Survival bars have evolved considerably from the bland crackers that were commonplace on marine survival kits or Cold War shelter food supplies. However the added choices that are available do not always translate into better and more beneficial products. Let’s look at some things to think about when choosing the right survival bars for your needs.
Calories are everything in survival bars. Calories translate into energy, which is exactly what survival bars are intended to provide. However, there are different types of calories, and not all of them are ideal for providing long-lasting energy. Bars that are high in sugar or corn syrup as well as complex carbohydrates will provide short bursts of energy that can wear off in an hour or so. Not only that, but they can lead to a carbohydrate “crash” which may produce a feeling of lethargy and unhappiness.
Loading products with sugar has been a time-tested way for companies to sell more products. They produce a momentary “high” and burst of energy, but people either crave more or get excessively tired after they wear off. Consequently, it is very important to avoid consuming survival bars that contain a disproportionate amount of these ingredients. The operative word is disproportionate because most, if not all, survival bars have these ingredients in them to one degree or another.
A little bit of sugar or complex carbohydrates are fine as long as they are combined with other, slower-burning ingredients. Whole grains, rice, beans, raisins, granola, fruits and vegetable bases are all examples of carbohydrates that are simple verses complex. Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and require minimal energy to process. They convert into energy which cells desperately need, but they last longer and do not store into fat quite as easily as their complex counterparts.
Good survival bars will also include vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids. All of these things are not only essential for energy, but they provide the body with nutrients that are important for almost every biological process. Without these nutrients, our bodies develop deficiencies that can impact our ability to resist and fight disease, build and repair muscle, regulate emotions and contribute to clarity of thought.
The whole point of survival bars is to have a condensed source of everything our body needs. They are intended to replace the need to forage or stockpile on diverse foods that take up a lot of space or may be difficult to obtain during a survival situation. They are also intended to provide a short-term solution based on the premise that you will be able to access a balanced diet within a few days or weeks following a survival situation. They should not be viewed as a long-term alternative to eating healthy, and you should make every effort to procure diverse foods as quickly as possible.
Taste and Function
A lot of commercially-available survival bars are produced with taste in mind. It makes logical sense as people tend to prefer to buy products that taste better. However, taste should not be the prime consideration when choosing the most effective food resource. Make sure that you are getting bars that have exceptional nutritional value over taste, even if that means having to begrudgingly eat them.
There are also specialized products that do a good job of balancing taste and function, and you should focus on investing in these types of survival bars. They may cost more, but it is an investment worth making, especially if you are in a prolonged survival situation and other foods are not readily available.
Finally, double check recipes that you stumble upon as you do research for survival preparation. Make sure that the ingredients provide a balanced infusion of nutrients. Modify them as necessary to account for deficiencies, and make sure to choose recipes that will produce products that have a good shelf-life. In other words, do your due diligence so you end up with the best possible resource to stick into your survival kit or bug out bag.
Consider mixing and matching different products as well. This will give you greater diversity in terms of taste as well as nutritional value. You should also try different products or recipes before relying on them during a survival situation. The last thing that you need is to be stuck with a stockpile of survival bars that either taste horrible or lack the nutrients that you need.
Paying attention to these important details will help to ensure that you are getting good calories, proper nutrition and a food source that is palatable. All of these are essential in a survival situation, but it’s up to you to prepare accordingly to avoid encountering any unwanted surprises in the field.