The best protein for food storage doesn’t require refrigeration and has a long shelf-life. There are many excellent choices for emergency storage, but some protein-rich foods are better for short-term emergencies, and some for long-term emergencies. My emergency protein food is 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 of amino acids. Both will keep in long-term storage for two years in an airtight container and up to 30 years in oxygen-free storage.
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. 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.
16 Top protein for food storage
#1 Survival Beans
Dry beans are an excellent emergency food because they provide 21% to 25% protein by weight and 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
Canned beans are a protein source that is ready to eat out of the can, and they will store for up to five years in a cool, dry pantry and 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
Canned soups and stews provide beans, meat, and pasta. Look at the can to find out exactly how much protein you’re getting.
Remember 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.
#4 Canned Meat
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 other types of meat provide excellent pre-cooked food if the power goes out or you find yourself in an emergency.
Protein in a can of Spam: One serving size of 2 ounces contains 7 grams of protein, according to the manufacturer, so you are getting 42 grams of protein in one 12 oz can.
That is a lot of ready-to-eat, shelf-stable protein, perfect for emergencies.
#5 Protein Bars
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 Bars
Survival bars are similar to protein bars but 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.
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 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 (protein for food storage)
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.
Whey Protein Powders are excellent in survival; all that is required is a good clean water source, and you have whatever nutrients the powder provides.
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 for food storage)
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 mixed with water and drank 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).
Nuts are a tasty source of survival protein and 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.
11 Protein Rich Nuts
- Hazel Nut
- Pine Nut
- Mixed Nut
Seeds are a tasty source of protein stored in your survival pantry for two months to a year, depending on the variety of nuts.
As long as you rotate through your supply of 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 dawn, so they are a proven survival food.
15 Protein-rich seeds
|Type of Seed (1 cup serving)||Amount of Protein (grams)|
|Dent Corn (grain corn)||6|
#14 Peanut Butter and 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
14 Nut Butters
- Brazil nut
- 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 protein.
Powdered yogurt can also be used in baked dishes and long-lasting foods in your emergency pantries, like flour and wheat. Powdered yogurt has a shelf life of up to 2 years, so you’ll want to rotate it for longer-term storage.
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 that contain protein for food storage.
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.
Mountain House freeze-dried meals have a maximum storage life of 30 years. Hence, they are an excellent addition to a long-term pantry and 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 Freeze Dried Foods
- Backpacker Meals
- Black Bean Burger
- Vegetarian Taco Meat