Emergency Protein: Top 19 High Protein Survival Foods

Protein is one of the food types you’ll want to store for long and short-term emergencies. The bulk of my protein supply is dry staples like dry beans, wheat berries, rolled oats, and white rice.

I also store freeze-dried and canned proteins for short-term emergencies because they are ready to eat and shelf-stable.


Plan to store protein-filled foods that fit every emergency. Sometimes, you will want foods that don’t require refrigeration, cooking, or any preparation. A food like canned tuna, for instance.

For proteins during long-term survival scenarios, focus on storing dry staples with decades of shelf-life that require more preparation to make ready.

Why Store Protein In Your Emergency Food Pantry?

Store 10% to 35% of daily emergency calories as a protein because your body needs it to function correctly. According to WebMD, protein is critical as fuel, carries oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream, and forms antibodies that fight infection.

Let’s take a look at your storage options.

#1 Canned Meat

Sardines

You love them, or you hate them. Either way, sardines are a protein-packed emergency food that goes well with crackers and bread or eat them right out of the can.

How much protein is in canned sardines?

A 3.75oz can of sardines contains 23g of protein

Tuna

White albacore tuna is delicious and super easy to use in an emergency. I like eating it out of the can or, if available, mixing in a bit of pickle relish or Mayo for flavor. Tuna can also be combined with cooked dry pasta to make a casserole or mixed with fresh greens from the survival garden.

How much protein is in canned tuna?

A 12oz can of white tuna contains 17g of protein.

Anchovies

Another food you love or hate is anchovies. They can be eaten directly from the can or as a topping for crackers and bread.

How much protein is in a can of anchovies?

A 2 oz can of anchovies contains 13g of protein.

Beef

Canned beef is packed with protein and is one of the most flexible canned meats. Eat it from the can, warm it over a backpacker or camp stove, or pour it into a soup or stew.

My favorite canned meat is Keystone. The meat is all-natural with no preservatives or water added, and it’s packed in Ohio by a fourth-generation family.

How much protein is in canned beef?

Two ounces of canned beef contains 11g of protein.

Chicken

Canned chicken can be used in soups, stews, salads, or eaten directly from the can.

How much protein is in a canned chicken?

Two ounces of canned chicken contains 12g of protein.

Turkey breast

Packed with protein canned turkey goes well in just about any soup, stew, or chili, as with beef and chicken, it can be eaten from the can.

How much protein is in canned turkey?

Two ounces of canned turkey contains 14g of protein.

Another Ready Squirrel article to check out, Best Survival Protein: Aminos For the Apocalypse

#2 Freeze-dried Meat

Freeze-dried meat is an excellent way to boost protein in homemade soups and stews, and it has a pretty awesome shelf-life. Expect to get 30 years of storage from meats professionally packaged.

Freeze-dried beef provides a whopping 23 grams of protein, and chicken provides 25 grams per 4 oz serving.

#3 Dried Beans & Lentils

Dried beans and lentils are super protein busters. They are reasonably inexpensive and stored correctly; they will keep on the shelf for up to 30 years. If stored in regular airtight containers, expect a maximum two-year shelf life.

Dry beans and lentils are excellent protein. Along with rice and wheat, they provide a well-rounded balance of Amino acids.

How Much Protein in Dry Beans?

According to the National Library of Medicine, dry beans contain 15% to 25% protein.

Learn more about beans in the Ready Squirrel article, “Best Way to Store Beans Long-term: Emergency Protein.”

#4 Canned Peas

We typically think of peas as a vegetable, but they are a legume and provide similar protein content as dry and canned beans, in some cases more.

How much protein is in green peas?

One cup of green peas provides 8g of protein.

#5 Canned Beans

Canned beans are more straightforward to prepare than dry beans but more challenging and expensive to store in bulk. They are best fit for short-term emergencies where supplies like running water and electricity are scarce. Canned beans are ready to eat and don’t require refrigeration until opened. Just open and eat.

How Much Protein In Canned Beans?

Canned beans provide as much protein as cooked dry beans, typically 15 grams or more.

#6 Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is delicious and has an acceptable shelf-life. Suitable for bug-out bags, vehicle emergency kits, and short-term weather emergencies like power outages and hurricanes. Beef jerky is ready to eat. Open the package and eat.

How much protein does beef jerky have?

Twenty grams of beef jerky provide 7 grams of protein.

#7 Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is a powder mixed with potable water. You probably don’t enjoy eating it like other ready-made foods, but it’s an excellent way to store bulk short-term emergency protein without taking up a lot of room.

How much protein is in Whey Protein Powder?

Of protein powder, one scoop, 29 grams, typically provides 25 grams.

#8 Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is high in protein, usually used as an additive for other foods such as homemade bread, soups, and stews.

How much protein does wheat germ contain?

According to the USDA, 4.4 grams of wheat germ provides 4.4g of protein.

#9 Protein Bars

Protein bars are one the best options for ready-made protein because there is zero preparation necessary. Especially handy in a pre-assembled emergency kit for hurricanes and other catastrophes, bug-out bags, or vehicle emergency kit. Open the wrapper and eat.

How much protein is in protein bars?

Protein bars typically contain 10 to 40 grams of protein. Protein bars marketed to bodybuilders have the highest protein content.

#10 Powdered Eggs

Dried eggs have similar content to fresh eggs. They are handy to have if you don’t have hens walking around. To prepare, add water and cook.

How much protein is in Powdered Eggs?

One Tablespoon of egg powder is the equivalent of one fresh egg and provides 6 grams of protein.

#11 Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of protein, but because of their fat content, you won’t get a long shelf life like dry staples. I prefer roasted nut mixes and peanuts, but most nuts are stacked with protein.

How much protein is in nuts?

One cup of mixed nuts contains a whopping 27 grams of protein.

#12 Seeds

Pumpkin and sunflower seeds have a lot of protein and are enjoyable snack food that is ready to eat. Use them as finger food to break up an otherwise monotonous diet.

How much protein is in seeds?

One cup of dried pumpkin seeds contains 39 grams of protein, and 1 cup of sunflower seeds provides 29g of protein.

#13 Cereal

Cereal has a limited shelf life but is considered comfort food for some. If you decide to add this to your emergency food roster, have enough powdered milk and potable water on hand.

How much protein does cereal provide?

Cereal typically provides 1.2 to 7grams of protein per cup, depending on the type of cereal. Oatmeal is on the higher end at 7g per cup.

#14 Powdered Yogurt

Powdered yogurt is a specialty item, but you may want to incorporate it if you plan on making falafel from chickpeas or as a topping for fresh fruit from your survival garden.

How much protein is in Powdered Yogurt?

One scoop or 43 grams of powdered yogurt provides 15g of protein.

#15 Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is packed with protein, and it’s outstanding as an addition to dry staples like stored wheat berries. Powdered milk’s number one use in a survival situation is as an ingredient in baking.

As a side note, powdered milk and baby formula were among the most cherished foods during the Venezuelan food shortage.

How much protein is in powdered milk?

One cup of powdered milk contains 34 grams of protein.

#16 Peanut Butter/Peanut Butter Powder

Peanut butter is outstanding comfort food that is ready to eat. It goes well with crackers and bread. I like to add peanut butter to rolled oats and top with black raspberry jam. For a ten-year shelf-life, go with powdered peanut butter.

How much protein is in Peanut Butter?

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter provide 8 grams of protein. The equivalent in powdered peanut butter contains 6 to 8 grams of fat.

#17 Perishable Proteins

When you lose power or an emergency arises, don’t forget about all of the food in your refrigerator and freezer. For the fridge, you have about 4 hours until some of the foods are questionable, but the freezer will keep food edible for up to 48 hrs.

Fresh Eggs

Fresh eggs are a great source of protein, but so is the powdered version.

How much protein is in eggs?

One large boiled egg contains 6 grams of protein. One cup of cooked scrambled eggs provides 22 grams of protein, and one cup of uncooked eggs has 30.52 grams of protein.

Red Meat

If you have a power-out scenario, you have 48 hours to consume the meat in your freezer. When it starts heading south, when in doubt, throw it out.

How much protein is in red meat?

100 grams of cooked red meat contains 28 to 36 grams of protein

Chicken

The fresh or frozen chicken will keep in the freezer for 48 hours as long as you conserve the cold when the power goes out. After the first 48 hours, it is better to throw it out. In an emergency, if possible, I’d plan on eating out of the freezer the first couple of days to extend your emergency food rations.

How much protein is in cooked chicken?

One cup of cooked chicken contains 38 grams of protein.

Seafood & Fish

There are many things you can eat from coastal waters, and they are different depending on where you live. If you are lucky enough to live in a coastal area, you may be able to forage for protein-rich seafood and fish. One idea I like for foraging in an emergency is using a cast net to capture small fish for stew or to eat with the white rice from long-term storage.

Other foods you can eat from the ocean are clams, muscles, squid, octopus, shrimp, and crayfish.

How much protein is in fish?

According to the USDA, three ounces of cooked red snapper contains 22 grams of protein.

Tofu

Tofu is a food made from soymilk. It must be refrigerated.

How much protein is in Tofu?

One cup of Tofu provides 20 grams of protein.

Yogurt

How much protein is in Yogurt?

One cup of fresh yogurt (whole milk) contains 8.5 grams of protein.

#18 Vegetable Protein

Vegetable TypeServing Size (1cup)
Edamame (Soybean)12.6g
Spinach.86g
Kale2.21g
Sprouted Wheat8.1g
Lentil Sprouts6.9g
Broccoli5.69g
Green Peas8.6g
Black Eyed Peas15g
Split Peas16.4g
Pinto Beans14.4g
Roman Bean14.4g
Cannellini Beans12.8g
Black Beans15.2g
Garbanzo Beans12.6g
Great Northern Beans19.4g
Lentils19g
Navy Beans15g
Data Source: USDA Food Data Central

#19 Grains

Hard and soft grains are the easiest ways to store protein in long-term storage. Foods like rolled oats, white rice, and wheatberries have a significant shelf-life if kept oxygen-free and provide a substantial amount of protein.

Grain TypeProtein Per Serving (1 Cup)
Kamut9.8g
Teff9.8g
Dent Corn/Cornmeal4.4g
Buckwheat 5.7g
Rolled Oats5.9g
Couscous6g
Millet6.1g
White Rice4.25g
Hard White Wheat (wheat berries)6g
Data Source: USDA Food Data Central

Which Grain Has the Highest Protein?

There is a tie for the grain with the highest protein. Kamut and Teff both provide 9.8 grams of protein per cup.

Kamut or Khorasan is ancient wheat that dates back to the pre-Egyptian period, and Teff is an edible grass seed harvested longer than any other grain or crop.