By Danielle Carter and 1st Lt. Dana Larsen
Meal planning is very important when trying to prevent having to make multiple visits to the grocery store. Keeping whole meals in mind – rather than just ingredients – also prevents wasted food.
The following are food items to consider having on hand when staying at home for days or weeks on end:
Protein: canned salmon, chicken or tuna, beef jerky, dried or canned beans/lentils, nuts or nut butters, frozen meat and fish.
Vegetables: low-sodium canned or frozen veggies.
Fruit: canned in light syrup or 100 percent juice, or frozen no-sugar added fruits – limit fruit juice.
Starch: whole-grain pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat crackers, granola bars, whole-wheat bread.
Dairy: ultra-heat treated milk (shelf stable), infant formula, powdered instant breakfast, fortified powdered whole milk (infants/toddlers), powdered milk.
Canned, frozen and dried goods have a longer shelf life than fresh produce – these products are generally cheaper as well. However, high-sodium processed foods – such as ramen noodle packages – may exacerbate high blood pressure.
Special consideration is needed for people with health conditions such as diabetes. Make sure emergency kits are stocked with essentials such as testing strips and products with simple sugars, such as fruit juice or soda in case blood sugar drops.
Families experiencing financial hardship may contact the Waynesville R-VI School District, which is offering meal-delivery service on special weekday food distribution bus routes through April 3. Breakfast and lunch are delivered together. Anyone 18 years old and younger, and disabled adults, may receive free meals at the bus stops. There are no income guidelines for free meals. Food pickups are also available from 7:45 to 9:30 a.m. at Wood and Partridge elementary schools on post, Freedom Elementary in Saint Robert, or Waynesville High School. Call 573.842.2099 for more information.
Proper nutrition, hydration, sleep and activity have been proven to improve overall health and well-being. Anyone with questions or concerns about maintaining a healthy diet should call the Nutrition Care Division at 573.596.1762 to schedule a virtual appointment with a registered dietitian.
(Editor’s note: This article was provided by the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Nutrition Care Division.)