There are quite a few proteins that don’t require refrigeration and have a pretty long shelf-life, so there are many excellent choices for emergency storage. Some protein-rich foods are better for short-term emergencies and some for the long-term. I personally store most of my protein in beans, white rice, rolled oats, and powdered milk.
The best survival protein for emergencies and natural catastrophes is dry beans and white rice. Together, they provide a complete chain amino acid. Both will keep in long-term storage for two years in an airtight container and up to 30 years in oxygen-free storage.
Learn more about long-term food storage in the Ready Squirrel article, Foods that will last 30 years.
How Much Protein Per Day?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount of protein to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 g per kg of body weight.
For example, a person who weighs 75 kg (165 pounds) should consume 60 g of protein daily.
How Much Protein Per Day For An Active Person?
According to the Mayo clinic, People who exercise regularly need 1.1-1.5 kg of protein per day. Weight lifters or extreme athletes need 1.2-1.7 kg per pound of body weight. Mayo Clinic
How Much Protein is too much?
According to the Mayo Clinic, too much protein intake is more than 2 g per kg of body weight each day.
Beans and rice are not the only protein you can store for survival situations. Let’s explore more options.
#1 Survival Beans
Dry beans are an excellent emergency food because they provide 21% to 25% protein by weight, and they have a super long shelf-life. Stored in airtight containers, beans will last up to two years and re-packaged in oxygen-free storage for up to 30 years.
Beans shine as a backbone food for bulk long-term food storage. They contain 23% to 25% protein by weight, more than any other plant-based food.
Beans are an excellent budget option for DIY survivalists and those looking to build an emergency food supply on a budget.
#2 Canned Beans Protein Powerhouse
Canned beans are a protein source that is ready to eat out of the can, and they will store up to five years in a cool, dry pantry, and they are ready to eat. They are excellent for short-term emergencies like FEMA’s 72-hour emergency kit.
Dry beans are a better option for super long-term storage because they will keep up to 30 years in oxygen-free storage.
To learn more about emergency proteins, check out the Ready Squirrel article, Emergency Protein: Top 19 High Protein Survival Foods.
#3 Canned Soup Protein
Canned soups and stews provide beans, meat, and pasta. To find out exactly how much protein you’re getting, take a look at the can.
Keep in mind that high-acid canned foods last three years in the pantry, and those low in acid will store for five years.
If you stock canned foods for protein using the FIFO storage method or “first in, first out,” you will always have a fresh supply of emergency food on hand.
#4 Canned Meat Protein
Canned meat is an outstanding source of protein and works well for short-term survival situations. It is pre-cooked and ready to go out of the can. Canned tuna, chicken, and all other types of meat provide an excellent source of pre-cooked food that’s ready to go if the power goes out or you find yourself in an emergency.
Protein in a can of Spam: On serving size or 2 ounces of Spam contains 7 grams of protein according to the manufacturer, so you are getting 42 grams of protein on one 12 oz can.
That is a lot of ready-to-eat, shelf-stable protein, perfect for emergency scenarios.
#5 Protein Bars: Ready To Eat Protein
Protein bars are excellent for no-cook emergency scenarios such as bug-out bags, hurricane kits, and other survival food kits where you may not have the time or resources to cook food.
Protein bars such as the Built Bar contain 18 grams of protein and 180 calories per bar.
#6 Survival Bar
Survival bars are similar to protein bars, but they are explicitly made for survival and provide more nutrients. Outstanding for a bug-out bag or a vehicle emergency kit.
For example, SOS food rations (survival bars) often kept in life-rafts contain 8 grams of protein in one bar. Each bar has nine flavored coconut cookies that provide 72 grams of protein and 3600 calories. These are a perfect way to ensure you have protein and calories in an emergency with a five-year shelf-life.
#7 Jerky Protein
Jerky is dry strips of beef or other types of meat. Beef jerky is excellent survival food because it is portable and can be stored for up t o12 months. It is a lightweight mobile food excellent for a go-bag, everyday carry, or FEMA’s 72-hour emergency kit.
I’m partial to beef-jerky because it tastes great. The downside is it’s expensive. If you go with beef jerky as an emergency protein source, you’ll want to make sure you rotate it because the shelf-life isn’t excellent.
Consider making your emergency beef jerky.
Protein Beef Jerky:
How much protein is in Beef Jerky? According to the USDA, 20 grams of beef jerky contains 7 grams of protein.
#8 Pemmican Survival Protein
Pemmican is a mixture of tallow, fat rendered from beef, dried pieces of meat, and berries.
You can purchase pemican pre-made, or you can make it yourself. Pemmican has a shelf-life of one to five years, depending on how it’s packaged and stored. I doubt you will get much more shelf life than this as fats go rancid quickly.
One final note Pemmican isn’t for everyone. I would try it before buying it or making it in bulk.
#9 Whey Protein Powder
Whey Protein Powders are excellent in a survival situation, all that is required is a good clean water source, and you have whatever nutrients are provided by the powder.
The protein powders used by bodybuilders have the most protein.
For example, Gold Standard 100% Whey contains 24 grams of protein in each 30-gram scoop of powder.
#10 Powdered Milk Protein
Powdered milk protein should be in every long-term survival pantry.
It is used chiefly with other long-life staples like wheat for baking or mix with water and drink it straight.
I wouldn’t plan to drink it like fresh milk. Most people think it tastes pretty nasty by itself.
Powdered milk with fat has a much shorter shelf-life than fat-free, so you’ll have to rotate it if you are going for a source of fat too.
For example, Carnation Nonfat Instant Dry Milk provides 8 grams of protein per 1/4 cup of powder added to 1 cup of clean drinking water.
#11 Powdered Eggs
Powdered whole eggs are an excellent source of protein. With a shelf-life of up to 10 years, they provide 21 grams of protein per serving. Check the label of the eggs you’re looking to buy because protein content varies by brand.
Protein-rich eggs come dried and freeze-dried as whole eggs or as powder.
Mix powdered eggs with potable water and cook or use them in baked goods with other long-term staples like hard and soft grains.
For example, Augason Farm Whole Egg Product contains 6 grams of protein per 2.5 Tbsp (13 grams).
#12 Nuts Protein
Nuts are a tasty source of survival protein, and they contain healthy fats that can be hard to come by in a survival situation.
Keep in mind that nuts are also high in fat, so they are excellent all-around emergency food, but they have a limited shelf-life due to fats going rancid quicker.
You can’t store nuts oxygen-free like you can other dry staples.
Protein Rich Nuts
- Hazel Nut
- Pine Nut
- Mixed Nut
Seeds are a tasty source of protein that will store in your survival pantry for two months to a year, depending on the variety of nuts.
As long as you rotate through your supply nuts, they fit nicely into a survival food plan. If water and electricity are down, open the can and eat.
Remember that most civilizations have survived on seeds like wheat and oats since the dawn of time, so they are a proven survival food.
Protein Rich Survival Seeds
|Type of Seed (1 cup serving)||Amount of Protein (grams)|
|Dent Corn (grain-corn)||6|
#14 Peanut Butter/Nut Butter
Nut butter is an outstanding source of protein, especially for short-term emergencies. No refrigeration or cooking or required. The only downside of peanut butter as a survival food is its limited shelf-life due to its fat content. The unopened peanut butter will last up to 24 months.
I like eating it on saltines with a dollop of black raspberry jelly and occasionally by itself.
A mounded spoonful of peanut butter will give you a quick hit of energy when you need it. I often eat a tablespoon full before going on a long bike ride.
Unopened peanut butter has a shelf life of up to 24 months, and according to the USDA, one cup of peanut butter has 65 grams of protein
Protein Rich Nut Butters
- Peanut and Peanut Butter Powder
- Sunflower Seed
#15 Powdered Yogurt
Mix powdered yogurt and eat it straight or blend it with fresh fruit from your survival garden for a shot of protein.
Powdered yogurt can also be used in baked dishes along with long-lasting foods in your emergency pantry, like flour and wheat. Powdered yogurt has a shelf life of up to 2 years, so for longer-term storage, you’ll want to rotate it.
For example, one tablespoon of Hoosier Hill Farm powdered yogurt contains 3 grams of protein or 48 grams per cup.
#16 Freeze-dried Foods
You have many options when it comes to freeze-dried foods high in protein. It is also available in many food types that are hard to do yourself without expensive equipment.
Freeze-dried meals, like the long-distance type hikers, eat, provide excellent emergency food for bug-out bags because they are lightweight and maintain most of their flavor and nutrition.
For example, a Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef provides 24 grams of protein in a 3.8 oz package.
The meals have a maximum storage life of 30 years. Hence, they are an excellent addition to a long-term pantry, and they shine in particular emergency scenarios such as bugging out on foot where weight is a serious consideration.
In addition to freeze-dried meals, you can purchase individual freeze-dried ingredients to mix into recipes like soups and stews. These types of food are typically purchased from professional survival companies like Augason Farms for long-term food storage.
7 Protein Rich Freeze Dried Foods
- Backpacker Meals
- Black Bean Burger
- Vegetarian Taco Meat