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Five Calorie Dense Crops You Can Grow for Survival

Gardening is a classic pastime for preppers. For some, it’s a fun way to care for a living thing and see your efforts literally blossom before you. It’s a great survival skill, too. If you can grow your own food, you’ll never starve.

But what are the best foods to grow for survival? The real answer will depend on everything from your local region, temperatures, and availability. But one important aspect is the calories.

Calories are how we measure “people fuel,” so to speak. We as humans burn energy through literally everything we do. The energy used is generated by the food we eat. In order to maintain a healthy living, people have to moderate their calorie intake and usage.

When surviving on your own, it’s important you get enough calories to sustain yourself. It’s surprisingly easy to not get enough calories from your food when you have to conserve rations. To help make this idea easier, here is a list of the 5 crops with the highest calorie counts, organized by Survival Sullivan.


Calories per pound: 1657

This larger crop can grow all over America, especially in the more central states. It also has a healthy mix of nutrients to it. It also is delicious. The inconvenient aspect, however, is their size. A full corn crop grows tall and needs plenty of water to stay moist. One crop will yield a single cob, maybe 2 if you’re lucky. So if space is of concern, this might not be the best idea.


Calories per pound: 1651

Fibrous and protein-rich, Chickpeas make for fantastic survival food. They can be added to broths and soups, casseroles, or eaten on their own if desperate enough. They have a fantastic yield and can store for over a year if dried correctly. The catch here is their long cultivation time, sometimes taking up to 3 months. If you time the season right and can have patience, this is a worthwhile investment.

Kidney/ Lima beans

Calories per pound: 1520

Of course a bean would make it to the list. These tiny boys are chock full of nutrients and calories. Growing them doesn’t take much more than your average plant. Do not add nitrogen fertilizers to the soil. This will result in leafy plants with no beans. Each plant will yield up to 30 beans, which isn’t enough for one person. It’s recommended to have 7 plants to feed a single person.

Cherry Tomatoes

Calories per pound: 454

Tomatoes are a casual gardener’s favorite. They grow easily, they grow large, and they give fruit. Of all the tomatoes, there are no more calorie-dense than cherry tomatoes. A single plant can yield as many as 100 individual cherry tomatoes. The convenience is the price to pay since it has noticeably fewer calories per pound than the other options. For an in-depth guide on planting, growing, harvesting, and seeding tomatoes, check out our dedicated post about it.

Sweet Potatoes

Calories per pound: 390

Sweet potatoes, and potatoes in general, fall under the same category as the tomatoes do. They don’t have the massive calorie counts that the others have, but they are easy to grow in large numbers. Getting a large barrel and plenty of dirt, you can grow more potatoes than you’d ever need using this clever prepping trick.

Stay nourished, preppers!

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