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If the Power Goes Out

canned food

Be Prepared -

If you live in an area where power outages are common, now is the time to stock up.

This is what you will need to keep your family fed:

  • Canned or shelfstable foods
  • Water
  • Paper or plastic plates, cups and eating utensils
  • A manual can opener

To keep your food safe and healthy:

  • A food thermometer
  • An insulated cooler
  • Freezer packs
  • Moist towelettes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers


  • Batteries
  • A flashlight
  • A first aid kit
  • Family medications
  • Pet food (if you have a pet)
  • A battery-operated clock or watch

Plan for a 3-day supply of foods that need no cooking or refrigeration.

  • Choose from foods your family enjoys, plus favorite treats
  • Include foods needed for special diets
  • Check food labels:
    • - Storage requirements
    • - Use-by or expiration dates
  • Plan on single servings or one-meal size portions to avoid leftovers


  • FIRST - Use perishable foods and foods from the refrigerator
  • SECOND - Use foods from the freezer
  • THIRD - Use canned foods and shelf-stable foods
Choose Foods with Good Nutrition & Safety in Mind

Plan for one gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

* Use bottled water or tap water that is stored in clean containers.

Milk and Milk Products
  • Dry* or canned evaporated milk
  • Rice or soy milk
  • Boxed or shelf-stable milk
  • Powdered infant formula*
  • Canned puddings
  • Canned Parmesan or Romano cheese
Meat, Fish, Poultry, and Beans
  • Ready-to-eat canned beans, meat, fish and poultry
  • Canned meat mixtures like chili, chow mein, stews and soups
  • Peanut butter, nuts and seeds
  • Beef jerky
  • Instant refried beans*
Fruits juice box
  • Canned and dried fruit
  • Bottled, canned and powdered juices* and juice boxes
  • Canned vegetables and vegetable juices
  • Canned salsa
  • Instant potatoes*
Cereals and Grains loaf of bread
  • Bread (enriched and whole grain)
  • Bagels, muffins, quick breads
  • Breakfast or granola bars
  • Ready-to-eat cereals
  • Crackers, popcorn or rice cakes
  • Hard taco shells or tortilla chips
  • Instant hot cereals, rice and pasta or noodle mixes*
  • Canned soups
  • Condensed soup or dried soup mixes*
  • Trail mix
  • Jams and jellies
  • Cakes, cookies, fruit pies
  • Instant coffee or tea, cocoa mix*
  • Sugar, spices, herbs, mustard, ketchup and other condiments
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Margarine, vegetable oil

*If you CANNOT BOIL WATER, DO NOT include instant foods.

Sample "No-Cook" Menu
  • Canned juice
  • Ready-to-eat cereal or breakfast snack bar
  • Whole wheat or enriched bread with jam, jelly or peanut butter
  • Milk (reconstituted dry* or canned milk)
Lunch jam and bread
  • Peanut butter or processed cheese spread sandwich
  • Canned fruit
  • Milk or cocoa (reconstituted dry mix*)
  • Canned tuna or stew
  • Crackers
  • Canned beans (baked beans)
  • Canned corn or green beans
  • Canned pudding
  • Milk or cocoa (reconstituted dry mix*)
Snack crackers
  • Canned pudding
  • Crackers
  • Peanuts, pretzels
  • Juice box
  • Granola bar or rice cakes


  • Store foods in a clean, dry area, off the floor and away from electrical appliances.
  • Keep food covered at all times.
  • Check all foods for signs of spoilage.
  • Check cans for dents and rust. If they become damaged throw them out.


  • Food Safety
    in the Home
  • Food Safety
    in the Workplace
  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook and Chill
  • All food safety education materials are consistent with Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 
    Food Protection Program, FDA and USDA regulations and messages.

    Developed for the Massachusetts Partnership for Food Safety Education by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.