Survival Foods: The 15 Best Healthy Survival Foods to Keep in Your House At All Times

March 22, 2022 12 min read

healthy emergency food you need

Having a ready collection of survival foods in your home is a non-negotiable. Fun Fact: Mother Nature is an unpredictable beast, especially when it comes to natural disasters. However, she also has her steady and authentic qualities. For example, in 2020, the US experienced 15 hurricanes, which broke the record high set in 1969.

Yet somehow, there are still people who are shocked when they wake up to find that they’re being held prisoner in their own home by a relentless storm. 

The threat of this scenario often causes the unprepared masses to panic and have difficulty deciding whether to bug out or bug in. They rush to their local grocery store with high hopes of shelves stock up on food for their survival instead of relying on their own 72-hour food supply. An average grocery store typically has about three days’ worth of supplies on hand, but supplies can quickly dwindle to nothing when deliveries stop.

Don’t wait until you are in the midst of an emergency situation; start prepping today with healthy emergency food and consider our survival food subscription boxes.

Here are the best essential healthy survival foods that you should have in your home at all times.


Best Survival Food #1 - Peanut Butter, Trail Mix, and Nuts


trail mix healthy survival food


Not only is peanut butter delicious in every way, but it contains high amounts of healthy fats and proteins needed to fuel the body with strength and energy.

Because it does not require refrigeration, it is an ideal candidate for the best survival food and is also good to be prepared and kept in your survival food bucket

Individually sealed packages of nuts or trail mix are also convenient and a great energy source. Some of my favorite brands of trail mix include Planters and Larabar.

Be careful to ensure that the peanut butter and trail mix you pick actually qualify as healthy emergency food, as it’s easy to get highly unhealthy versions of any of these items. Just make sure to read the nutritional values on the packaging.


Best Prepper Food #2 - Vitamins


vitamins for long term food storage


Believe it or not, vitamins are a part of this healthy survival food list. It’s not always something you think of as food, but it’s something you definitely need.

You never know how long you may be without power or access to fresh food, so it is essential to include multivitamins in your emergency kit. A vitamin-packed supplement can help replace nutrients that may not be available to you during an emergency.

These will also help boost the effectiveness of your immune system and the nutritional value of your healthy emergency food.


 Best Healthy Survival Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A – supports bone health, enhances vision, and supports the immune system.
  • Vitamin B1 – is essential for glucose metabolism and plays a critical role in nerve, heart, and muscle function. 
  • Vitamin B2 – helps break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, and boosts your body’s energy supply. 
  • Vitamin B3 – is essential for proper metabolism, antioxidant protection, and nervous system function.
  • Vitamin B5 – is critical for manufacturing red blood cells and hormones. 
  • Vitamin B6 – is essential for healthy brain development and immune system function. 
  • Vitamin B7 – supports hair, nail, and skin health. 
  • Vitamin B12 – keeps your body’s blood and nerve cells healthy. 
  • Vitamin C – is vital for the growth, repair, and development of all body tissues. 
  • Vitamin D – helps your body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus, which is essential for healthy bones. 
  • Vitamin E – is necessary for reproduction, vision, and the health of your skin, brain, and blood. 
  • Vitamin K – enhances effective blood clotting and building of bones. 

Healthy Prepper Food Survival Guide Download

Survival Foods #3 - Freeze Dried Fruit


Which is better freeze-dried vs dehydrated foods? Freeze-dried foods have a much higher shelf life than fresh fruit, making them an amazingly healthy survival food. They are also so delicious. Bananas, strawberries, pineapple, apricots, and coconut are just a few of the available freeze-dried fruits on the market.

Campers and backpackers have enjoyed these fruity morsels for years due to the high amount of nutrients they provide. The best part of some freeze-dried fruits and freeze-dried vegetables is how long they last: Some have a two- or three-year shelf life, but our freeze-dried fruits all last up to 25 years.

This gives you the best bang for your buck and can guarantee you have healthy emergency food ready to eat for years!


Survival Food #4 - Canned Fruits, Vegetables, Chili, and Soup


canned goods as a heathy survival food


Canned goods are beneficial in an emergency kit for many reasons; for example, they can be eaten straight out of the can, do not require refrigeration, last for a long time, and provide essential nutrients the body needs daily. Plus, they're great to have on hand when you're trying to survive hyperinflation like we're starting to see today.

The issue you have to be careful of here is actually picking healthy emergency food, just like with freeze-dried vegetables. A lot of these canned goods are incredibly unhealthy, and have inadequate minimum calories to survive that can fool you. Much like the trail mix, make sure to check the nutritional values and what what they actually contain.

One of my favorite soups to have in my healthy emergency food kit is cheddar potato soup—not always the healthiest, but a hell of comfort food that I know I'll want when the world is falling apart. 

Don’t immediately go for so-called low fat or cans that label themselves healthy; check the facts for yourself to make sure any canned goods you purchase qualify as healthy survival food for your stock.


Survival Food #5 - Whole Grain Crackers & Cereals


whole grain crackers


Crackers can be an excellent substitution for bread. They have a higher shelf life (especially when vacuum sealed) and contain carbohydrates and fiber, which the body requires to function correctly.

Those two factors alone secure their spot on our Best healthy survival foods list, but you can take these one step further by buying whole-wheat and whole-grain crackers.

A similar healthy survival food is whole-grain cereals. These contain enough fiber to be filling, fast, and easy snack food. Try to find a cereal with individually packaged servings; that way, it will stay fresh for much longer.

It should go without saying—stay away from high-sugar cereals. Sure, we love ‘em, but they aren’t exactly great for healthy emergency food. Get them as a treat for normal times, but keep the healthy whole-grain options for survival situations.


Best Survival Foods for Storage #6 - Pasteurized/Powdered Milk


Milk is an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin D. Still, when fresh milk is inaccessible, non-perishable pasteurized milk and powdered milk can be a great alternative and a fantastic option for your healthy survival food supply.

Fortified Milk Powder contains all of the essential nutrients that regular milk has to offer, but will last for up to 25 years. It does not require refrigeration, so it makes a great addition to your healthy emergency food supply.


Survival Food #7 - Baby Food & Formula


baby formula


Infants require a whole slew of nutrients to grow up healthy and strong, so if you have an infant, baby food and formula will be an essential part of your food storage.

No little ones in the house? Adults can also benefit from the nutrients that baby foods provide.

An average jar of baby food has around 50-100 calories, so this can be a handy option to tide you over until your next full meal. This will also help your healthy survival food supply last longer.


Survival Food #8 - Energy Bars & Sports Drinks


sports drinks


If they are good enough for professional athletes, they are good enough for your healthy emergency food supply, right?

They are; but again, like most food sold in typical stores, you have to make sure what you pick will actually fit the bill for healthy survival food.

Granola bars are a great source of energy. They work quickly and efficiently because they are packed with carbohydrates and protein. They are also kid-friendly, so they are great for the whole family.

Sports drinks are not only hydrating—they provide the body with electrolytes and carbohydrates, which makes them a great source of energy.


Survival Food #9 - Canned and Freeze-Dried Protein


freeze dried sausage from valley food storage


We’ve all had canned tuna fish, sardines, or salmon, but freeze-dried meats are giving canned proteins a run for their money and are considered one of the best healthy survival foods you can add to your supply. Powdered eggs are a longstanding example.

Within the past few years, the process of freeze-drying proteins has come a very long way. It used to be that this stuff tasted like dog food and would practically make you throw up, whereas today’s freeze-dried protein is packed with all of the flavors of normal protein due to revolutionary advances in the freeze-drying process.

Protein is required for maximum energy levels and strength, so canned proteins are a great addition to any healthy emergency food kit.

Honestly, they can really be enjoyed at any time, emergency or not, so try spicing up your weekday dinner with some protein-packed freeze-dried meat.


Best Survival Food #10 - Water


water for long term food storage


The most crucial component best healthy emergency food you need to have in your healthy emergency food kit is water.

It won’t matter if your storage is full of all the food items on this list; you simply will not survive without water.

Make sure you have a supply of freshwater as a part of your healthy survival food kit. Keep in mind that supply may run out, so you should also have a backup plan for your water source.

Boiling water will make it safe for consumption and use, so besides having a stockpile of water, you should have items that will allow you to boil a second source. Pots, matches, candles, and burnable oils are essential components of any emergency kit.

Keep in mind that all of these things must be stored correctly to ensure they stay safe to consume.


Best Emergency Food #11 - Herbs and Spices


The food you cook in the aftermath of a disaster does not have to be bland or boring. You can include herbs and spices into your cooking to make your meals more nutritious and taste more delicious.

Dried herbs and spices don’t only add complex flavors to your food; they also enhance the color, aroma, and nutritional value of the meal. Herbs and spices possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic characteristics. Herbs and spices also have glucose- and cholesterol-lowering character qualities. 

For example, spices such as sage, oregano, rosemary, clove, and cinnamon are fantastic sources of antioxidants. Making your food spicier has also been found to lower your risk of death from cancer, heart and respiratory issues.   


Best Survival Food #12 - Dried Meats—a.k.a., Jerky


Dried meat should be included in every prepper food supply. Dried meat, or jerky, is perfect for prepper pantries because it has an impressively long and reliable shelf life. Jerky can be made from a variety of different protein sources: Beef, elk, buffalo, fish, turkey, venison, and duck jerky are all delicious and nutritious. 


Dried meats are obviously an important source of protein, but they also contain important vitamins, such as vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12. Jerky also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. 


Best Food for Emergency Survival  #13 - Sweeteners


Having sweeteners in your prepper pantry is as important as having a wide selection of herbs and spices and the best prepper pantry ideas to have. Sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, agave, and sugar all make certain foods more enjoyable and most importantly, more nutritious. 


For example, one serving of maple syrup on your oatmeal will supply you with zinc, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Maple syrup is also well known for its long and reliable shelf life. 


Honey is another important sweetener. It is ideal for sweetening coffee, tea, and oatmeal, as well as spreading on bread, toast, and bagels. Honey is also perfect for soothing sore throats and coughs if someone in your family or prepper community gets sick. 


Survival Food #14 - Coffee and Tea


Coffee and tea are also essential items you should include in your list of best survival food. Both coffee and tea are comfort drinks. They help raise morale and are especially helpful when the weather is cold. 

Most types of coffee and tea also contain caffeine. Caffeine is a performance-enhancing stimulant that can increase your focus and energy levels. Caffeine can be helpful in the mornings and when you need to re-energize during an exhausting survival situation. 


Best Survival Food #15 - Cooking Oils and Lard


Last but not least, cooking oils and lard are important additions to your practical prepper food supply.


Cooking oils, such as vegetable, canola, peanut, olive, soybean, sunflower, or avocado oil, are fantastic for cooking. They are ideal for deep-frying, pan-frying, and searing your food. They are helpful for keeping your food from sticking to the pan or baking sheet and adding flavor texture to your food. 


Plus, like lard, they add important nutritional value to your food. Lard, along with certain types of oil, is an important source of unsaturated fatty acids. Lard also contains high levels of vitamin D, less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter, and no trans fat.  


Tips for Making Your Survival Foods Last Longer


The best survival foods have a long shelf life. For example, some of our freeze-dried and dehydrated foods can last over 25 years!


Besides your survival food being designed to last a long time by itself, you can also take important actions to help your food last longer and keep your emergency food supply well-organized. 


  1. First in, First Out (FIFO)

Restocking is an important part of keeping an up-to-date prepper pantry. As you restock, make sure to place the newly purchased or fresher items towards the back. This will guarantee that you use the older things first and avoid expired food. 


      2. Store Foods in Glass Containers

Glass containers are ideal for pickling and canning. They are great because they retain fewer stains and odors than plastic or metal. Plus, if you want to reheat the food items in the glass container, they are ready to use and safe for reheating in the microwave. 


      3. Understand Expiration Dates

Contrary to popular belief, expiration dates refer to food quality, not food safety. In other words, some technically expired foods can be safe to eat. They just might not be the highest quality. 


Sell-by dates are dates that inform how long the item can be displayed. Best-if-used-by dates reflect when the item is at its optimum quality and flavor. And use-by dates refer to when the food item has passed its peak quality. So even if the food is technically past it's best buy date, it can still be a valid part of your survival food stash.


      4. Know What to Refrigerate and What Not to Refrigerate

Some food items belong in the refrigerator or freezer because it helps them last longer and retain their delicious flavor. However, there are other foods that you should not refrigerate or freeze because they will spoil quicker. 


For example, tomatoes lose their flavor in the fridge, so instead, they should be kept on the counter. Basil is another example of food you should not refrigerate. Instead, you should hang it up to dry. However, foods like broccoli, berries, apples, celery, jams, and nut butter are safe to refrigerate. 


       5. When in Doubt, Make It Into a Stew

Older vegetables that are beginning to look questionable are still usable. You don't have to throw them away when you have extra food (such as carrots, potatoes, onions, or other hearty vegetables). They are perfect for making into a broth, soup, or stew. 


      6. Blend Herbs with Olive Oil and Freeze Them

After drying the bulk herbs you’ve harvested from your survival garden, you can blend them with olive oil and freeze them. Using ice trays is best for this. Then, when it’s time for additional herbs, you have some ready to go. 


      7. Label Everything

Labeling everything helps keep your survival foods and other supplies organized. Knowing exactly where something is located, and the quantity of the item is super helpful information, especially in a stressful situation. 


     8. Put Heavier Items Towards the Bottom

As your survival food storage expands, you will want to keep it organized. We recommend putting the heavier food items, like pallets of canned goods, towards the bottom. 


Placing heavier items towards the bottom is good for two reasons: it reduces the risk of falling overhead hazard, and it allows you to access heavy items without lifting over your head. 


      9. Maximum Vertical Wall Space

Maximizing your storage space is important. Floor-to-ceiling wall space is extremely valuable. Utilizing all the nooks and crannies around your home is helpful as well. In time, you will develop storage solutions that take advantage of all the best places, as well as the less obvious spaces, like above the refrigerator. 


       10. Remember The Six S’s

    1. Sort – stay organized to know what you have, what you need, and what you do not need. 
    2. Set In Order – practice FIFO
    3. Shine – stay vigilant with cleaning 
    4. Standardize – develop survival rules, label everything and color code 
    5. Sustain – stay motivated with your prepping and food storage maintenance 
    6. Safety – child safety considerations are especially important  

Conclusion - Healthy Survival Foods Everyone Needs


With the ever-changing landscape of our country and world, you have to be ready, and the easiest way to prepare is with a fantastic healthy survival food kit for your household.

Your healthy emergency food storage should be somewhere cool and dry, like the basement.

Check your food for unusual odors, colors, and textures periodically, and discard any food that may have been contaminated.

If you’re ready to start building your healthy emergency food storage, then start with the leader in clean simple survival food, Valley Food Storage. These buckets are pre-packed with everything you need in clean and healthy survival food—plus, it lasts for 25 years.

It’s a no-brainer, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Having these healthy emergency foods as part of your emergency arsenal will significantly increase your survival rate the next time Mother Nature gets a bee in her bonnet.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start to gather your goods today and start building the best survival food storage you can.