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What To Eat During a Power Outage from GE


When the lights go out unexpectedly, you’re prepared. You have an emergency preparedness plan and understand food safety during a power outage But the longer your family is left without power, the hungrier they get.

GE Home Standby Generators helps to answer the inevitable question of “What to Eat during a Power Outage?”

Eat Perishable Foods First

After assessing the food in the refrigerator, the best first step to satisfying hunger with no electricity (like during a weather disaster) is to eat the most perishable food items first. It is very important to note, however, that each item will have to be safe to eat while cold. Any uncooked meat, poultry or seafood, that requires a minimum of 145° Fahrenheit to eat safely, will have to be kept cold or thrown away. FEMA reinforces the idea “when it doubt, throw it out”.

Within the first two hours of any power outage, before food spoilage sets in, the following are quick no-cook meals to prepare:

  • A cold cut sandwich with a side of freshly cut fruit and a glass of milk
    • Safe sandwich options: cheese, mayo, sliced tomato and lettuce
  • Leftover pasta with a side salad and any cream based dessert
    • Safe salad options: cream based dressing, sliced tomato, grated soft cheese

For an extended list of perishable food items that are not safe to eat after two hours, visit the USDA.

Tip: Weather permitting and with safety in mind, use a charcoal grill or gas grill outdoors to cook foods that are not safe to eat cold!

Eat Non-Perishable Foods Last

Power outages can occur during any time, not just during hurricane season or tornado season. Canned foods like beans, fruits, vegetables, tuna, soups and even juices are great items to stock up on in case of a power outage emergency. Considering there is a very limited amount of time and cooking resources for perishable foods when the power is out, non-perishable foods offer much more flexibility!

To prepare for an emergency, pick up a few non-perishable food items and a manual can opener while grocery shopping to keep your pantry stock ready for a few days without power.  Consider purchasing some of the following items to prepare no-cook meals:

  • Canned foods – canned foods will stay fresh for 1-2 years
    • If you have a gas oven and it is still functioning, heat some water, remove the labeling from the outside of the opened can and place in boiling water to serve each canned food hot. If a gas oven is not an option, most canned items are edible cold.
    • Jarred foods – like roasted red peppers or pesto are great on breads or tortillas (which will stay fresh for about a week) to add a dash of flavor to a sandwich or wrap
    • Jarred salsa & chips – an unopened jar of salsa will stay fresh for up to one year and an unopened bag of chips will stay fresh about one month
    • Peanut butter & Jelly – an unopened jar of both Peanut butter and Jelly will stay fresh for up to one year
    • Condensed milk – for any small children in the home, condensed milk is a safe option, which will stay fresh for up to one year
    • Dried Fruit – dried cherries, apricots, blueberries, cranberries and raisins will stay fresh for 6-12 months
    • Nuts – almonds will stay fresh for 9-12 months and cashews, hazelnuts and peanuts will stay fresh for 6-9 months

Even with these no-cook foods in mind, feeding your family during a power outage with no electricity can be avoided. Learn how home standby generators work and will keep your food fresh enough to eat, electric stove or kitchen appliances on and lights bright around the dinner table.

>> Contact a GE Dealer in your area to protect your home and keep your family fed during a power outage emergency.