Healthy Survival Cooking

Healthy survival cooking and survival nutrition in an emergency is different than regular cooking and nutrition. The goal of emergency cooking is to prepare enough calories for your family to the best of your ability in the given situation. Having an established family emergency preparedness plan with an emergency food supply and emergency water supplies in place, both at home and in all family cars, is key to getting your family through a disaster.

(This page is written by my sister Kerry Bacon, of Healthy Diet Habits. She has a Science degree in Dietetics, and lived 5 miles from the 1994 Chatsworth CA earthquake. Read her story of the experience!)

In an earthquake situation, you might have the goal to eat perishable food first, and then frozen foods, before moving on to canned foods or emergency food, freeze dried/dehydrated packs. The meals you fix, might be what is the easiest thing you could fix, or foods that do not require cooking at all. In an emergency, eating cereal for each meal is not going to kill you!

The main goal that you have when faced with an emergency or natural disaster, is to remain unstressed. There should be no stress involved with what you will eat. If you eat cereal for breakfast, peanut butter crackers and dried fruits for lunch, and open a can of something for dinner, you will survive. Meals may not be the balanced, delicious healthy meals you normally prepare, but your goal is survival, not gourmet meals!

Survival Cooking with No Power:

During an emergency, you can cook inside in your fireplace, if you have one, and if you can still access it. You can use your grill or camping stove outside. Do not use them inside. Canned foods can be eaten from the can, cold or warm. If you heat them in the can, open the can first so it will not explode, and remove the label to avoid a fire. Cooking on a camping stove or grill with a burner is the same as cooking indoors, just outdoors, so should not be too difficult. Most emergency foods are canned, so should just be dump and heat type foods. Simple emergency foods and cooking are great for emergency situations!

Survival Nutrition Tips:

  • Plan on eating one balanced meal per day at least. If you have a canned entrée like chili, canned vegetable like green beans, and some dried fruit for dessert, that is awesome and easy! Canned foods can provide balanced meals.

  • Make sure you are drinking enough liquids. See Emergency Water Storage.

  • Make sure that you are eating enough calories. There is much work to be done in disasters. and you may need to eat more than you normally do.

  • Make sure that your kids are eating enough. Many time people that are scared and stressed, do not feel like eating. Encourage your kids to eat to keep up their strength.

  • Hand out protein bars as snacks or protein drinks.

  • Nuts and dried fruits are healthy snacks.

  • Make sure everyone is taking vitamins.

  • See the Emergency Food Supply list for additional emergency food ideas.


These are a few healthy diet habits for disasters that can get you through the disaster. Most of the time, there is help and emergency supplies available after a few days, but you should be prepared for a longer time period. Having a family emergency preparedness plan in place, and emergency kits in your home, your work place, and having car emergency kits in each of your family vehicles is of the utmost importance!

Develop great lifestyle solutions, and be prepared with these survival cooking, and survival nutrition tips, and you will make it through with the least stress possible!

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