When our lives are thrown into chaos and our fight-or-flight response kicks into high gear, we need all the energy we can get to continue to persevere and survive whatever scenario comes our way. That’s why we always remind you that CALORIES = ENERGY = SURVIVAL.
Although sleep, exercise, calories, and coffee (like our Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee) may come to mind, the best way to build up a sustainable source of energy is a balanced, protein-packed diet. From hearty lentil soups to turkey jerky, our bodies don’t simply enjoy the taste of protein-packed foods--they require it.
It’s no coincidence that protein-filled nut bars and jerky are common snacks consumed by hikers, rock climbers, and other athletes who spend a lot of time outdoors and need nonperishable protein options. That’s why today, I’m sharing and ranking the best protein sources for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. I’ll discuss how to prepare and store these protein sources, as well as how much protein they contain per serving. But first, let’s take a look at what exactly happens in our bodies when we consume protein, and what to expect if we don’t eat enough of it.
The Importance of Protein
From muscles to bones, skin to hair, protein is an important component in our bodies, as it’s used to both build and repair tissues. Unlike vitamins and minerals, protein is considered a “macronutrient,” similar to fat and carbohydrate. This means our bodies need a relatively large amount of it to function at an optimal level. However, our bodies don’t store protein, so when we’re out of protein--we’re really out.
Without protein, we experience weakness, soreness, muscle cramping, impaired wound healing, and lowered immunity to infections. Therefore, it’s good to become more conscious about our protein intake. In fact, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one-third of adults over age 50 are failing to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein intake.
That said, don’t overdo it when it comes to protein. Depending on your age and gender, we need a specific amount of protein each day, but too much can lead to more health problems such as osteoporosis. According to WebMD...
- Teenage boys and active men can get all the protein they need from three daily servings for a total of seven ounces.
- For children ages 2 to 6, most women, and some older people, two daily servings for a total of five ounces is recommended.
- For older children, teen girls, active women, and most men, the requirement is two daily servings for a total of six ounces.
Now that we have a better understanding of why protein is critical, whether it be in times of emergency or our day-to-day lives, let’s take a look at six top sources for this macronutrient...
Best Animal-Based Protein Sources
When most people hear the word “protein,” their minds think of meat, poultry, and fish. But which protein sources will be the best and most effective to have on hand in an emergency situation? Let’s take a look at three of them...
#1: Canned tuna
Fish offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in general, less fat than meat. Canned light tuna is one of our best protein sources thanks to its low mercury content and high protein. Plus, with its relatively long shelf life (watch out for the expiration dates) and the fact that it’s extremely easy to serve and prepare in salads or on its own--all the more reason to stock up on this protein-heavy resource.
#2: Freeze-dried jerky
Lasting up to 30 years unopened, packages of freeze-dried beef are an ideal item to have stocked in your pantry. Use it in meat pies, stews, soups, and sandwiches for a healthy dose of protein--8 grams per serving, to be exact. Of course, there’s freeze-dried chicken too.
Beef or turkey jerky is a healthy low-fat protein source that the whole family can easily store and consume, at home or on the go. Unlike raw meat, jerky won’t go bad for a longer period of time and doesn’t require heat to become edible. It’s also available in a wide range of flavors such as teriyaki, original, peppered, and hot and spicy. Just make sure whatever flavor you select is relatively lower in sodium so you won’t be too thirsty and dehydrated after eating it.
#3: Skinless white-meat poultry
3.5 ounces of cooked chicken or turkey breast contains about 30 grams of protein. Removing the skin makes your meal more lean, meaning less fat--and a lot more healthy for your heart. You can store raw poultry cuts in your freezer for up to a year. However, keep in mind that, if you lose access to electricity during an emergency, you won’t have a working freezer to keep poultry stored and safe to eat. Consider purchasing freeze-dried chicken (included in our Mega Protein Kit) as a backup option.
Best Plant-Based Protein Sources
Meat can be hard to come by when disaster strikes, and doesn’t last as long as other plant-based protein sources, so we would be remiss not to include plant-based sources in this post. Not to mention, vegetarians and vegans should know what their options are as well. We recommend having an ample supply of Black Bean Burger on hand.
#1: Lentils and beans
When selecting beans, go for black, red, and pinto, which all have a high amount of protein per serving, roughly 15 grams per cooked cup. Our Beans Trio with Rice Trio contains 100 servings of these three beans, ensuring you’ll have enough on hand when and if disaster strikes.
Lentils, also classified as legumes like beans, contain 18 grams of protein per cooked cup and are delicious in soups, daals, and salads. Like beans, they help you feel fuller for longer, providing you with about 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake. One great options for quick protein from lentils is to keep Green Lentil Sprouting Seeds on hand, which can provide an instant source of protein in a matter of days.
Compared to all other vegetable proteins, legumes such as beans and lentils contain the most protein as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds. They also help you feel fuller for longer due to their high fiber content, which comes in handy when you’re trying to make a limited food supply last for longer.
#2 Sprouting seeds
Here's the secret to quickly adding the power of protein to your food storage plan during a crisis. This powerful Protein Powerhouse Sprout Seeds Mix is a bean combination that contains adzuki, garbanzo, mung, and green peas. These high protein sprouts are all easy to grow in days and delicious. They make a great addition to salads and soups or simply to enjoy by themselves.
Unless you’re gluten intolerant, seitan is a terrific protein source for vegetarians and vegans. That said, since it resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked, seitan can be a great alternative for meat eaters if you don’t have actual meat on hand. With a whopping 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces, it’s one of the richest plant proteins available. Whether pan-fried, sauteed, or grilled, seitan can be consumed in a variety of ways and added to various dishes, and will stay good if frozen for up to six months.
#4: Soybean-based products
Soybeans provide our bodies with all the essential amino acids they require, which classifies them a whole source of protein. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans, making them terrific options. All three contain 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces. Learn more about each below…
- With a sweet and earthy taste, edamame are immature soybeans. To eat them, they need to be steamed or boiled and are tasty on their own or as additions to soups and salads.
- Made when you press bean curds together in a process similar to cheesemaking, tofu doesn’t have much of its own taste. However, it absorbs the flavor of whatever ingredients you add to it, from seasoning to sauces.
- When you cook slightly fermented mature soybeans and press them into a patty, you get tempeh. Possessing a nutty flavor, tempeh can be used in chilis, burgers, soups, and more.
Since various systems in our bodies rely on a healthy amount of protein every day, we can’t neglect our intake of this important macronutrient. Don’t wait before it’s too late. Stock up on various protein sources today while you still have access to grocery stores and markets.
Stay alert, friends. And prepared.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply