Protein powder seems to be an ideal staple for prepping

I’m surprised to not see as much discussion about it! Protein powder seems like a really good staple. It’s nutritionally dense (doesnt take up much space per calorie), doesn’t spoil, and I think you’d find that quality nutritional protein is going to be hard to get a hold of, under difficult conditions. There could be plenty of big cheap bags of flour or rice (carbs) and plenty of cooking fat, but not so much protein. Especially if lots of domestic animals die off (sad!) from no one being there to work the farms, or the water supply getting heavily contaminated with disease. And there’s actually not that many wild animals to hunt either. I believe they’d be rare in a week. So it really makes sense to me to have a good store of protein powder. The one thing I keep in mind though, is that if this is going to be a staple of my nutrition for a while, I need to get a clean protein powder brand. Ideally, there’s lab testing to prove it doesn’t have any nasty chemical stuff in it that shouldn’t be there. I have managed to find a few like that without chemicals. Heavy metals, fillers, and pesticide residue are all big problems with a lot of commercial protein powders. Like this kind of thing. I don’t want that! Cause I’m gonna be eating a lot of it and I don’t want to be accumulating nasty stuff, even if it is a no holds barred situation. Long term health is key! Anyway, I’m interested to hear people’s thoughts on protein powder for prepping? Also any brand recommendations?


  • Comments (16)

    • 2

      I used to drink a lot of “Orgain” organic protein powder.  I liked the ingredients, but more importantly I liked the taste, and the ease of mixing.  I just found it a much more agreeable product than others I had tried.  Also (at least back when I was buying it) it came in gallon sized white plastic jars that make great storage containers for other foods.  It is a bit pricey though. 

      • 2

        My last protein powder I tried was Orgain and I liked it. Good ingredients and good taste. It is often found on sale at Costco.

        My current protein powder is Hlth Code. It was more expensive and doesn’t taste as good as Orgain, but is more of a complete meal with a good balance of fats. It has shortly over a year away expiration date, so if rotated out (First in First out) then it could be a decent addition to food storage for the short term.


        hlth code

    • 5

      I respectfully couldn’t disagree more.  First of all, any protein powder I’ve seen has an expiration date that is not all that long.  Now I’m no expert on protein powders, so someone else can let us know how long it will store unopened.  I purchased 2 big cans of it 2 months ago & my cans say it expires in 2025.  But I know plain old long grain white rice will store for 30+ years, so lets compare white rice to protein powder.  We all know rice is a prepper staple.

      I went on amazon & saw where I could get a pound of protein powder for $24.  There might be better pricing but that is what I saw.  For that $24, the protein powder gives you 1800 calories & 375 g of protein.

      On Amazon, I saw where two 10 lb bags on white rice costs $25, so ball park the same cost as one pound of protein powder.  20 lbs of rice have a whopping 32,000 calories and 600 g of protein.

      So for a similar amount of money, rice gives you way more calories & actually more protein.  Even if you could find quality protein powder for half what I saw on Amazon, the powder still wouldn’t give you a fraction of the calories as rice and basically the same amount of protein.

      I brought calories into the discussion because in a crisis, you will most certainly die from a lack of calories much quicker than you would from a lack of protein.

      Now take the other prepper staple, dried beans.  They too can store for 30+ years.  For $27, I saw on Amazon where you could get 12 lbs of beans.  Those 12 lbs of beans have 18,000 calories and a whopping 1100 g of protein.

      I think most anyone can see why dried beans and white rice are so often stored by preppers.  Great long term storage, lots of calories and a good source of protein.  I have no protein powder in storage but do have hundreds of pounds of rice and beans… amongst other items.

      • 3

        You bring up some really good points. I hadn’t thought of a lot of that. That’s kind of mindblowing that plain old rice, a carb source no less, has more protein per dollar than protein powder. I guess my only issue with beans and rice are that they might not have all the essential amino acids that dairy (whey protein) would have.

        See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acids_in_plant_food

        Still, your post is pretty convincing! I will have to think about it.

      • 4

        The thing is, neither rice nor dried beans have all the essential amino acids, but taken together they do.  What one lacks the other makes up for it. 


        Rice and beans are the absolute easiest food to find in bulk, easy to store, stores a very long time… and are so packed with nutrition and calories.  I can’t think of any food you can get that will provide more nutrition and calories per dollar… and store for 30+ years.  IMO, they should be the foundation of any prepper’s storage.  Like I stated, I store lots of it myself.  From there you can branch out to other foods, such as wheat berries, dried pasta, oats, etc.

        Now there are some foods that singlehandedly provide you with all the essential amino acids.  One of which is my #1 plant that I feel all preppers should grow or at least keeps lots of seed in storage.  That would be amaranth.  Anyone can grow it and each plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds.  Actually the whole plant is edible.  The leaves are as nutritious as spinach.  Many folks grow it as an ornamental as it is so pretty.  If everyone grew just a few amaranth plants and harvested the seed each year, you could feed a neighborhood in a crisis.

    • 5

      I researched protein powders and other supplements early on in my prepping journey and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t trust the quality, safety, or shelf life.  From a quality perspective in the United States (might vary in other countries), they are not sufficiently quality controlled.  From a manufacturing perspective, even those that are quality controlled can grow, over time, all kinds of scary things that I wouldn’t want to eat (remember the infant formula debacle?  The manufacturing process for good quality protein powders is not that different from that for infant formula, and it is hard to do well).  From a shelf life perspective, they don’t cut it for me for a long-term prep. I do keep a small quantity of Ovaltine (not really a protein powder) on my shelf as a combination protein/comfort food for short-term emergencies like power outages.  But it only has a 2-year shelf life and I toss it when it is done; unlike quality canned goods that I keep for ages.  

      I think it could be a good supplement to other preps to add variety, or potentially a go-bag item if it is from a tested brand (meaning one sold as a medical food and regulated but the FDA) and regularly rotated. 

      If anyone does choose to use protein powder as a prep, I recommend they pick a brand and use it regularly in everyday life. The time to find out you react badly to something is PRE-emergency!  Example: I tried those “impossible burgers” – and they were indeed impossible.  I simply cannot digest them and spent days flushing it out of my system. Wouldn’t want to do that when there’s no running water!

      • 3

        Having food sensitivities I second the use it before the disaster.  Not a time when you want to be dealing with GI issues or any illness.  

      • 2

        That’s really good advice to try the protein out first. I’ve tried some protein that made my stomach not so happy haha.

        I guess I need to rethink whether I store protein powder or not now that I’ve read these replies. I was thinking I might stock up on the “Puori” brand stuff I found looking for the purest I could find, but now I’m not so sure. (Edit: oops, here’s the link to that I found.) I’m totally in agreement with you about the crazy stuff that gets into protein powders – lead and pesticide residue and stuff.

        And those plant based “meat” products are absolutely terrible, I’m not surprised you had trouble. Who knows what kind of weird stuff is in there to make it simulate meat. Like, look at all this garbage – https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/sustainability/how-is-plant-based-meat-made/ Nobody’s body is gonna handle that well.

      • 2

        I have learned a lot from this thread as well! I didn’t realize rice had so much protein. As for “all the amino acids” – I am concerned about – “all the everything”.  I supplement my rice and beans staples (and to be clear, I thoroughly dislike beans but will eat them in a crisis) with a huge variety of canned goods. The variety is both to provide comfort (comfort matters!) as well as nutrition.  Somewhere on this site I actually posted a list of the 60+ varieties I have but I can’t find it now.  

        I’ve found that many of the foods have come in so handy on an everyday basis.  Example: Pumpkin puree (which is on sale everywhere these days because of the holidays).  I regularly make pumpkin waffles, pumpkin muffins, even pumpkin overnight oats!  One can of pumpkin puree provides 30% of the daily needs for both fiber and iron (who knew? I didn’t until I wrote this post) plus 18% of potassium.  And probably lots of Vitamin A too but that is no longer tracked on nutrition labels. Plus it is delicious.  

        Truth be told many of my more exotic canned goods (like poppy seed pie filling – one full can provides 90% of your daily needs of calcium and 54%of iron – again who knew?) are now past their “best by” date since I don’t use them regularly. But I keep them anyway because in a SHTF situation I will most likely still want them and most canned goods are still usable far past their supposed “best by” dates. The less exotic ones, like the pumpkin, get rotated so frequently that they are always “fresh”.  As already mentioned be sure to try at least one of everything before a disaster in case you have a bad reaction.

    • 2

      Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder, 100% Whey Isolate (Chocolate caramel flavor) – this is the GOAT for me new flavor they recently released it mixes super easy and tastes incredible I mix the stuff in water milk yogurt and home made protein ice cream its without a doubt the best stuff i have ever had. I ordered 5 more pounds before i was half way through the first jug when it was discounted from 75 to 60$ on amazon (might still be was not long ago) because after having it I don’t want anything else.

    • 4

      The viability of beans and rice as a primary source of protein really depends on the individual – your protein needs, calorie needs, eating habits, and of course whether those are foods you can digest well.

      Personally, while I like both beans and rice, trying to meet my protein needs from those sources alone would mean eating much larger and more frequent meals than I’m used to.  It would also mean taking in more calories than I need, going through my supply of beans and rice much faster than I would otherwise need to, and feeling uncomfortably full most of the time. 

      If you figure out how many grams of protein you personally need in a day, you can cook up enough beans and rice to equal that, and see whether it looks like something you could actually eat in a day.  And then want to repeat day, after day, after day. . .  Some people are big eaters and could probably manage that, but for me it would be nearly impossible, and leave no room for other foods – like wild fruits that are low in protein but high in calories and vitamins. 

      Protein powder costs a lot more per gram of protein, but is then a comfortable and enjoyable way of actually getting that pricey protein into my body, because there’s always room for a chocolate shake 🙂

      I agree that it’s relatively short shelf life is an issue, though.  When I was using Orgain powder it was for health reasons, and because it was part of my daily diet, it was also part of my preps in the sense of always buying it about four months in advance.  It’s just not a “set and forget” kind of prep to pack away in deep storage.

      • 3

        Personally, while I like both beans and rice, trying to meet my protein needs from those sources alone would mean eating much larger and more frequent meals than I’m used to.  It would also mean taking in more calories than I need, going through my supply of beans and rice much faster than I would otherwise need to, and feeling uncomfortably full most of the time.

        I agree.  That is why I say rice and beans should be a foundation… not an end all.  But I will say, during a crisis, being uncomfortably full most of time would not be the worst thing in the world.  Better than being uncomfortably starved.

        I think it important to store what you eat.  We happen to eat a lot of rice.  We rarely eat potatoes anymore and have rice several times a week.  We do also love our beans.  However, even with as much rice and beans that I have in storage, it is not my #1 store.  I keep more wheat berries in storage than rice and beans combined.  If you think about it, most Americans eat wheat product multiple times every day… maybe even every meal.  So why not store what you eat?

        I started my prepper journey I think like many.  I purchased some MREs and other prepared meals for like campers.  They are convenient but I found out real quick they didn’t store all that long and were probably the most expensive calories you could find.  As I matured as a prepper, I learned to package my own food stores.  I bought bulk rice, beans, pasta and Spam at Sam’s club.  The Spam can last a very long time if stored properly.  I purchased 6 gallon pails, lids, Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and a sealer so that I could properly store the rice, beans & pasta.  Every month I would purchase enough of those foods to fill & seal a 6 gallon pail.  Do that for a few years and you will be amazed how much food you have in storage.

        Luckily, when I was in this mode of long term food storage, pails of wheat berries were very cheap and with Walmart, and I got free freight.  It came from Emergency Essentials, and the wheat was already inside Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers… ready for storage.  I also was able to get similar pails with rolled oats.

        My point is start slow but consistently add to your stores.  At the same time, of course, you can double the foods you purchase from the stores and have a well stocked pantry of foods you currently eat.  Then if you are a nutcase like me, you can go all in and plant orchards, have a garden and raise catfish and chickens.  But putting up your own rice and beans is a great way to start down the road of food security.

        Here is a pic of one side of my prepper closet, showing some of the pails of food and the Spam (inside yellow racks) in storage.

        closet right

      • 2

        Your catfish alone could probably feed an army, even without the “spam spam spam, spam eggs and spam” but most people’s food preps will never be as well rounded as yours.  Just to clarify, I was in no way knocking beans and rice as a major dietary staple – they’re cheap, store well, and are a great source of carbs with some protein. 

        I just don’t think it’s really fair to compare the price of protein powder to the price of beans and rice.  The powders are a much more concentrated form of protein, making them more of a replacement for meat, where one could have beans and rice plus a protein shake.  So I think the question should be how does it compare in price to canned meats (probably still not favorably, but not so drastically unfavorably as when you compare it to beans and rice.) 

        Another factor to consider is that not everyone eats meat, and while I suspect most would in an emergency, it’s not really fair to expect someone who’s vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons and doesn’t want to support animal agriculture, to stockpile canned meats “just in case.”  For them, a high quality vegan protein powder would definitely have it’s place in prepping.  

    • 3

      I have protein powder I bought in late 2019, opened, and am still using. It shows no signs of deterioration, clumping, going bad, or having an off flavor. The brand I have is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey in several flavors (several of them opened for variety), and also casein. I also have some Premier Protein that has not been opened yet. I was not concerned about the price, or comparing it to other protein sources, as I wanted a different kind of protein to add to the mix. I mix it into milk, also add it to homemade granola, and smoothies. I sometimes mix it with a little sugar before I add liquid, as that seems to make it more soluble. I do not eat a lot of sugar, so it doesn’t bother me that I have a little bit with my whey drink.

    • 2

      Are you interested only in protein powder, or also nutritional shakes? I seem to recall that Ready Wise made nutritional shake powder with a shelf life of 10 yrs, in case that matters.

      • 3

        As for shakes that already have liquid in them, I bought a lot of Premier Protein brand single-serving shakes in 2020. After a year and a half, I notice that, while not “bad” and not losing flavor, there were clumps of what I will call goo in the bottom of the shake. It was an unexpected “extra’ the first time I got a blob of that! I did not toss them, because what if shtf…. I can pour them out of the container, check the flavor, and maybe add to yet another smoothie. Thankfully, I don’t have too many of them left. I think instead of buying a lot at once, I will rotate them, if I decide I want to keep more of them around. Has anyone stored Slimfast? I was trying to get more potassium at one point and discovered that Slimfast, especially the Original, has more potassium than most “natural” sources.

      • 2

        FWIW Ready Wise shakes are in powder form. But they might be out of stock https://readywise.com/products/freeze-dried-vanilla-shake-bucket

        I had Slimfast, and generally liked it, but never stored it for long so don’t know how long it will last.