One of the biggest concerns during load shedding is how to keep food safe. Without power, refrigerators and freezers can’t keep food at safe temperatures, which can lead to spoilage and foodborne illness. However, there are steps you can take to keep your food safe during load shedding. Here are some tips:

1. Keep your refrigerator/ freezer doors closed during load shedding

When the power goes out, your refrigerator and freezer will start to warm up. To keep your food at a safe temperature, it’s important to keep the doors closed as much as possible. Every time you open the door, cold air escapes, and warm air enters. This can cause the temperature inside the refrigerator or freezer to rise, which can spoil your food faster.

2. Use a cooler during load shedding

If you have a cooler, you can use it to keep your food cold during load shedding. Fill the cooler with ice or frozen gel packs and place your perishable food inside. Keep the cooler in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

3. Plan ahead before load shedding

If you know load shedding is coming, plan ahead by stocking up on non-perishable food items such as canned goods, crackers, and granola bars. These items won’t spoil if the power goes out, so you’ll still have something to eat.

4. Cook your perishable food before load shedding

If you have a gas stove or grill, you can cook your perishable food items before they spoil. Cooked food is less likely to spoil than raw food, so you can safely eat it even if the power is out.

If the power has been out for an extended period of time and perishables haven’t been cooked, it’s best to throw away any perishable food items such as meat, dairy, and eggs. These items can spoil quickly and can cause foodborne illness if eaten.

5. Use a generator or backup power source

If you have a generator or backup power source, you can keep your refrigerator and freezer running during load shedding. Make sure the generator or backup power source is installed by a qualified electrician and is operated safely.

In conclusion, load shedding can be a challenge when it comes to keeping food safe. However, by following these tips, you can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and ensure that you have something to eat during a power outage.

Here are some delicious dinner ideas that don’t require cooking or electricity (just a bit of planning):

Salad bowls: A hearty salad can be a satisfying and nutritious meal. Top greens with your favorite veggies, fruits, nuts, and a protein source such as grilled chicken or tofu. Drizzle with your favorite dressing and voila!

Sandwiches: The possibilities for sandwiches are endless. Go for classics like chicken and cheese, or get creative with a veggie-filled option. Add some chips or a side salad to make it a full meal.

Wraps: Similar to sandwiches, wraps offer endless options. Use a tortilla or lettuce wrap and fill it with your favorite ingredients. Try a Greek-inspired wrap with hummus, feta, olives, and veggies or a Mexican-inspired wrap with black beans, avocado, salsa, and cheese.

Charcuterie boards: A fun and easy option for a group or family meal, a charcuterie board can be customized to fit everyone’s tastes. Add some cured meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts, and dips.

Grain bowls: Use a base of rice, quinoa, or another grain, and add in your favorite toppings such as roasted veggies, protein, nuts, and a sauce. Try a teriyaki chicken bowl or a Mexican-inspired bowl with black beans, corn, and avocado.

Smoothie bowls: Smoothie bowls are a fun and healthy option for dinner. Blend up your favorite fruits and veggies with some yoghurt or milk and top with granola, nuts, and fruit.

Rotisserie chicken: Pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store and pair it with a side salad, roasted veggies, or some bread for an easy and delicious meal.

These dinner ideas are quick, easy, and perfect for those busy weeknights or when you don’t have electricity to cook. Get creative with your favorite ingredients and enjoy a delicious meal without the hassle!

Tracy Ugarchund is passionate about healthy, balanced and flavourful meals. She is a Registered Dietitian with a practice in Cape Town, South Africa. You can view her website for more handy nutrition tips here and also book online consultations with her.