no added salt. If unavailable, rinse canned food with water before preparing your meal.

3️⃣ Plan Balanced Meals:
To maintain stable blood sugar levels, aim to include at least three food groups in your meals: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, starch, and healthy fat. Combining carbohydrates with fats and proteins helps slow down glucose absorption.

4️⃣ Store Foods Properly:
Keep foods in a dry, cool spot and store them in airtight containers. Transfer any open packages to sealed containers. Remember that if you lose power, items in the fridge and freezer may last only up to 4 hours. Consume fresh foods first and keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the types of foods you should consider including in your emergency supply kit:

🌾 Grains:
Opt for whole grains as they are more nutrient-dense than refined grains and contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some examples include bran cereals, air-popped popcorn (unsalted and fat-free), whole wheat crackers, brown rice cakes, brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta.

🍎 Fruits & Veggies:
Vegetables are a fantastic source of essential nutrients and fiber. Prioritize fresh produce, followed by frozen and canned options. Choose canned items like green beans, corn, tomatoes, carrots, peas, and fruit cups with peaches, unsweetened apple sauce, and mixed fruit.

🥑 Healthy Fats:
Include sources of healthy fats and protein, such as nut butters, dried nuts, seeds, and ghee. Look for items with minimal added sugars, like nut butters made only from nuts and oil.

🥩 Lean Protein:
Diversify your protein sources with options like canned tuna, chicken, and salmon (packaged in water), as well as beans and legumes (dried or canned with low or no salt added).

🥗 Processed Foods:
Ready-to-eat meals can be convenient during emergencies, but be cautious as they can be highly processed and contain higher amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar. Opt for healthier choices like low/reduced sodium canned soups, low/reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth, and mustard.

📦 Diabetes Supply Kit:
During hurricane season, it’s essential to take precautions for your medications and diabetes supplies. Create a “hurricane diabetes supply kit” that includes all your daily diabetes supplies, such as medications, meter, test strips, ketone test strips, rapid-acting glucose, lancets, pen needles or syringes, pump supplies, CGM supplies, and extra batteries for devices.

Since people living with diabetes face unique challenges during times of disaster, the Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition created a Diabetes Disaster Preparedness Plan which includes a checklist of supplies, information and guidelines to help you remain safe and healthy. Building a “diabetes kit” now can save a lot of worry and time when a disaster strikes.

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