Survival Food – More Than MREs
December 10, 2016
When you hear “survival food” do you picture MRE (meals ready to eat) packets from the 80s? Do the terms “meals rarely edible”, “meals refusing to exit” and “meals rejected by the enemy” come to mind?
If yes, you’re not alone. Even though MREs have improved in both nutrition and taste, the good news is that we now have options. MREs aren’t our only survival food choice.
How Much Do I Need?
Before deciding what food to take when you bug out, you should first figure out how much you need.
• Water – You might be able to survive a while with no food. But go a few days without water – and you’re done. If you’ll have access to a water supply, there are portable water purification systems to ensure it is safe and drinkable. Plan one gallon/person/day if you do have to carry it in.
• Food – A general rule of thumb for required food is about 2,000 calories a day per person. It should be a mix of protein, fat and carbs.
So, do your math – 2000 calories x ?? days = how much food you need per person. It’s a good idea to plan on extra supplies if you have the space and can transport it easily. Some people may eat more than others, especially in stressful situations.
What Should I Take?
Canned foods are the best options – IF you have the space. They last a long time, have lots of choices and the cans are reusable. But if you’re on the move, rethink heavy cans. Bags and pouches are lighter and space-saving.
Popular lightweight dehydrated foods include beans, rice, potato flakes, fruits, vegetables and meats. Some of these do require cooking so keep that in mind. Other choices include:
• Jerky – Dried meat or fish has been a favorite protein source for centuries. It was one of the first convenience foods out there.
• Pemmican – Pemmican is full of calories, fat and protein and can last for years. Dried fruits, berries and nuts can be added to up the taste and energy factor.
• Packaged meats – You can eat tuna, salmon, chicken and beef straight out of the convenient vacuum-sealed packs. While they won’t stay as fresh as their canned counterparts, they’ll stay good for at least six months.
• Protein, fruit or granola bars – Lightweight and small, these bars pack quite a punch. They are a great energy source to have stowed away.
• Nuts – A handful of most any nut variety is full of protein and fats. Peanut or nut butter is another way to benefit from this food group.
• Dried fruits and vegetables – Man can’t live on meat alone so make sure you include your greens.
• Powdered milk – Needing no refrigeration, powdered milk can be reconstituted to drink. It is also used as a soup base and added to almost anything for flavor, calcium and vitamin D.
• Drink mixes – If you hate to drink plain water, vitamin and electrolyte drink mixes can help you out. You also can’t go wrong with coffee and tea if you have the room.
Supplement Your Stockpile
Of course, if you’ve got mad foraging, fishing and hunting skills, your fresh kills or finds can add to your food stash. The exact plants or wildlife you’ll encounter can depend on several things:
• Location – Geography plays a key role in what lives in any one place.
• Season – Some plants and animals can only be found certain times of the year.
• Weather – Temperature and the elements may affect your ability to find food.
• Conditions – Things such as drought and flooding can impact food availability.
Learn as much as you can about your destination. It won’t do you any good if you plan your survival menu around fresh trout, elk and walnuts if none of them call that area home. Knowing without a doubt that a particular berry or nut you’ve found is edible and not going to kill you is also a good skill to have.
Plan a rehearsal or “dry-run” camping trip using only your survival supplies and equipment to get an idea of just how prepared you really are. You’ll have a good time and you may be surprised at what you aren’t ready for.