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Survival food list: The best food for your survival storage

Last updated on February 13, 2021
As a prepper, you need a survival food list to know what to stockpile on. Water and food are essential in bug-in and bug-out survival situations.

Why do you need a survival food list?

Disasters are inevitable, but if you will be fine. One of the best ways to stay safe when a natural disaster occurs is to make sure you have the right supplies. These supplies need to last you long enough until you are rescued, or things get back to normal.

A way to prepare for natural disasters is to have your pantry stockpiled with survival food. This means instant meals, freeze-dried food, and other long-term food. But honestly, there is more than buying what you think is necessary.

We will share our thoughts on the best survival food list. These are meals, foods, and ingredients that have a long shelf life and don't go bad.

What survival foods should you store in your house?

The most obvious answer would be long-lasting food. There are different types of disasters, and these require different responses. Your best go-to food supply, however, would be the ones that would last enough to keep you well-fed and healthy.

An example of this would be canned food, freeze-dried or dehydrated. Honey is a good option if you would like to keep a long-lasting sweetener around with you, as well. In fact, honey can last a lifetime. Another bonus is that it is also a healthy alternative to sugar.

It would help if you also kept your health in check. You should store food that contains carbs, protein, and vitamins. Rice is ideal for carbs. Unfortunately, it's hard to cook, especially if the electricity runs out. So, you can settle for instant mashed potatoes instead.

Freeze-dried vegetables and fruits are also necessary. They maintain your body’s regular dose of protein, minerals, and vitamins. With freeze-drying, you can preserve fruit and vegetables. This way, they maintain their nutrients and stay edible for a long time.

Grains, nuts, and legumes can also be your other source of protein. You can combine these three altogether in a meal to make sure that you have enough proteins. When storing, make sure that they're not in a glass jar. Jars can easily break.

Alcohol can also come in handy. But don’t buy your favorite drink, as you should store alcohol for a different purpose. Store alcohol that can sterilize your wounds, such as rum, whiskey, or vodka. What’s more is that you could use these to preserve other food, as well.

Lastly, make sure to pack some comfort food with you. Eating the same food all over again can lead to food fatigue. Comfort food can, as its name suggests, increase your mood and improve mental health.

How to prepare for different kinds of disasters?

There are different types of disasters, and you need a different survival food list for each one. Before you check out the specific lists for each one, you should familiarize yourself with each type of list.


Short-Term Disasters

The name itself describes the duration of the disaster. These are disasters that won’t last long and won’t require extensive preparation, as well. Such examples would be storms or blizzards where you get trapped inside your home for an amount of time.

Short-term disasters could very well apply to short-power outages, as well. For these, you would have to store these specific foods:


You should store water for any situation, as it is vital to the human body. It helps flush toxins and waste from your body and regulate your blood pressure. In addition, the cells in our body need water to function.

Canned food

Next on our survival food list is canned food. Aside from being easy to prepare, canned food is necessary to survive in case of a flood. In case you lose an opener, you can use any sharp tool. For accessibility, you should have easy-to-open canned food in your storage.


Crackers could be a good source of carbs for your body. Aside from that, it could serve as little snacks from time to time during and after a storm.


After a disaster, you should have cereal in your storage. These contain fibers and are great for your health. In comparison to oatmeal, you can consume cereal without milk or hot water.

Bread and peanut butter

An ordinary everyday breakfast is great survival food. Peanut butter and bread are a good source of carbs and protein. This simple meal can also be considered comfort food. This is why it is a great entry on our survival food list.

Jams and jellies

This could be beneficial, especially if you have a sweet tooth. It can be perfect as a snack, in case you run out of crackers, too.

However, make sure to store these in plastic containers as glass is easy to break. Glass can also cause injuries. Cuts can be problematic in survival situations and natural disasters.

Instant mashed potatoes

Rice and pasta are great sources of carbs. Well, these are not recommended in survival situations as they are hard to cook.

A great alternative is instant mashed potatoes. These also provide a large number of carbs and are easy to cook. All it takes is cold water, and you’re good to go.

Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are undeniably two of the healthiest foods. You should always have fruits and vegetables in your emergency storage. Instead of fresh ones, you should have them freeze-dried to preserve them and their nutrients further.

Cooked survival meals

In case you still have power, and you are sure that it is safe to cook, you can also prepare the following meals.

Keep in mind that cooking can be a threat to your safety after disasters such as earthquakes. There might be gas leaks, which can cause explosions or fires.

If you are confident that all is well and you can cook, then check out the survival food list below:


Oatmeal is, without a doubt, the most accessible breakfast to prepare, second to cereal. If you can get hot water, you can prepare oatmeal as the first meal of the day.

Granola bars

If you have power in your house, you can bake a granola bar. These are great for breakfast or as snacks. This is also considered comfort food. Not only is it tasty, but it’s also nutritious.


Beans can provide you with a healthy amount of protein, and couscous is no different. It takes approximately 15 minutes to cook and serve couscous. All you need is salt, water, and then boil it.

Red lentils

These are also vegetables that cook quickly, especially if you presoak them. Lentils have the same nutrients as couscous and are tasty as well.


Long-Term Disasters

These types of disasters force you to stay inside your house for an extended period of time. A devastating example would be EMP or nuclear attack. We wouldn’t want these happening, of course, but you should prepare for the worst.

For long-term disasters, you should store these foods, especially if it takes at least a month before things get back to normal:


You are already aware of why water is essential for the human body. This is why you should always store gallons of water. The more people living in the house, the more water you need to keep. Make sure you have drinking water and sewage water.

Canned food

Notice how these first two are already on the short-term disaster survival food list? It’s because both of them guarantee the most extended preservation. Plus, it is effortless to prepare, especially when it comes to cans with easy-to-open lids.

Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables

It would help if you kept a variety of food with you, so you won't end up having food fatigue. Not only would fruits and vegetables add flavor to your meals, but they provide many nutrients. Make sure it’s freeze-dried to be well preserved, compact, and easy to store.

Freeze-dried meat

If you’re storing freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, you might as well do the same for meat. Compared to canned meat, freeze-dried meat takes up less space, meaning it is easier to store. Freeze-drying keeps all the protein and nutrients in the meat.

Dried fruits and vegetables

What’s the difference, you may ask? Dried fruits and vegetables will be chewy compared to the freeze-dried alternative. The freeze-dried ones will be lighter when consumed. Nonetheless, both still preserve the same nutrients as fresh. Besides, dried fruits and vegetables can last over 5 years if you manage to store them well.

Dried meat

Another item on our list of survival food list is dried meat. You can store dried meat if you want. Its shelf life is around 12 months or more. This is a great alternative to fresh meat, which lasts only a few days without refrigeration.

Rice, beans, and lentils

The upside to this is that rice, beans, and lentils last a long period of time. You don't have to worry about them going bad. The downside is, it takes a lot of fuel and time to get them cooked. If you have a rice cooker, you can cook it pretty simple and fast.

These ingredients are proven to have a healthy amount of carbs and protein. This is why it is advisable to stockpile rice, beans, and lentils.

Instant mashed potatoes

For a more accessible source of protein and carbs, pack and store some instant mashed potato. You can prepare these with cold water, and they taste delicious.


Seaweed is not on top of the world’s tastiest foods list, but it guarantees an extra amount of flavor to your dishes. Not to mention, seaweed comes with a lot of nutrients, such as carbs and protein. Aside from that, it is easy to store, especially when it’s dry.

Canned tuna in oil

Canned tuna in oil is an essential item on your survival food list for long-term disasters. It can provide a healthy amount of protein and Omega 3. This is perfect, especially if you have cardiovascular diseases. It can also reduce appetite and hunger levels too.


You can store honey along with sugar. Honey is a natural product that you can use as a sweetener and for medicinal purposes too. Unlike sugar, honey doesn't dissolve when it comes in contact with water. This is very important in case of floods.

You can add an extra protection layer for sweeteners by storing them in air-tight plastic containers. Don't keep them in glass containers or jars. Glass containers are brittle, so it is not a recommended storage container.

Ramen noodles

Next on our survival food list are Ramen noodles. They are easy to cook, have a lot of flavors, and provide many carbs. What’s not to love about ramen noodles? All you need to cook them is hot water.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk is such a flexible food. You can use it to make yogurt, bread, cheese, and even pudding. It comes with the same nutrients that fresh milk. If you need calcium, you can get it quickly by preparing powdered milk as a drink.

Summary of our survival food list

When you stockpile food for long-term disasters, follow a survival food list and focus on the ones rich in nutrients. As mentioned above, these can be freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, canned tuna in oil for Omega 3, rice, and beans for carbs.

You should choose foods that are easy to prepare and require less energy and ingredients. Since you don't know how long the emergency lasts, you should also store water and fuel. This will allow you to cook your meals and enjoy a warm meal from time to time.

Most likely, your storage space for survival food is limited. This is why you should always follow a survival food list. Most of the items on lists like this are compact and take up less space than regular food.

Packaging should not be extravagant. Not only that, but the packaging must be sturdy, too. So, try to avoid glass containers or jars. Plastic containers, especially vacuum-sealed mylar bags, are the best for storing survival food.

Make sure you diversify your food. This way, you won't get food fatigue. Some studies show that eating the wrong type of food can also lead to depression.

We have mentioned water a lot on our survival food list. This might not belong to the food category, but it is essential for survival, and it allows you to cook your food. For drinking, keep in mind that two people need about two gallons of water daily.

You also need water to wash. Water is essential, but it's a bit tricky to store. The best thing you could do is store as much water in containers, so it does not evaporate.

Bugging out in case of a disaster

Bugging out requires you to take only essential items in your survival bag and leave your home. Depending on the emergency, the bug-out duration can vary from a few days to weeks or more.

You may be tempted to add as many items and rations as you can in your backpack, but people tend to overestimate the weight they can carry. This means that you will most likely have difficulties being mobile in the wild.

The best thing to do is to keep your bug out bag light. When it comes to rations, pick nutrient-dense foods, like grains, dried-out fruits, and MREs.

Water is more important in a bug-out scenario than in a bug-in situation. This is why you are very limited to the amount of water you can carry. You should add water filters, purifying tablets, and survival straws to your bag.

Read our bug out bag checklist for more details about bugging out.

Food storage

Benefits of having a survival food list and stockpiling

While we’re at it, you still might have questions about storing food. Is it beneficial for you? Wouldn’t it use too much space or cost you extra money? Actually, it doesn’t. And here's why.

You're prepared for emergency situations

Needless to say, stockpiling food can have many benefits. You're prepared for emergencies and disasters that might prevent you from buying food.

Have the recent pandemic, for example. When the lockdown started, people were discouraged from going outside. This meant that if you went shopping, you risked getting infected.

People panicked and bought loads of products to stockpile. This led to a shortage of products and food. Stored food allows you to focus on safety and staying inside in a situation like this.

Helps you save more money

Storing food means you can take advantage of the weekly promos and bulk offers. You also save money by taking fewer trips to the supermarket and saving on gas.

Fewer visits to the market also mean that you avoid impulsive purchases. Other than money, you can also save up time by shopping less frequently.

Provides you food security

Although this is a desirable thing to happen, think about losing your job. Being short on money can mean that you have less money for food, right?

Well, not if you store food regularly, you can avoid this potential issue. If you lost your job, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about the food you have to provide for yourself and your family.

How do I properly organize storage space?

You can’t go to the store, buy everything on your survival food list, and store them, right? You should plan and set up your food storage space. To do this, you can follow the steps below.

Think about what you want to achieve

When planning, it is natural to set a goal and plan accordingly. Think if you want to prepare for short-term or long-term disasters or if you want to store food in general.

Decide where to store your food

When you plan your storage space, you should consider a pantry or a basement. This way, the temperature is lower, and you have proper ventilation.

Equip your storage area with shelves

You should store your food on shelves or higher ground in case of floods. You should choose unused areas. This way, the stored food does not interfere with your daily tasks. You can even keep a small emergency ration under the bed.

Summing things up

When it comes to prepping, you cannot be prepared for every scenario you might encounter. But you can take as many steps as you can in the right direction.

If you follow our survival food is or make your own based on this information, you increase your chances of survival. Shelter, water, and food are the most important factors in any survival scenario.

Now that you know what food to stockpile and how to manage your storage space, you are good to go. Ensure you store enough food and water for yourself and anyone else bugging in or bugging out with you.

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