I wanted to find an easy and practical recipe for a survival bar that would reach an impressive 3,000 calories. However, that was a bigger challenge than I expected! I found a few options for high calories, but nowhere near 3,000 calories for an average size bar. And what was even less appealing, the ingredients were expensive and not necessarily items found in the average pantry.
I then decided to combine a couple of recipes that were higher than the average caloric bar and tweak it by adding additional high-calorie ingredients. You can also determine the number of calories for each bar by the size you make them. For example, the recipe I am going to share has over 3,300 calories for the entire batch.
If you make 8 bars out of that, it would be just over 400 calories for a bar. That isn’t exactly low calorie if you are able to have other meals with it.
However, if you are looking for a survival bar in emergency situations, that’s not much at all. In order to maintain your current body weight, a woman requires 1,600 to 2,400 daily calories. And, an adult male requires 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day. This is assuming you are active.
Even so, if you are in survival mode without a hearty meal anywhere in sight, having high-calorie ration bar would not just be helpful, but could save your life. It really doesn’t matter if you eat one large bar throughout the day or 6-8 small bars.
So if you are looking for an option for a high-calorie ration bar(s), the following recipe is a reasonable option. It’s not expensive or difficult to make, has a decent shelf life, and actually tastes good.
Most of the ingredients are low in cost, and easy to find. You can adapt the recipe to your liking, such as use a different flavor for the gelatin, or add raisins…which will also add some calories.
The ingredients for the batch I made are as follows:
- 5 cup dry milk powder
- 2 cup dry oats (standard or quick will work)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (could use brown sugar also)
- 3 T honey
- 3 T water
- 1 3-oz package gelatin (I used lemon)
- 1 cup peanuts, crushed slightly
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Tip for More Calories or Protein: If you want more protein, you can add more peanuts, or substitute the dry milk with protein powder.
For more calories, use whole dry milk in place of non-fat, which would increase the calories for the batch by about 400-500 calories. Or, add raisins, dates, or other dried fruit.
#1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
#2. Mix together the powdered milk, oats, and sugar in a bowl.#3. Next, mix the jello, honey, and water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Here is where I struggled, believing that 3 tablespoons of water with the honey wouldn’t be nearly enough to boil, especially with the gelatin powder added. But, it IS. Trust me, I doubted enough for all us!
#4. Add the boiled mixture to your dry ingredients, slowly, and blend the contents well. Here is where you can add more water if the dough is too dry. The ideal texture would is somewhat dry, but can be formed into a bar without falling apart. I added an additional 3 tablespoons because it was too dry to form any shape.
This was most likely due to adding peanuts and cranberries. Just make sure to add only a teaspoon at a time. It’s much easier to add water slowly than to work with the dough if it’s too wet.
If the bars are too wet, it will lessen their shelf life, which I will address more in-depth a bit later. Just a head’s up! You might start out with a spoon, or mixer. But, digging in with your hands might be the best option. It was for me.
Another tip? I put my hand into a baggie, so the mix didn’t stick to my hand, especially when I was shaping the bars.
Once you have it mixed, form the dough into a bar of whatever size you prefer. I chose to do 8 individual and relatively flat bars because I wanted to seal them in an airtight manner per serving, rather than an entire batch.
This way, I could use them for survival in an emergency…or send one to soccer camp with the kiddo. He could definitely benefit from a high-calorie bar before practice but obviously wouldn’t need the entire batch.
My individual bars amount to approximately 412 calories, with 11 grams of protein.#5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place the bars on it. Or, place it all on the pan, press into one big bar, then gently cut the size you want out of that, which is how I did it.
#6. Bake the bars for about 20 minutes. They browned slightly, but overall looked and felt very similar to when I placed them in the oven. After cooling, they became firm and crisp. Storing is where diversity can also come in to play.
Some people swear by simply wrapping them in aluminum foil, while others use mylar bags. Me? I use a food saver for everything, so that’s how I will be storing them. There are claims that these will keep indefinitely. I’m not convinced about that, but I know they will keep for at least a couple of years if I vacuum seal them with my food saver.
I will be keeping them right on the pantry shelf, minus 1 or 2 that I will keep in my survival kit for the car, and 1 in my bag in case I forget to eat breakfast!