Eggs, milk, and bread are the worst things to stockpile before a blizzard

Decisions, decisions.
Decisions, decisions.
Image: AP/Paul Sakuma
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Storm Jonas is coming, and everyone is headed for the grocery store. Washington, DC mayor Muriel E. Bowser called Storm Jonas “life-threatening” this morning (Jan. 22), and urged residents to stockpile enough food and supplies to last 72 hours.

In classic pre-storm preparations, shoppers will likely reach for the eggs, milk, and bread to get them through the inclement weather. These three can be found on any emergency snowstorm grocery list—but there’s no reason that they should be.

Sure, there may be some psychological benefits to picking common grocery items. They may help fearful shoppers feel like the storm really won’t be that bad. Buying perishables in particular, like eggs and milk, may even inspire the feeling that storm will be over soon enough, psychologist Judy Rosenberg tells science blog How Stuff Works.

But here’s what you know, emergency preparedness shoppers: Milk will go bad if left unrefrigerated. What will you do if the power goes out for too long? Instead, pick up bottled water and powdered milk. Powdered milk has a longer shelf life, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  

And although some may not refrigerate their eggs, most Americans do—and eggs too will perish if you’re stuck without a working refrigerator for more than two hours, according to consumer guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration. Pick up peanut butter or canned tuna instead. They both have protein and healthy fats (you could even splurge and get tuna stored in olive oil), as well as longer shelf lives. Pairs well with crackers.

Bread, on the other hand, will be fine if you leave it out and the electricity’s gone. But it has almost no nutritional value. Canned beans, vegetables, and soup are better, tastier options—and you will still be able to warm them up on a gas stove if your power goes out, or even eat some cold.

Finally, if you’re a snacker, keep nuts and dried fruit handy for a quick energy and fiber boost. Granola is good too, just pick a variety that’s higher in protein and lower in sugar. It’s all preferable to plain ol’ toast, anyway.