Survival Uses for Junk Food

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Junk food is much maligned when it comes to nutrition – too much sugar, salt, high in calories and low in nutrients etc.  But if you consume it in moderation, it can be both satisfying and comforting.  I’ve seen emergency food lists that only include staples such as beans and rice, canned meats and vegetables.  There is nothing wrong with these bare-bones lists, however, it can get boring very quickly.  That’s why I also recommend including spices, fats, and oils as well as liquor.

Should you include junk food in your survival stockpile?

Before we come up with a final answer, let’s take a closer look.

Survival uses for junk food

Energy source

The high sugar content of many foods considered “junk” such as Twinkies, Hostess pies, candy, and chocolate is a quick source of energy.  In an emergency situation, you may need extra energy to do tasks you normally are not used to doing in everyday life, such as walk long distances or collect wood for a  campfire.   That’s where the extra sugar may be helpful.  Of course, if you are diabetic or have some kind of intolerance you would have to use other sources of energy.

Psychological boost

In a stressful situation, you need all the comfort you can get.  Certain types of junk food may provide just that.  During my first hurricane experience, I had a craving for Kraft cheese spread and crackers.  There was no dairy available for several days when the trucks were unable to get through.  Since then, I’ve kept boxes of crackers and a few jars of Kraft Old English spread.  Some people reach for chocolate as a comfort food, others may prefer salty snacks such as potato chips or Doritos.

Help start a fire

I saw an episode of Survivorman where he used corn chips as tinder.  The oils in the chip make it flammable.   I tried it myself to see if it really works.  Using a match, I set fire to a corn chip.  Sure enough, it caught fire very quickly.  Potato chips burn well too.  To start a campfire, place the burning corn chip in a small tinder bundle of dry leaves and branches.

Use as fish bait

If you have nothing else, some junk foods can be used as bait.  Gummi bears and chocolate is said to make an effective fish bait according to this article.

Incentive or reward

You can also use junk food as a reward for getting something done, especially if you have kids.  In a tough situation such as an emergency, a small reward would be something to look forward to and is an encouragement to keep going.

To answer the initial question, “Should you include junk food in your survival stockpile?”  The answer is definitely “Yes!”

In a future article, we’ll look at the best ways to store various types of “junk food.”  What snacks do you consider comfort food?  Please share in the comments.


© Apartment Prepper 2018


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  1. Hard candies vacuum packed for long term storage is what I have done. I buy it cheep after Easter and Halloween. I buy straight hard candies no filling. I like to buy Dumdum suckers too. The old Civil Defense used to have 5 galleon metal cans of citrus flavored had candies as part of the shelter stores.

    1. Hi oldguy, That is a great point, buying candy after Christmas and Halloween when they are marked down. I saw Christmas candy at 75% off the other day. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Yep. hard candy with secure packing. How many times have I tried to store all my favorites from the dollar store. For some reason, they just don’t store long term. 🙂

    1. Hey jannie, That is the problem with snack food, I find that “some people” in the household seem to find the stash. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. Dependency on junk food is like dependency on alcohol or drugs. It is an addiction. Ninety years ago when I was a child there was vey little junk food but there were many wholesome taste treats and comfort foods. They are as tasty and comforting now as they were then and enjoyed by young and old alike. As a bonus they healthy unlike the chemical laden junk food.
    The problem is that take sometime and knowledge make. Many people today want convenience and instant gratification so they waste their time in effortless mind dumbing activities like watching the boob tube or virtual reality of the electronic world

    1. Too true, Dusty. Real wholesome food is definitely much better for you, and we always recommend the bulk of food storage be foods that are nourishing that the entire family will eat. We also recommend learning how to cook, to avoid being dependent on takeout. However, the reality is many people need a small “treat” now and then to give them a break and if it is just a small portion of their supplies, then there is no harm in that. Thanks for the comment.

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