The average human body can survive an estimated 3 weeks without food. During that time, you would experience cramps, dizziness, slowed/slurred speech, hallucinations, seizures, and eventually death.
Starvation is a very slow and painful death, but you can avoid it with the right preparations and knowledge.
Most of us are fortunately only a short drive, phone call, or click away from any kind of food you can imagine. Narrowing down what to pack in your bug out bag could be a bit more difficult. You need to try to have something from every food group. Your body will burn much more calories in a stressful survival situation; therefore, you will need to intake more calories in order to perform at your optimum level.
How much does this item physically weigh? Is it worth it to add this weight into my pack? Could I possibly find this or something similar to this around me? These are questions to ask yourself when packing survival food in your bug out bag. For example, you probably don’t want to pack a 5 lb bag of candy – yes, the sugar will give you some energy, but there isn’t much nutritional value to it.
Here is a starting list of food items to pack in your bug out bag:
1. Salt. Your body loses salt and other electrolytes through perspiration and urination – lose too much salt and you will start cramping and dehydrating. Hydration salts are a great substitute if you don’t want to worry about regular table salt. These are designed to pull and retain water into the cells in your muscles and also provide electrolytes, sugars and some calories. A packet of hydration salts can be dumped into your water container to keep you going if you’re on the move.
2. MREs. MREs (aka Meals Ready to Eat) are mostly known for their use by the military, but are also an excellent survival food choice. Military MREs contain on average 1,250 calories – 13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates. Each MRE also includes 1/3 of the daily recommended vitamins and minerals. Some vegetarian MREs are available if you prefer them for either religious or dietary preferences – usually 1 – 2 in a box of 12.
3. Canned goods. There is a wide variety of foods available in cans – vegetables, fruits, meats, beans, etc. You are the only one who can decide how much of which type of canned food to pack in your bug out bag. My personal favorites are tuna, peaches, pineapples, chicken noodle soup, or black beans. Another thing to consider is that once the food inside is gone, the can itself still has usefulness – gather and boil water, carry coals to your next location, and polish the lid to signal with. Try to avoid using your knife to open the can – it will severely dull the blade and possibly break it. Use a multi-tool or a sharp rock instead.
4. Freeze dried/dehydrated/smoked foods. Freeze dried meals, emergency food rations, beef jerky, smoked salmon/tuna, etc. are all great additions to your bug out bag. Choose the ones that best fit your budget and taste buds.
5. Peanut butter. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, and calories that you will need to replace in a survival situation. It’s also easy to eat on the go if you have to. Once the peanut butter is gone, you have another water bottle.
Remember, you’re not stuffing your bug out bag with 2 weeks’ worth of meals – only bring food items that have earned the space they will take up. I highly recommend supplementing your survival diet with foods you can find wherever you might find yourself during an emergency.