4 Easy Meals and Recipes for when the SHTF or in Tough Conditions

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4 Easy Recipes for when SHTF

Did you know that over half of homes in the United States do not have at least a three day supply of non- perishable food and water? Three Days! Non- perishables include canned items, and many dry goods.

There are many recipes you can quickly put together using lots of these items, so it’s handy to always have some in the house. When SHTF, it’s a good idea to take into account a few key factors when thinking about the food you are stock-piling, and how you will use them.

  • You want to look for foods with high calorie density. There are items on the market that can pack a dinner’s worth of calories into a small portable snack.
  • It’s a good idea to have high- protein foods in the house like eggs, nuts, or certain seeds. High- protein foods give you the feeling of being full, while eating less food.
  • You never know when you are going to need this food, so having items that will stay good for long periods will save you money, and make sure you are prepared anytime.
  •  Foods that are prepared and ready to eat can be a necessity when wanting to grab and go in a bug out situation.
  •  It is never a bad idea to have a few foods around that require little or no prep, and pack in the calories, proteins, and nutrients. Foods like oats and nut butters are great to have around and can be used in multiple SHTF recipes.
  • When thinking about what to make with all your stock-piled food, it’s helpful to have a couple good recipes on hand that only require a few ingredients. This allows you to purchase fewer foods, and gives you fast, easy solutions for energy packed, on the go meals.
survival recipes

There are a few foods, and recipes for them, that I tend to lean towards because of their versatility, nutrients, and portability. I go for high- protein ingredients, that can be eaten raw, by themselves, or can be used in multiple simple recipes.

First, let’s take a look at protein and its benefits. Proteins are long chains made up of thousands of amino acids, 20 different types in protein, that provide structure, function, and regulation to the body’s tissues and organs.

They also help give you the feeling of being full while taking in less calories, and help curve your appetite throughout the day when eaten at breakfast, by releasing appetite- suppressing hormones.

Sedentary, or low activity, males require a recommended 56 grams of protein per day, and females are recommended to consume 46 grams. By eating something simple like 2 large hard boiled eggs, females can obtain 25% of their RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) of protein, and males 20%.

High- protein foods like eggs are great for when SHTF, allowing you to get a large amount of nutrients and energy from small, portable meals. Proteins also help slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels.


– pic by Kate on Unsplash

One of my favorite high- protein foods is Tuna.

Just one cup of canned tuna contains a whopping 39 grams of protein. It is also a great source of B vitamins, selenium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. I’d like to take a moment to talk a little about Omega-3s because of their importance in our diet. There are three types of Omega-3s, DHA, EPA, and ALA.

DHA- Docosahexaenoic Acid is found mostly in oily fish. It is amazing for eye health and a major component of the structure of the retina itself. It is also absolutely crucial in the brain development of infants and fetuses. 40% of the body’s Omega-3s are located in the brain and 60% in the retina. Consuming DHA during pregnancy has been associated with children showing:

  • Higher intelligence
  • Better communication and social skills
  • Fewer behavioral problems
  • Lower risk in developmental delays
  • Lower risk of developing ADHD, Autism, and Cerebral Palsy.

EPA- Eicosapentaenoic Acid, like DHA, is found in oily fish. They play a major roll in mental health and prove to be effective in fighting depression and anxiety. They can also help reduce inflammation and boost heart health.

ALA- Alpha- Linolenic Acid, unlike the other two Omega-3s, they are found mostly in plant foods and are stored and used as energy just like other fats, however they can be converted into DHA and EPA. They are prevalent in foods like kale, spinach, soybeans, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. They can be found in many other seeds, as well as some animal fats.

In addition to all the health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, tuna is also potassium rich.

Potassium is a mineral that has been proven to lower blood pressure significantly. This, combined with the Omega-3s, results in an anti- inflammatory effect on the cardiovascular system. Lower blood pressure means you are at reduced risk for stroke, heart attack, and complications like clogged arteries.

Other nutrients like manganese, zinc, vitamin C, and selenium found in tuna help boost the immune system. Tuna also contains high amounts of iron and vitamin Bs which boost blood circulation throughout the body. Cardiovascular systems can get jammed and slowed down by the fats we eat which causes cells to start degenerating. Strengthening your blood circulation helps with oxidation in the body and restores proper function of the cardiovascular system.

As you can see we’re a fan of tuna! O top of ALL that, canned tuna can last seemingly forever on the shelf, and with this next recipe, you can freeze and save it up to 12 months after being opened.

Tuna Burger

recipes tuna burger
– pic by F_A ON FLCKR

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 2 Cans of Albacore Tuna- Albacore is recommended but any variety will work including canned salmon.
  • 2 Eggs- I suggest in tough times using a flax meal and water mixture as your binding agent instead of eggs. Flax meal is shelf stable, and lasts even longer in the fridge. This combination is 1 tablespoon flax meal and 3 tablespoons warm water, mix gently, and let sit for 10-15 minutes until texture is goopy and egg- like.
  • 4 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs- If you don’t have a can of pre- made around, you can use any stale bread you have and crumble.
  • If you have them on hand, these items can be added to your burgers for more flavor and nutrients.
  • 1 Small Diced Onion or 2 Scallions
  • 4 Tablespoons Diced Red Peppers
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard or Mayo
  • 1/4 Teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper


  1. In a medium bowl combine all desired ingredients and mix well.
  2. Separate and shape your mixture into 4, 3/4 inch thick patties.
  3. Heat oil or butter in a skillet on medium heat and cook for 4- 6 minutes. Can also be cooked on a grill outdoors.
  4. Flip your burgers carefully, as they are fragile, and cook for 4- 6 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. You can eat immediately or let them cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and throw them into the freezer for up to 12 months.

I love a good tuna burger and it’s hard to beat its nutrient packed nature. With this recipe I usually double or triple the recipe and store for easy access in the freezer.

After frozen you can either re- heat on a skillet or in the oven to make yourself a burger, or you can eat cold once it has thawed, on salads and healthy grains.


– pic by denise johnson on unsplash

Quinoa is a cost-effective, calorie dense source of non- animal protein and fiber. With just one cup of cooked quinoa you obtain 222 calories, 8 grams of complete proteins (contains all 9 essential amino acids), and 5 grams of fiber.

Of the 5 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams are soluble. Soluble fiber helps reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and increase your feeling of being full. Quinoa also contains 4 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, 58% of the RDI of Manganese, and 30% RDI Magnesium.

One serving also contains over 10% RDI of Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 as well as small amounts of calcium, B3 (Niacin), vitamin E, and Omega-3s. In addition, quinoa is high in flavonoids: Querctin and Kaempferol.

These are proven to be effective anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, anti-virals, and fight against certain cancers.

Quinoa is incredibly shelf stable, lasting 3-4 years uncooked at room temperature. Cooked quinoa on the other hand lasts 1 week in the fridge and up to 12 months in the freezer.

I like to cook a good amount ahead of time so I can easily eat it on its own or add it to any fresh veggies I have, for a nutrient packed 30 second salad. But if you don’t have fresh veggies on hand, this mac and cheese recipe is a great option for a low cost, energy packed dinner.

5 Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 4 cups butternut squash pure equal to 4 cans of store bought pure or 1 small fresh squash, boiled and blended
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa- see instructions on package for cooking instructions 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond milk- shelf stable options, longer life unopened in the fridge than dairy milk.
  • Any spices you may want: salt, pepper, turmeric, chilli pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or paprika are good options.


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and smooth out the top. Add any extra cheese you may have to the top for an extra cheesy, fat- filled dish.
  4. Place on middle rack of your pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

With this high calorie lunch or dinner recipe you can easily bake an extra and store one in the freezer for future use.

All Natural Peanut Butter

Be careful when buying peanut butter, many commercial brands have tons of extra additives. Check the ingredients list before you buy to make sure it contains only peanuts, and salt if you’d like but you can buy unsalted as well.

Peanut Butter is calorie dense and high in fats and protein. At the serving size of 100 grams, you pack in a total of 588 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 50 grams of fat.

recipes with peanut butter
– pic by irene kredenet on-unsplash

Peanut butter also provides you with 20 grams of carbohydrates and 57 milligrams (39% of Recommended Daily Intake) of the very important magnesium.

In addition, it is a great source of vitamins E, B3 (Niacin), B6, and B5, as well as biotin, iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium. Peanut butter is shelf stable and once opened can last at room temperature for 1 month, or 6 months in the fridge.

I personally am happy eating a spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar, but I also love to incorporate it into these No- Bake Energy Bites recipes.

No- Bake Energy Bites

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 0 Minutes

Total Time: 10 Minutes!


  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2/3 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips (optional)


  1. Combine oats, peanut butter, ground flax seeds, and chocolate chips if you choose, into a medium bowl and mix well. You can place the mixture in the fridge for 15- 30 minutes to harden and make rolling easier, but this is not necessary if you do not have refrigeration on hand.
  2. Take your mixture out of the fridge and roll into 12 balls. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for one month, or at room temperature for one week.
  3. If you are without refrigeration and are storing at room temperature, try rolling lightly in flour to decrease stickiness and separate with parchment paper while storing.

This recipe uses just a few ingredients, all with health and energy benefits. Because they are so easy and quick to make, and require no baking, they are a simple solution for an on-the-go, calorie packed meal substitute.

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seed recipes
– pic by chuttersnap on unsplash

Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of tons of different essential nutrients including protein, fiber, healthy fats, magnesium, and zinc.

They are one of the best natural sources of magnesium which is essential for over 600 different chemical reactions in the body. At a serving size of just 1 ounce you intake 151 calories comprised of fats and protein.

Pumpkin seeds have 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs, 1.7 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of fat (6 grams of which are Omega-6s). They have been shown to promote heart and prostate health, as well as protect against certain cancers.

Pumpkin seeds are also shelf- stable and will last 3 months in an airtight container at room temperature, and 12 months in the fridge. You can roast these guys, mix them with your favorite spices, and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months for a protein packed snack on the go. With a few ingredients and a little time you can easily make this yummy SHTF recipe.

Pumpkin Seed Granola Bars

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes


  • 2 Cups Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Rolled Old Fashioned Oats or Oat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil- Melted
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cinnamon (optional – adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (optional – adjust to taste)
  • Substitution- If you have them around, try replacing a 1/2 a cup of the pumpkin seeds with a 1/2 a cup of either chia or flax seeds, or 1/4 cup of both for an even heartier bar.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray or oil.
  2. Grind oats in a food processor or by hand with a mortar and pestle until texture is flour- like. It does not have to be very fine but should break down the flakes.
  3. Combine all of your chosen ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well.
  4. With rubber spatula, scrape mixture into your ready pan and press by covering with parchment paper and using your hand. You can also use the back of a spoon, whichever makes sense for you. Be careful not to press so hard you crush the pumpkin seeds!
  5. Put on the middle rack of your pre- heated oven, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes or when easily handled. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  6. Remove your bars from the fridge and lift up on the parchment to remove your bars from the pan. Cut into 9 equal portions.
  7. Store your pumpkin seed bars in an airtight container in the fridge for a longer life, or at room temperature for a chewier texture. Enjoy!

I enjoy this recipe because it is packed with essential nutrients and can be tweaked to fit your personal taste with ingredients you have around the house. With just 4 essential ingredients, all of which are shelf stable, this one should be easy for you to make on the fly.

I hope this article finds you well, and aids you in times of need that may arise in your life. Whether SHTF or you are trying to be more economically responsible, these foods and recipes should help ease some of the hardship.

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