When the power goes out, so may the heat. Not only do we struggle to stay warm, but winter signals an increase in colds, flu and upper respiratory infections. To prepare for power outages due to ice storms or blizzards, store the right foods to help keep you warm and fight off illness.
Emergency response experts recommend keeping at least three days of food on hand in case of emergency. Food that does not require baking, much preparation or many ingredients is best. Prepackaged, preplanned meals such as MREs or freeze-dried products may be purchased in kits. The cheaper option is to make your own long-term food storage kit. Non-perishable foods such as rice, beans and oats along with canned food items are easiest. You will also need to store at least one gallon of water per person per day. Storing water and food in a cool, dry and dark place will prevent spoiling. Eat at least one complete hot meal each day and have hot drinks such as tea and hot chocolate periodically throughout the day. You will also need an alternative way to heat food, such as a barbecue grill, camp stove or MRE-style heater.
Here are the 12 best foods to eat in winter that provide energy, warmth and boost your immune system:
Chicken soup as well as other hot soups warm your body from within. Chicken soup will also clear sinuses and reduce inflammation in the nose and throat.
Peanuts, almonds, walnuts and other nuts are high in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Fats keep our body temperature regular. If you are allergic to nuts, consider alternatives such as flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Beans are high in fiber, protein and provide plenty of energy. White beans are a good source of vitamin B—an essential vitamin we generally lack in winter.
Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal not only keep our serotonin levels (and spirits) up, but also take longer to digest which makes us feel full longer.
Sardines packed in oil are high in fat and proteins—essential to keeping our body warm. They also have a high Vitamin D content.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant to help fight off colds and other illnesses. Sprinkle sweet potatoes with cinnamon for an added flavor and health boost.
Cinnamon, cumin, cloves, paprika, and allspice all boost our metabolism, which raises our body temperature.
Garlic and Ginger
Add garlic and ginger to a variety of foods from savory to sweet. Both provide our bodies with warmth and stave off infection. Ginger also stimulates blood circulation.
Hot tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate
Hot drinks help us keep warm. Hot chocolate not only provides a sense of comfort, but it is also high in fat and antioxidants. Coffee raises your metabolism, as spices do and in turn raises your body temperature.
What is your favorite winter food? Tell us in the comment section. If you missed yesterday’s post, “30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 5: Purchase a NOAA Weather Alert Radio,” you can read it here. Come back tomorrow and I will help you choose the best emergency flashlight.