You know how, when there’s a Category 5 hurricane hurtling toward you, you kind of freak out?

Or how, when the power goes out at the office for the tenth time this month, you get kind of angsty? Not just because it’s the 21st century and we should have that shit figured out but also because what else are you going to do when the internet’s down but eat?

Been there.

Florida just had a run in with a very nasty storm, and I’ve worked in one of those offices that had perpetual power problems. Which always seemed to happen in the summer when it was 95 degrees out. 

(And always when your boss decides it’s a good time to completely rearrange all the furniture in the office because nothing sounds like a better way to pass the time than sweating with your coworkers while wearing your work clothes and not being able to change out of said work clothes or shower off said sweat.)

Today, my friend, I present to you a very timely (or just-missed-the-perfect-time, depending on your perspective) roundup of some of my favorite supplies that don’t require a microwave, blender, an oven, or any power to prepare whatsoever. Except maybe willpower to stop after just one serving of chips…

We’re not talking about guns and knives or gas masks and freeze-dried food here, although all that could arguably come in handy in either situation. You know, looters or too-much-to-handle coworkers who.just.won’t.stop.complaining (or tooting, I guess). We’re all moving furniture here, dammit!

Sure, whipping out your supply of canned goods might get you a couple of sideways glances from your coworkers. But who’s going to be laughing when you’re happy and well fed and they’re starving and stressed out?

(Note: Sarcasm, people, you won’t starve to death in two hours. Or two days. Especially if you’re prepared. There’s that Boy Scouts motto again…)

Here’s my list of things to stock when you’re watching a hurricane barrel toward you or when you’re hungry in a power outage at the office and you can’t open the fridge lest the office hall monitor lecture you on conserving the coolness…

  • Beans - I mean, this is like Survival Training 101, am I right? Best believe I snagged about 20 cans of beans because they’re non-perishable, filling, and good for you. My beans of choice: garbanzo beans and black beans. But you do you. 
  • Canned Veggies - Another staple straight out of A Beginner’s Guide to Doomsday Prepping. (Totally not a real book…although several books with eerily similar titles are definitely on Amazon.) Canned veggies like green beans, beets, even potatoes won’t go bad. Admit it, you’ve donated some pretty old but still totally fine cans of Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, and peas during that food drive.
  • Nuts - Of course nuts made it on the list. I’d be nuts if I didn’t include them. Bad pun and I’m not sorry. You can’t go wrong with nuts - that’s why they’re on just about every list of recommended snacks I make around here. Here’s a quick nut nutrition reminder for you: high in protein and healthy fat and packed with nutrients.
  • Snack bars/granola bars - Equally great on the go and in the dark, bars are where it’s at. I mean, it’s pre-packaged food stuff that doesn’t go bad (unless you buy those ones from the refrigerated section) and that you can eat anytime. Some of my favorite brands: Health Warrior, Lara Bar, Go Raw, Amazing Grass, and GoMacro. 
  • Rice Cakes + Nut Butter - I’ve never really been a fan of rice cakes. I think I ate them, like, once. But they’re a great option, especially when paired with a healthy source of protein and fat like nut butter and especially when the pickings are slim. 
  • Chips + Salsa - Okay, not my top recommendation for stashing in your desk because this stuff is addictive. But when you’re between a hurricane and a power outage and you need to eat, get yourself some clean chips and salsa. Problem solved. And, hey, you’re prepared for Taco Tuesday.
  • Fruit - This works just fine when you’re in the office and the power is only out for maybe an hour or two tops. Not so much in a hurricane when the power’s out for days or weeks. But you can still keep it on hand - just eat it first lest it start rotting in the un-air conditioning.

Some other options in case this stuff’s not looking too appetizing:

  • Canned soup
  • Cereal
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Dried fruit
  • Single-serve applesauce
  • Trail mix.

P.S. Don’t forget the can opener. Electric can openers don’t work when there’s no power, you know. Get yourself a cheap one and keep it handy.

Let’s not forget, too, that the struggle to entertain yourself when the power is out is real. Aside from manual labor, the options are few and far between, especially in our society where we’re all glued to our TVs and computers and phones and tablets and satellite radio and social media…

Might I suggest a deck of cards and a board game or two? Seriously. Life saver. I’ve played a few games of Old Maid and Go Fish in the office in my day. 

Okay, friend, you might have noticed that there’s some overlap between what I recommend you stock in your desk for a regular day (reference: Healthy Desk Checklist) and what I recommend you stock in your desk on a not-so-regular day.

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