survival foods you will you had
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15 Survival Foods You’ll Wish You Had

When the grocery store is empty… or doesn’t exist anymore… you’ll dream of these 15 nutritive, filling, and easy to store foods. Get them while you can!

Food preps are a classic no brainer. If you’re just beginning to prepare you should start with water and then food. Worry about all the cool gear after you know you won’t thirst or starve to death.

Grains, rice, beans, and a few other items make up the foundation of any good stockpile, but they’re certainly not all that’s worth storing. In the list below we’ve complied some important foods you’ll wish you had.

Alternatively you could just buy your food stores ready to go in a big ol’ bucket.

Just don’t be the guy rushing to the grocery store in the final hours. You’ll quickly find that all of the stuff your family needs to survive is cleaned out. Have your stockpile ready and waiting for any disaster or emergency situation.

With that, we recommend stocking up on basic long term food storage essentials such as grains, beans, etc, before tackling this list. If you already have a few things put away these items will round off your stockpile and ensure you have just about everything.

Hang On A Second! Time Out….

Before we continue, a quick note on cans. As we have discussed several times, cans are heavy. If you’re survival plans are to stay at home and never leave, then cans can work. They’re cheap, store for long periods, and stack well.

But how do you know exactly what you’re going to face? Maybe you’ll have no choice but to bug out, if that happens you’re going to really hate lugging around 50+ lbs in cans… So, choose wisely and check out alternatives.

So why even mention them?
Since 99% of the prepper world is already storing cans we will discuss them, just know you likely have better options and we encourage you to explore them.

And don’t forget to stock up on several good can openers!

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Let’s start right out and break all the rules. Yep, water isn’t a “food”, ya got me. But it is by far the most important thing on this list.

Also, if you didn’t bother reading the part above that says you should build a good foundational stockpile, then this addition of water serves as a reminder and will at least ensure you make it through the first week 🙂

You can live weeks without food if necessary, but you simply cannot make it more than a few days without water. Everyone in your home should have at least 1 gallon per day stored away. Start with a 72 hours supply for each family member and expand from there.

How you store the water is up to you. You can buy bottled water, or freeze tap water in ziplock bags, or store it in used coke bottles. You could also store it in food grade plastic buckets or barrels, or get something that’s easier to store and use like a Water Brick Container. They even sell pre-packaged survival water in pouches.

Canned Soups, Stews, And Chili

A full meal in a can, what’s not to love?… except the salt! Check the labels and always try to buy brands with low sodium. Eating 3-4 cans of very high sodium foods every day will wreck your body.

Canned Fish Or Meat

Not as balanced of a meal as canned stews, but your body needs protein and these are a great source. Look for low sodium!!

Canned Fruits And Vegetables

The veggies will provide the fiber and nutrients you would normally get from fresh produce. Again, look for low sodium options.

The bursts of flavor from canned fruit will keep you sane after a prolong diet of spam and trail nuts.

The last thing you need is to get so sick of the same old food day in and day out that you can’t stand it anymore, so throwing in a few cans of sweet fruit to spice things up will keep your taste buds fresh.


Plain low sodium crackers. This is more about the carbs they provide, they also work as filler for canned soups and such, and they swell to make you feel fuller longer.

You can use them with all the canned soups and stews, and with the canned fish or meat. You can also use them to replace bread crumbs as a coating if you have the time and ability to make a decent meal.

Look for whole grain or whole wheat for the extra fiber you’ll desperately need. If you have a vacuum sealer, repack your crackers or they won’t last very long.

Peanut Butter

The holy grail of cheap portable food. A great source of energy, fats, and proteins. You really cannot go wrong with storing tubs and tubs of peanut butter (sorry those with allergies). Powdered peanut butter is even better, I highly recommend it over the smooth stuff for long term food storage.

Whole Grain Cereal

Packed full of carbs, which isn’t so great now, but in SHTF you’ll need all the extra carbs you can get for energy and to maintain weight. And the fiber they contain will help replace the fiber you’ll miss from fresh vegetables.

Low sugar options will keep down spoilage and infestations a bit. You can also go straight to the good stuff (but it’ll cost more) and grab whole wheat barley and oats.

Dried Fruit

Great for on the go eating or snack time. Full of the same essential nutrients as fresh fruit. You also get a healthy dose of fiber.

Nuts Or Trail Mix

Don’t think of these as frivolous, they serve a purpose. You’ll likely be eating less than you’re used to so naturally you’ll get hungry sometimes. Add to that the extra stress and physical activity necessary to make it through a SHTF situation and you’ll need some snacks.

When you need a quick energy boost or your stomach is growling it’s better to grab a couple handfuls of trail mix than to stop what you’re doing and dig into your food supplies.

Granola Or Energy Bars

Same idea as the trail mix, a quick grab and go energy source that’ll keep you going through the day. The biggest difference being these are costly unless you find them on sale. The good news is these bars have a healthy mix of all macronutrients and can just about count as a meal.

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Powdered Milk

Maybe you want this, maybe you don’t. While you do need Calcium and Vitamin D, you won’t suffer much if you also packed a good vitamin supplement. If you’re prepping for the long haul I recommend powdered milk for it’s versatility in cooking and nutrients.

Pouched Juices

Modern pouched juices (the silver pouches with the straw on the back) are actually quite nutritive. Without fresh fruit these little suckers will help provide the missing nutrients. Plus they’re 95% water. Boxed juices also work but are more easily crushed.

Baby Food And Formula

If you have babies in the house, obviously. If not skip them unless you enjoy eating overpriced goo.

Try to find baby food in plastic jars or pouches so you won’t have to worry about the glass breaking.

As far as formula goes, consider using ready to feed formula. Yes, it’s more expensive and a pain to deal with but It only takes a tiny slip up to give a baby deadly diarrhea when all water sources will be questionable at best. Powdered or concentrated formula MUST be used with bottled or, if you must, filtered, purified, and boiled water only.


I consider a properly balanced vitamin supplement (which can be hard to find) a vital addition to any survival food list.

It’s difficult to replicate weeks worth of perfectly balanced nutritive meal using foods that will store for a year or more and not cost a fortune, so just bring these along and a single pill a day can provide all the stuff you’re missing.

Salt, Pepper, And Spices

Many wars have been fought over these simple ingredients. In the years after long term SHTF wars will be fought again for them. We take them completely for granted now, but when the world goes to hell you’ll be begging for some paprika or salt.

These also make great trading and barter items. Discount grocery stores across the country always have many spices for $1 in larger than normal sized containers. They last just about forever so stock up.

Final Thoughts

Do not get caught with your pants down. The time to prepare is not the day after you need it, it’s the year before!

Buy what you’ll actually eat and rotate your stocks. And there’s nothing wrong with buying cheap alternatives. You don’t have to stock up with name brand foods. Get those store brands if you know you like them and you’ll save a ton of cash.

Again, we recommend stocking up on basic long term food storage essentials such as grains, etc, before tackling this list. If you already have a few things put away this list will help round off your stockpile.

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Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.


  1. This was a great article and can be very helpful to alleviate some of the stress that is associated with prepping. My personal list includes more of an emphasis on items that are packed with protein. Peanut butter, tuna, canned salmon, canned vegetables and protein shakes are absolute necessities. Also, powdered milk can be a great mixer alternative instead of just plain water and I am very happy that you included that! Not too many people put powdered milk on there must have prep list!

  2. This list is good for a beginner prepper but is missing out on some huge survival powerhouses. Rice and beans? Long shelf life and great calorie density. Honey? Practically infinite shelf life. Sugar? Calorie density and other benefits such as fermentation and wound disinfectant. Vinegar? Indefinite shelf life, flavor enhancer, cleaner, disinfectant, and food preservation. Stocking up on juices would be just pointless as the amount of water you would need would be near impossible to store for… Instead go for powdered drinks and methods of purifying water… filters, purification tables, tarps for solar stills.

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