Best Canned Meat For Survival – Protein and Calories

Best Canned Meats

Why am I writing about this? Because canned meat is one of several excellent shelf stable foods for preparedness. Good protein and better nutritional calories than processed junk foods.

Our bodies absolutely NEED protein. It can come from a variety of foods. Some have more protein than others. Some, much more. As in meat. This post is about canned meat.

Yes, canned meat has lots of protein. You might be wondering about the best canned meat to store on your shelves. First though, let’s have a quick look at daily protein recommendations / requirements…

(jump to list)
best choices listed at bottom

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) for daily intake of protein. It varies on age, gender, weight, height, and daily exercise.

However as a guideline, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that 10–35% of your daily calories come from protein. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends similarly, though with a bit higher minimum and a bit lower maximum. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a lower limit of protein intake similar to the ADA.

With that said, a generalization for middle aged average males may be ~ 60 grams protein requirement per day. A middle aged woman may require ~ 45 grams per day.

Protein Sources

Consuming a variety of complete proteins is recommended. A complete protein is a protein that contains a good amount of each of the nine essential amino acids required in the human diet.

Generally speaking, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are complete protein sources.

Meat/Dairy examples

  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Milk
  • Lean beef
  • Tuna
  • Turkey breast
  • Fish
  • Shrimp

Vegan/plant-based examples for protein intake

  • Buckwheat
  • Hummus and pita
  • Soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame beans)
  • Peanut butter on toast or some other bread
  • Beans and rice
  • Quinoa
  • Hemp and chia seeds
  • Spirulina

What Are The Best Canned Meats?

Okay enough already… what canned meats are good choices to have?

 Home-canned meat is always a good option. You might pressure-can some of your own meat. And/or simply buy some canned meat at the grocery store.

[ Read: Pressure Canning Chicken – How to Do it Yourself ]


I recommend that you diversify your choices while acquiring a variety of canned meats.

Note: During a grid-down situation more than 24-48 hours, whatever meat that you have in your freezer will thaw. Then what? (Canned meat won’t spoil when the power goes out.)

Is there a “best canned meat”?

Well there are a number of popular brands offering a variety of beef, chicken, pork, tuna, and more…

The products below are examples of most-reviewed and highest rated choices.

I keep a variety of ALL of them. We rotate through them over a period of time, and simply replace as we consume.

A generally accepted shelf life of canned meats is about 2 years. With that said, it’s not going to “go bad”. Instead the nutritional value will diminish over time, as well as texture and taste.

[ Read: “Use by” “Best by” “Sell by” Dates ]

(no particular order)


I wrote an article on canned SPAM awhile ago. Yes, it’s meat! You can read it here.

In short, SPAM is made of Pork with Ham.

There are 42 grams of protein in a typical 12 oz can:
>> SPAM Classic
(view on amzn)

Some might consider SPAM the best canned meat! Ask someone from the Hawaiian Islands and they will likely agree. Residents there have the highest per capita consumption of SPAM in the United States!

Canned Beef

The most popular canned meat in the ‘Beef’ department appears to be from Keystone – their ground beef and their regular beef.

154 grams of protein in this 28 oz can:
>> Keystone Meats All Natural Ground Beef
(view on amzn)

88 grams of protein in this 14.5 oz can:
>> Keystone Natural Canned Beef
(view on amzn)

Canned Chicken

Diversify your canned meat storage. You might add some chicken. We do. (We have everything listed here). Here’s some of what I have on the shelves (along with my own home-canned chicken). Great for over rice, cooked, plain, whatever… Good all-around choice.

Each 12.5 oz can has 45 grams of protein:
>> Kirkland Signature Chunk Chicken Breast
(view on amzn)

Canned Tuna

Get those Omega-3 fats! Tuna is another good diversified choice for canned meat. Mrs.J likes the solid-white in water as a best taste choice.

Each 5 oz can has 26 grams of protein:
>> StarKist Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water
(view on amzn)

Canned Pork

Fully cooked, ready-to-eat, who doesn’t like pork? Again, Keystone came up on top for popularity on amzn. Sure you can get it any grocery store among many brands. I’m just using this one to pull the data…

Their 14.5 oz can has 96 grams of protein!
>> Keystone All Natural Canned Pork
(view on amzn)

Best Canned Meat – Final Answer:

Pork & Beef

From a protein and calories perspective as it relates to survival, Pork comes out on top, with Beef a close second. (see data below)


A special note about Spam… It’s #1 when you multiply protein x calories. However it is very highly weighted in calories and on the low side in protein comparatively. That’s why I don’t have it on top. Though I do keep plenty as part of my own diversified storage.


Tuna ends up the middle. Though it’s low in calories, it does have a fairly high protein content per ounce. And good Omega 3 fats. You shouldn’t eat more than a meal (or two max) per week according to what I’ve read about the potential of mercury content.


You may be surprised that canned chicken is further down the list, comparatively. It’s lowest in calories among what I’ve listed above. It’s protein content is a little more than half of beef. However, it’s likely a healthier choice for regular consumption. Though from a survival standpoint, you would need to eat more of it.

Really, the answer is all of the above. Canned meat is an excellent choice for shelf stable foods for preparedness. You don’t want to be living on all carbs. Don’t overlook the protein.

Canned Meat | Grams & Calories per Ounce

Canned Meat Grams /oz Calories /oz Grams x Cals
Pork 6.6 39 256
Beef 6.1 39 234
Ground Beef 5.5 35 193
Tuna 5.2 22 114
Chicken 3.6 17 60
SPAM 3.5 90 315

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