How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You for a Full Day

James Walton
By James Walton September 16, 2016 10:48

How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You for a Full Day

Across the table from a government worker I was discussing the importance of emergency food. The discussion was centered on freeze dried meals and canned foods. We were discussing the feasibility of both in a serious disaster situation. We were not talking about the novelty power outage where we all have fun bringing out all the emergency preparedness tools and toys. Rather the situation where we are helping neighbors, fighting oncoming floods or trapped by the fallout of a life threatening disaster.

It was in that moment he stressed the importance of convenience in a disaster. His example was cereal and shelf stable milk. He described it as follows, “It takes no time at all to put together and will sustain your family members without complaint.” I would be lying if I said this didn’t change my point of view on disaster foods. ‘Could it be so simple?’ I thought to myself. More importantly I began to realize how necessary this convenience could be.

Of course there is a food that presents the ultimate in convenience and perhaps the best choice in a situation like this is the high calorie emergency rations.

These bars are often built in a 2400-calorie pack that is designed to feed you for a full day. The rations are often broken into 4 squares of 600 calories each. These rations are not only used by preppers and survivalists but backpackers and hunters utilize them as well. This is a testament to their efficiency as a calorie provider. Of course the elk hunter wants a delicious back strap for dinner but these rations are a nice second option.

Below I will outline the process of creating your own rations. If you follow the steps you will have your own answer in a disaster scenario or something to take on your next hike.

Gather the following tools and ingredients:

 (preheat your oven to 375 degrees)


  • 1 2-inch-deep baking pan
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 small saucepot


  • 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Cups Maple syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut butter
  • 1 Cup Frosted Flakes
  • 3 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Protein powder
  • 1 Cup Almonds
  • 1 Cup Raisins
  1. Begin by combining your honey, olive oil and maple syrup in a sauce pot. Heat this mix over a medium heat and stir it frequently until it begins to simmer.1
  2. Add your two tablespoons of peanut butter to the mix in the pan. Stir the peanut butter until it melts into the syrup mix. Be careful! this syrup mix will be very hot and if it gets on your skin it’s nearly napalm!2
  3. Take the remaining dry ingredients and add them to a large bowl or two large bowls. You don’t want these bowls to be filled more then halfway as you will be doing a lot of mixing in these bowls. If they are too full with just the dry you will have a terrible time mixing in your liquid in the next step.3
  4. Once you have thoroughly mixed up your dry ingredients take the hot syrup peanut butter mixture and add it into your dry ingredients. While its still hot mix to coat your dry ingredients thoroughly. Make sure it’s thoroughly mixed and all ingredients have a nice sheen to them.4
  5. Dump your mix into a baking pan. This pan should be at least 2 inches deep. Be sure to press and pack this mix down tight. This will allow for tight squares to be cut from this mix.5
  6. Bake in the 375-degree oven for 20 minutes until the edges begin to brown.6
  7. Allow the mix to cool and cut into 2×2 squares. Each square will be roughly 600 calories. Packing together 4 of these squares will equal 2400 calories and be enough calories to push through a long hunting trip or life threatening disaster situation.
  8. You can even portion them in little muffin pans if you want to get fancy. I kinda like the little pucks to be honest.7

These rations are sold by some solid companies in the industry but making your own is pretty easy. As long as you have the right pans and the time these can be made and stored at your home with cheap ingredients.

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James Walton
By James Walton September 16, 2016 10:48
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  1. Aj September 16, 13:33

    Great idea – I’d like to try this. What would be the best way to store these? How long do you think they would be good?

    Reply to this comment
    • C. Davis September 16, 16:01

      You can seal them in vacuum sealed rolls, mylar bags or mason jars with oxygen absorbers. You definitely need to keep them in a cool, dark place… like a root cellar or a pantry.

      I really have no idea how long they can last, but the ingredients have a pretty long shelf life. Maple syrup, Raw Honey, Frosted Flakes, Oatmeal, Protein powder, Almonds… I think that they can still be good for up to a year, maybe two… We will see.

      Reply to this comment
      • Yo-Bob September 17, 00:01

        Can dried cherries or cranberries be substituted for raisins without changing the cal count very much ?Also can one use a almond powder instead of whole almonds ?

        Reply to this comment
      • c davis October 14, 16:35

        C. Davis ? This is my google id ! I did not write this but great info.. PS is there another C. Davis?

        Reply to this comment
  2. Mommamouse September 16, 13:47

    Really good article, thanks for posting it. Do you know how long these will store, can they be frozen?

    Reply to this comment
  3. UncleLee47 September 16, 14:03

    What is the shelf life on these? Could they be stored for a long time if vacuum packed?

    Reply to this comment
  4. bunny September 16, 14:05

    Great idea and a money saving idea for current use too…cut them up in smaller sizes for small meals and snacks…I would wrap them in foil and keep them cool

    Reply to this comment
  5. Big Funder September 16, 14:11

    How would you package these for long term storage?

    Reply to this comment
  6. Jackie September 16, 14:20

    Hi. Like the recipe. How long can they be stored and under what conditions?

    Reply to this comment
  7. TIM September 16, 14:23

    If I vacuum sealed each 600 cal square, any idea how long this mix would be edible?

    Reply to this comment
  8. Carlie Wolf September 16, 14:38

    Can you store these and how would you do that. What would their shelf like be?

    Reply to this comment
  9. alphalobo12 September 16, 14:57

    What is the shelf life unrefrigerated? I would add dry Cranberries and or Blue berries for a variety.

    Reply to this comment
  10. gwennysdad September 16, 14:59

    what is the shelf life of these

    Reply to this comment
  11. JerryDairy September 16, 15:03

    Thanx for the recipe!
    Would the best way to store these for the long term be vacuum sealed (mylar bag)?


    Reply to this comment
  12. Bob September 16, 15:07

    Appreciate this simple, yet effective recipe to make nutritious food bars. I was wondering how long you estimate it would keep to make up a batch, store in zip lock bags and, perhaps, refrigerate. Could this be used as long-term survival food?

    Reply to this comment
  13. Raven September 16, 15:39

    These sound delicious, but how long will they store? Mylar or vacuum seal?

    Reply to this comment
  14. safety jerk September 16, 16:23

    How long can it be saved and is ther a way to preserve it like dehydration or vacuum packing

    Reply to this comment
  15. Rhonda September 16, 16:52

    I also would like to know storage and shelf life. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  16. EZRDR September 16, 22:14

    I would think these would last as long as you kept them frozen if vacuum packed and then frozen. They wouldn’t freezer burn because they are vacuum packed. This would be the best way to save them long term.

    Reply to this comment
  17. starwatcher September 16, 23:48

    This looks like an interesting recipe I would like to try.

    You did not mention greasing the pan, but I would think this recipe would require it. Also, would paper baking cups work in the muffin tins or would this mixture stick to the paper? and how long would you cook it in muffin tins?

    Reply to this comment
    • Rebecca May 25, 15:37

      From my own baking experience, I’m pretty sure these would stick quite badly to muffin papers. The recipe is similar to homemade granola. I’d use a piece of parchment paper or silicone muffin wrappers. Crumple the parchment up then smooth it out and shape into cups to help it fit into the muffin pan wells. Or grease the pan well. Even a non-stick pan would likely stick with these guys. If you want them to last the longest, I’d try substitutions using no maple syrup. That’s the only ingredient that is typically refrigerated. I’d have maple syrup go moldly when one of my kids opened a brand new bottle to sneak a spoonful then put it back on the counter. I’d guess that more honey mixed with some water to thin it a bit would work.

      Reply to this comment
      • Miss Kitty July 5, 20:34

        I would suggest substituting corn syrup or molasses for the maple syrup. If you water down the honey the added moisture will eventually boil out and it’ll mess up the syrup’s consistency and quantity.

        Reply to this comment
  18. Stephanie September 16, 23:55

    How many serving does this recipe make? Want to make sure I am getting the 600 cals in each bar. Do you use a 9 x 13 baking pan?

    Reply to this comment
  19. njb September 17, 03:59

    Good Grade B maple syrup is not cheap!
    Also you might want to use an organic corn flake as most of the corn in the U S is GMO.

    Reply to this comment
    • Grannie_4_7 September 21, 19:05

      Good point. I hadn’t thought of that yet.

      Reply to this comment
    • Hizaleus December 2, 12:22

      Contrary to fear mongering, GMOs are absolutely NOT harmful to consume (unless you are a caterpillar and the GMO is caterpillar resistant.) All the genes transferred come from nature and the products of those genes are found in nature — even used in “organic” gardening.

      The idea of unintended consequences is quite absurd to anyone who knows how genetic modification works. Also they do not spend huge amounts of money propagating clones from the gene transfer process without assuring that the cell line does exactly what it is supposed to.

      Reply to this comment
      • BR is SC December 2, 23:35

        You may not have researched fully the effects of GMO food. Eating GMO anything and feeding it to pets and livestock is foolhardy at best.

        Reply to this comment
      • Miss Kitty July 5, 20:45

        Then how do you explain the explosion of food related allergies we’ve seen in the last. 20 years? When I was a schoolkid I didn’t know ONE person personally with a peanut allergy, or gluten intolerance. Nor when I was in my 20s or my 30s. Started hearing more about it about 10 years ago and then it seemed every other person you met was allergic to some food. If it’s not gmo foods then what IS the cause? And don’t say better diagnoses, please. Dead or hospitalized is a pretty good indicator of a negative reaction.

        Reply to this comment
        • TheMatrix October 4, 23:34

          Allergies are an inflammatory reaction to protein substances. The mechanism and treatment are not well understood even by those in internal medicine and allergists. Possible causes are the increase in immunizations (which cause inflammation), increase of sugar and HFCS in diet along with introduction of GMO grains, use of glyphosate (Roundup) which Monsanto, now Bayer says is safe enough that you can eat the crop after 24 hours–you believe that? These are all inflammatory products. The best you can do is attempt to reduce exposure to inflammatory substances.

          Reply to this comment
      • PureAndSimple January 15, 05:27

        A note from a Monsanto employee, no doubt.

        Reply to this comment
      • CvB June 13, 18:46

        People are not like everything else produced in the Industrial Age. I know sounds foolish to even say…, but! We have been so conditioned to immediate satisfaction that we seem to forget that even though we all have similarities, we are all different genetically. Depending on your heritage, and where you grow. Our bodies adjust based on what we put into them and where it and we came from. Lol, we are all experiments to some degree. Now we have scientist genetically modifying food so Manufacturers can feed more people for less. But our government will pay farmers to NOT grow crops. Perhaps the real issue is people are separating themselves from nature for the sake of convenience. And nature is killing them.

        Reply to this comment
  20. dmb September 19, 00:51

    How about a substitute for the peanut butter for those with allergies. Any suggestions

    Reply to this comment
  21. Thunderwolf September 19, 13:40

    What can be subbed for peanut butter for those with a peanut allergy

    Reply to this comment
  22. Rowdy September 19, 14:33

    Followed recipe for 1st natch, Great bars. For 2nd batch I reversed proportions of Honey & Sryup, & used corn flkes instead of frosted flakes. Even better than 1st batch. Will defiantly make more.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Grannie_4_7 September 21, 19:01

    How long do these last “on the shelf”? And would vacuum packing them make them last longer? Hunting season starts this weekend and my guys would enjoy these.

    Reply to this comment
  24. TSgt B September 22, 01:36

    How would chocolate chips do in this mixture? Could you use other nut-type chips (i.e. – peanut butter chips)? What about sunflower seeds?

    Reply to this comment
  25. Alaskan October 1, 16:07

    In addition to honey, etc., I think true sea salt in the recipe would be another good ingredient to help preserve the conglomerate, and actually enhance the overall taste. However I have no clue as to what amount to use which would require some experimentation, lol. Yummm….

    Reply to this comment
  26. Texian October 7, 16:03

    “A word of caution, it’s considered unsafe to vacuum-seal brown sugar because it can develop bacteria growth. (Source for the following quote: “Granola, nuts, brown sugar, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables (unless they are dry enough to snap inside and out) should not be stored in reduced oxygen packaging (such as #10 cans or pouches with an oxygen absorber).”

    Reply to this comment
    • Texian October 7, 16:08

      Unsafe because brown sugar has molasses in it which grows the bacteria…..same for oils, maple syrup, and peanut butter, etc……the oils in them spoil after time after they are opened so foods made with them will do the same (not talking about freezing). So no dry canning or vacuum sealing….

      Reply to this comment
    • HIzaleus December 2, 12:29

      The baking process may be sufficient to destroy even botulism spores — something to consider. checking out

      Also honey can contain botulism spores. That is why you should not give honey to babies — their intestinal systems will allow the spores to germinate and produce botulism toxin.

      Reply to this comment
  27. Jt October 26, 01:02

    Can you answer the questions above?????????

    Reply to this comment
  28. left coast chuck November 21, 17:11

    This is copied directly from U.S. Sugar’s web site:
    “There is nothing in sugar that “goes bad” in a traditional sense. Brown sugar will harden over time, but is still edible if softened. The shelf life of powdered and granulated sugar is indeffinite. Most retail chains require a 2-year best by date to be printed onto the bags, but the product will be safe to eat even after that date.”

    Further, U.S. Sugar in another answer recommends storing brown sugar in the refrigerator or freezer but merely to retain the water content that keeps it soft. What makes brown sugar hard is loss of moisture.

    Reply to this comment
  29. left coast chuck November 21, 17:32

    And from “Whether opened or unopened, molasses lasts well for at least a few years with no diminution of smell or taste; some taste tests show that it is still good after 10 years, according to EatByDate. It is safe to use molasses after the “best before” date has passed. Molasses should be stored in a cool, dark place and need only be discarded if it appears moldy or has had a noticeable change in its appearance or aroma.

    I had some lifeboat bars which are 1800, 2400 or 3600 calorie bars designed to be stored in life boats for those really bitchy times when you are stuck in a life boat far at sea with no land in sight. I stored them either in the trunk of my car or in the back of my SUV for perhaps as much as double their indicated life. Being the devil-may-care short of risk taker I am, I decided to risk sampling one of the bars in order to determine several things: 1, how they tasted way past the use by date, 2, what adverse effects I might experience eating some bars that were long past the use by date.

    That was a couple of years ago. I’m still here to write this, so they weren’t fatal and if I experienced any gastrointestinal problems they were so minimal they passed unnoticed. The bars tasted just about how I imagined they would taste fresh from the factory. Lemony-vanilla taste, slightly sweet, slightly greasy but much better than I imagine a boney flying fish would taste.

    Now, I will admit that the bars were wrapped in approximately 3 inches of newspaper on all sides and sealed with plastic shipping tape. I do that with all food items I carry in my vehicle. It acts as insulation. Ask any bum (I know that is not p.c., but to me, someone who doesn’t want to get off drugs & alcohol and prefers to not work and live on the street qualifies for bum) how he keeps warm in the winter and he will tell you he puts newspaper inside his clothing among other methods.

    Something further you can do is store your survival food in styrofoam ice chests. I keep water in my SUV in a styrofoam ice chest. I am always surprised when I open my vehicle and the blast of hot air almost knocks me off my feet, but the water in the styrofoam ice chest is still cool. Based on that, I am in the process of moving my emergency food from 5-gallon buckets to styrofoam ice chests. If you buy fresh mail order food, it usually comes in smaller styrofoam ice chests. They are the perfect medium for vehicle storage.

    Reply to this comment
  30. Methane November 21, 18:44

    I have tried making these in a pan. They have a tendency to stick together once i cut them up and place in ziplock bags. An easier way to store and use them is to spoon the mixture into mini cupcake foil papers. Just the right size to get your caloric intake. These are much better than Pemmican or Jerky. The hard part is limiting the amount you eat cause they taste so good!

    Reply to this comment
  31. ANGELA January 13, 11:25


    Reply to this comment
  32. Lucy February 8, 17:38

    Hurray! This is really exciting, because now I can make my own emergency bars! Unless there’s some reason anyone knows that I shouldn’t use walnuts or pecans instead of almonds?

    Most store-bought bars have allergy-inducing soy of some sort in them, so now I can used olive oil or canola, right?

    Reply to this comment
  33. dweiss April 9, 02:42

    costco sells powdered peanut butter. don’t know of any other source. haven’t looked. one less oil to go rancid if stored long-term.

    Reply to this comment
    • Stumpy1 January 20, 10:12

      Have seen Powdered Peanut Butter at Big Lots, Target, Walmart and at other grocery stores.

      Reply to this comment
    • Vickie June 15, 16:12

      This looks like a great recipe! I have food sensitivities especially to grains and white sugar maple syrup, peanut butter. Can I use honey only instead of maple syrup, use organic almond butter instead of peanut butter . Anyways I would have to revise this recipe so it doesn’t include corn , white sugar , grain , no hard nuts. A great beginning recipe for me

      Reply to this comment
  34. yankee August 3, 21:40

    maybe i missed it long can these be stored ? room temp/ refrig what ?

    Reply to this comment
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  36. The Oncoming Storm April 23, 21:42

    i look at this and all i can think is: SUGAR, SUGAR, SUGAR! the syrup alone contains 480 g. the honey adds an extra 28 g and the frosted flakes an additional 15. that’s 532 g of sugar! for a 2,000 cal diet, the american heart association strongly recommends that you eat no more than 38 g per day for men or 25 g per day for women. so even for a man, you eat 4 of these bars each day, you’re eating 2 weeks worth of sugar per day and putting 2 weeks worth of chemical stress on your system each day. the body cannot live on that much sugar and maintain a healthy status. but you people do what you want; it is america after all.

    Reply to this comment
  37. Diane May 26, 15:01

    I would not put any GMO into my bars as food is made ready for GMO’s by injecting a form of samonella to make the plant except GMO.s. I will not put this in my body.

    Reply to this comment
    • Passing Through December 18, 03:37

      So make them using non-GMO ingredients. Not that difficult to turn a negative into a positive unless you just want to be negative.

      Reply to this comment
    • Carolynn June 10, 17:46

      Sugar in some form is energy for the body, but if you really have to have it in anything, try using stevia first, then honey or maple syrup or fruit bits. Be real miserly with the honey and maple syrup!

      Reply to this comment
  38. Stumpy May 27, 20:15

    That would be great to have food stamps or whatever it is called now be redeemable for a quarter to half of the face value of the stamps.

    Reply to this comment
  39. Miss Kitty July 5, 20:54

    I would suggest storing the ingredients separately and making these up as you need them for otg food. Just makes more sense to me as the individual components would last longer than the finished product.

    Reply to this comment
  40. DeeDee July 7, 22:17

    can these be put in a freeze dryer and then in mylar bags for very long term storage?

    Reply to this comment
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  42. Rj June 11, 22:42

    I got a recipe for energy bars off line a couple years ago. The first batch I made I tweaked the recipe a little. Every batch thereafter I tweaked until each batch was 12,000 calories or 750 calories per 2×4″ bars. I liked sorghum molasses, so I added it to the recipe and to make things a little healthier, I added chia and flax seed meal. To counteract the healthy part I added dark chocolate chips. If I added more dry ingredients, I put more water or whatever I was using for liquid at the time. I tweak every recipe I cook. Why not?

    Reply to this comment
  43. Stugots July 1, 18:55

    Add the missing ingrdient, Chia Seeds.

    Reply to this comment
  44. AnotherOldHippie November 28, 09:09

    Would using clarified butter instead of olive oil improve the shelf-life? Rancid oil tastes SO nasty.

    Reply to this comment
  45. cybergreen September 8, 21:38

    I’m curious how you calculated your calories for this recipe. When I looked up all the individual ingredients and then combined them, I only came up with a total of ~4,920 calories for the entire recipe, which if cut into 12 2×2 bars, only yields about ~410 calories per bar, so you would need 6 bars to get the 2,400 calories goal, not the 4 this recipe suggests (which assumed 600 cal per 2×2 square).

    Olive oil = 350 cal
    Maple syrup = 1,640 cal
    Honey = 250 cal
    PB = 190 cal
    F Flakes = 148 cal
    Oatmeal = 920 cal
    Protein pwdr = 100 cal
    Almonds = 828 cal
    Raisins = 494 cal

    Wondering if I missed something, or if you had different base calculations for calories?


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