10 Foods That Give You The Most Bang for Your Buck

September 11, 2023

This video will cover ten essential foods you absolutely must get in your emergency pantry and your daily diet. When disaster strikes, having the proper nutrition can be a game-changer. Neat, mylar-packed bags of formulated and freeze-dried foods are incredible, but they can be costly. The foods I will cover here are readily available in most stores, have exceptional shelf-life and nutrition, and may not already be a part of your emergency pantry. From the cornerstone carbohydrate that half the world relies on to protein-packed options that step in when fresh sources are scarce, I have curated ten strategic choices in this video that will make all the difference in your preparedness plan.

Rice: RiceRice heads up the list. White rice has a long shelf life and is an excellent source of carbohydrates for energy. It’s versatile and can be used as a base for many meals. Rice is a crucial post-disaster food due to its long shelf life, versatility, and significance as a dietary staple for most of the world’s population. Around 50% of the global population relies on rice as their primary source of calories, underlining its importance as a sustenance crop. Its compact form and resistance to spoilage make it an ideal addition to emergency supplies, capable of providing essential carbohydrates during challenging times. You should have rice in your regular diet, but also pack a good amount of it in your storage for after a disaster. Due to extreme weather events, export bans, and some countries hoarding this commodity, rice may soon be in short supply, so I encourage you to stock up on this critical food. 

BeansBeans, Legumes, & Pulses: You always see beans in people’s prepping lists, usually pinto beans. I encourage people to find the bean, legume, or pulse that is right for them in the form that is right for them. Consider both dried and canned forms and a wide array of options. Beans and rice work together nutritionally to form a complete protein source, with rice providing the missing amino acids for beans and the combination of the bean’s fiber and the rice’s carbohydrates, offering sustained energy release and a more comprehensive array of vitamins and minerals. Beans, legumes, and pulses are related plant-based protein sources, with beans being a subset of legumes and pulses referring to dried legume seeds, all offering diverse nutrient profiles and culinary uses important for emergency food supply planning. 

Consider the many variations in this category and know what your body can process before disaster strikes. Cans of kidney beans, black beans, lentils, or even bean salad will be easier for many people to digest. Dried Lima beans, Chickpeas, or lentils will vary your flavor combinations, nutrition, usability, and fiber levels.

I encourage people to find the ones that are right for them because most people cannot eat Pinto beans daily as their primary food source. Depending solely on pinto beans as a primary food source after a disaster can lead to incomplete nutrition, as well as digestive issues like gas, bloating, and discomfort due to their high fiber content and potential difficulty in digestion for some individuals. Whether hunkering down or bugging out, you can be sidelined with gas pains or bathroom issues if you plan to survive on beans solely.

OatsOats: Oats are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates and are easier to digest than beans. While beans are known for their fiber content, which can sometimes lead to digestive discomfort, oats generally tend to be gentler on the digestive system. This makes oats an excellent choice for providing vital carbohydrates without causing undue digestive stress during challenging times.

Beyond their digestive benefits, oats hold their value as a versatile food source. They will provide sustained energy throughout the day. Additionally, oats can be transformed into other nutritious and easy-to-prepare foods, such as granola bars, oatmeal cookies, and energy-packed snacks. Proper storage in airtight containers is crucial to maintain their quality, ensuring that your supply remains fresh and adequate for your nutritional needs.

Canned GoodsCanned Vegetables: After a disaster, canned vegetables become a nutritional lifeline due to their ability to retain essential nutrients over time. Their extended shelf life ensures a steady source of vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for maintaining health during emergencies. With their versatile nature, canned vegetables offer the flexibility to be incorporated into various dishes, ensuring nourishment and variety in emergency meals. Whether as a standalone side or a component of heartier meals, these canned options bolster your emergency preparedness by providing a convenient and nutrient-rich food source.

Canned vegetable shelf life varies by type, with high-acid varieties like tomatoes lasting around 1 to 1.5 years, while low-acid options like peas and corn can endure for 2 to 5 years or longer under proper storage. Store canned vegetables in a cool, dark place to maintain nutritional quality and taste, checking for signs of damage before consumption. Canned vegetables should be part of your regular diet and rotated through your supplies by putting the newest resupplied product at the back and using the cans in front.

Peanut ButterPeanut Butter: Peanut butter is calorie-dense and a good source of healthy fats and protein. It’s filling and requires no refrigeration. You can eat it plain from a spoon, in a sandwich, or mix it into many other meals. Unopened in your pantry, it can last up to 2-years, possibly longer. I like to have one jar in storage, and one in use, so I keep my supply rotated and eat what I have. On average, a one-pound jar of standard peanut butter contains approximately 128 to 144 grams of fat and 64 to 80 grams of protein, though these values can vary based on factors like brand and ingredients.

Canned MeatsCanned Meats: Canned meats, such as chicken, beef hash, pork, and tuna, play a vital role in emergency food supplies by offering convenient and reliable protein sources. These canned options have the advantage of an extended shelf life while preserving essential nutrients. It’s wise to be mindful of the sodium content in canned products, as excessive sodium intake can affect hydration levels after a disaster. To maintain the freshness of your stock, practicing regular rotation is essential—using the oldest cans first and replacing them with new ones—to ensure that your emergency supply remains ready and reliable when needed most.

MilkPowdered Milk or Milk Alternatives: Before producing this video, I was unaware of powdered milk alternatives. Now, I’ll include them in my prepping and morning shakes. Choose these alternatives if milk doesn’t suit you. They’re concentrated, versatile, and shelf-stable sources of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein, useful when fresh dairy is scarce due to emergencies or no refrigeration.

Powdered options excel with an extended shelf life for non-refrigerated storage, being lightweight and compact. They match regular milk’s consistency after reconstitution, fitting recipes, and cooking. Crucial for nutrition and culinary needs during tough times, they usually stay good for around 18 months, and I’ve safely used unopened packages beyond that.

Kool AidPowdered Drinks: Powdered Drinks, ranging from sugary options to those enriched with vitamins and electrolytes, stand out as an easily accessible and quick source of basic nutrition post-disaster. Their extended shelf life, sometimes many years, makes them a reliable choice for emergency situations. Although these mixes might not create a feeling of fullness, their blend of sugars and vital vitamins effectively supports muscle activity and promotes hydration. This helps enhance your body’s resilience in demanding situations. While certain powdered drinks include added nutrients, even the sweet and flavored options can be advantageous by stimulating hydration and offering a mild energy boost to plain water.

Protein PowderProtein Powders: Protein powders were developed in the mid-20th century as a convenient way to supplement protein intake for athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals with specific dietary needs. So, they were designed to provide the vital protein and nutrients you need. Advances in food processing improved their quality, taste, and nutrient values. As fitness culture expanded, protein powders became popular for their convenience in meeting high protein needs. They diversified to include plant-based options and gained medical and dietary applications. After a disaster, traditional protein sources like fresh meat and dairy might be scarce, but protein powders can effectively provide a convenient and easily storable alternative to maintain protein intake.

Kale PowderVegetable Powders: Vegetable powders are a valuable resource to have after a disaster due to their versatility, nutritional density, and extended shelf life. After a flood, vegetables in gardens can be rendered toxic. When access to fresh vegetables might be limited, these powders offer a convenient solution to maintain essential nutrients. They can be easily incorporated into various meals, drinks, and recipes, providing a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support overall health. You can incorporate them into your diet in tablets or preferably just in powdered form. Even without a disaster, a tablespoon of tomato powder added to a hamburger or a tablespoon of kale powder added to soups will put more nutrition in your diet. The densely compacted nature of these powders allows for efficient storage and portability, making them a practical addition to emergency supplies. 

When it comes to any of these 10 foods, you don’t want to wait until after a disaster to incorporate them into your diet. Shocking your system or causing any type of gastronomical distress will reduce your survival and recovery efforts. If you had just a pound of each of these ten items mentioned here, you would have between 12 to 15 thousand calories. Of course, you could have much more than a pound on hand very cheaply. Rice is still just slightly over a dollar per pound. Canned vegetables can be found for less than a dollar. Dried beans and legumes can also be purchased cheaply in bulk. These ten foods should be in your emergency pantry and your daily diet. They will give you the most bang for your buck and ensure you have the vital nutrients necessary to make it through the aftermath of a disaster. If you follow up this video by watching our video on 5 Enemies of Long-Term Food Storage and (Almost) Immortal Foods, you will have everything you need to cover all the bases with your emergency food supply.


If you have any thoughts or feedback, feel free to post that below.  As always, stay safe out there.

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7 months ago

What are the pulses you mention and where do you get them?

6 months ago

I’ve been following your site and YT vids for a while now. As you’re aware there is a lot of misinformed info from amatuers that is sure to get people killed in a SHTF scenario. The practical/real world knowledge you put out is by far the best I’ve read/seen. As a life long prepper with real world experience, I know that you have the skills, knowledge and passion to help newbies get on the right path. KEEP IT UP. I can’t wait to soak up more of your practical skills.
Best Regards,
Chris Hale (Airbore All The Way)!!!!!!!!

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