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Oatmeal: Ultimate Survival Food?

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Food. It’s the first thing most people think about in a survival situation. “I’ve got to find something to eat!”

Maybe it’s because we’re so accustomed to eating regularly throughout the day and our stomachs remind us when it’s getting close to mealtime. Maybe it’s a comfort activity; something that can be done to preserve a sense of normalcy in a situation that seems beyond our control. Whatever the reason, food is the first thing that most people think about in survival.

In reality, there are much more important things to worry about. If you recall the Rule of Three you know that air, shelter, water come first.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to eat sometime so carrying a lightweight, nutritious meal with you that can provide a bit of warmth on the inside is a good idea. It’ll help give you boost of energy and lift the spirits.

Instant Oatmeal: It’s All Good

You heard the axiom “Store what you eat and eat what you store.” They are words to prep by. That’s why one of the items I like to carry with me in my 72 hour kits is instant oatmeal.

Why?

  • Lightweight. With some foods, you’re carrying around a lot of extra weight in the form of liquid. Not with instant oatmeal. It’s lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Nutritious. One packet of instant oatmeal contains 20% of most of the FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Iron, and Folic Acid. (Not that I put a lot of stock in the FDA’s recommendations, but that’s another story.)
  • Servings. Since instant oatmeal is packaged in individual servings, it’s easy to carry and use only what you need.
  • Preparation. It’s easy to make instant oatmeal. If you can boil water, you can make instant oatmeal.
  • Packaging. The packaging is flammable. That can come in handy when you are trying to start a fire in the wilderness.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Katie Short

    September 22, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    The link to read the full article goes nowhere 🙁

    • 'Above Average' Joe

      September 22, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Hey Katie, sorry for that, I just updated it, it should be working now

  2. Don Millikan Jr.

    September 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Oatmeal like rice & beans is a good staple survival food. Nonperishable. However,you need plenty of water to prepare these foods,fuel for cooking and a sound method for storage. Mice can chew through all manor of plastic, paper/cardboard. In large quantity I recommend steel drums with solid sealable lids. You can portion smaller quantities for daily use, day trips, bug out packs.

    • Douglas

      September 30, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Oats don’t need to be cooked. I often have plain rolled oats with milk and honey for breakfast.

  3. Jeanette Walling

    September 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    Many years ago we lived close to Utah & got a lot of ideas etc from the Mormons. In their metal trash cans they would stock flour, sugar, beans, rice, noodles grains and would but small bags of salt inside spaced around to not only help keep moisture out but weevils etc. And in their large containers they would crumple up paper towels as well at the tops to trap excess moisture feeom getting to their stash. Just thought I would pass this on to help others.

    • MildBill

      October 1, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      That’s what I do also. . . Works great, and if the metal trash cans are stored in a basement on the concrete floor, it acts like a light duty refrigerator for added help in long term storage. . . You can also nitrogen purge the trash cans as nitrogen is heavier than air and caulk the lids shut. . . Get back to me in twenty years and I’ll let you know how it all worked out ! . .. lol

  4. Linda

    September 30, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Oatmeal is a major ingredient in many trail foods. A packet of the instant oatmeal in your bug out bag is easy, compact, and good food value. I’m not fond of it, but I know its value – especially in a survival scenario. We have it in our 1 week, 3 month, and 1 year supplies.
    We have supplies of it in our long-term storage as well. It stores a long time without losing nutritional value and is easy to prepare.

  5. julie

    September 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    I like to keep my oatmeal in ball jars and use my foodsaver to vacuum seal it. Oatmeal may be non -perishable but it can go stale and/or pick up odors if not sealed well.

    • Juda

      September 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      To stop meal worms from getting into foods like flour, oatmeal, corn meal, etc. Put those foods in the freezer for 48 hours. If there is any insect eggs in the food, they will be killed during the time they’re frozen and the food will keep longer. Then put into Bell jars and sealed up will keep for a long long time. I stick stuff like cake mixes, anything with flour in it in the freezer as soon as I get home from the store. Haven’t had mealworms for a long time.

  6. Berenice

    September 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I think it may be important to use organic oatmeal if possible. It seems silly to put up oats that have the potential in them to cause genetic problems. In fact it would be a good idea to get as much organic items as possible. My other thought, not connected to this subject but I feel important, is to acquire a skill with which you can barter. Also acquiring organic seeds for future use might be helpful. I’m sure these subjects have all been covered before but a reminder never hurts.

  7. Raymond Mccune

    September 30, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Where or how do I find none Gmo wheat.and other natural grow food

    • Arthur Tenny

      September 30, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      If you live anywhere near a feed store or garden center you start there. If not available look online for “Heirloom Seeds”. These are not only non GMO but also give you the seeds to replant.

  8. Mrhycannon

    September 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    If necessary, oats can even be mixed with cold water.. I make my own individual packets with dried fruit, sugar or honey, and a pinch of salt.. Can’t vacuum seal with honey but it’s a preservative.. Oatmeal can also be used as a side dish or main meal by omitting sugar and adding meat, salt, pepper, fat, etcetera..

  9. Kelly Smith

    September 30, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    This is a great choice for survival food. Light to transport, inexpensive, easy to prepare, and tasty!

  10. robert martini

    September 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    never thought of it. great idea. its light and good for you. also I would like that survival book, cant remember the name of it, but any way if you can send me some more info on being a better prepper would be great. thanks keep up the good work.

  11. Bernie

    September 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    I agree oatmeal is great. To improve on it, add rasins and honey, both of which keep well.

  12. Pat

    September 30, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Might I suggest the food the Indians made to keep the fur trappers alive through the harshest of times? Pemmican. You make it yourself and learn some interesting things along the way. Stores indefinately without refrigeration, lightweight,loaded with energy, protein,and anti scurvy blueberries when there are no fresh veggies. Look up how to make it on line. I vacuum seal small portions for all of my go bags and long term storage to have a high energy meat source in waiting if I need it.
    It is sort of like jerky but not really. Thin slice and dehydrate lean beef.Dehydrate it enough that it cracks and you can turn it into shredded beef. Render beef fat (kidney fat is best) into tallow. Also dehydrate blueberries. Once the beef is very dry grind it into shreds using a food processor or a mortar and pestle to turn it into mostly powder and shreds. Add hot rendered beef tallow and dehydrated blue berries. Mix well and form into balls or cakes. I also add some honey from my bees for extra added energy.I then package it in vacuum seal bags. Meatball size serving has enough energy for one day of hiking. There is much more info on line about pemmican. I learned so much about rendering beef (tallow) and pork (lard) fat from this. Tallow and lard can be stored on the shelf indefinitly once rendered. Tallow can also be used to make soap,candles,and the best damned popcorn on the face of the planet. My two cents.

  13. Grandma Joyce

    September 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Oatmeal is a great trail snack just dry from your hand. But be sure to have some water to drink with it. Another good one is triticale (just as nutritious as oatmeal and just as tasty.

  14. Grandma Joyce

    September 30, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Forgot — oatmeal is good for rashes and sunburn when mixed with a bit of water and patted on the affected area.

  15. MjohnK

    October 1, 2014 at 12:10 AM

    Regular oatmeal has another use. Most mammalogist that trap small animals probably know about this. It makes great bait. Place about a spoon full in your mouth and hold it in your cheek. It only takes a few minutes to moisturize it into a paste. A small amount of the paste can then be applied to a trip pan or lever in a trap. It will harden as it dries. It becomes an excellent bait for small mammals. Also, you can ingest any remaining oatmeal in your cheek. I see no reason not to add sugar or honey to the oatmeal, to make it more “interesting.”

  16. Peter

    October 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    The water needed is in canned vegetables, such as green beans or corn, if stored together too.

  17. kellygirl

    October 5, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    This might sound dumb…but what type of oats are y’all using? The original that takes a long time to cook or quick oats? Also, I use bay leaves in my long term storage to eliminate bugs.

    • Great Grey

      October 9, 2014 at 6:03 AM

      It doesn’t mater the only different is that quick oats are rolled thinner and may go stale a little faster because of that if not kept properly. Don’t use a container that lets air in and out easily or in large quantity, of course that true for most foods in long term storage.

  18. proBAKE

    February 27, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    We use oatmeal so frequently, in so many different types of recipes in the test kitchen, it’s almost impossible to keep track of. This is a great read!

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