In a time when obesity is a quiet epidemic in America, it may seem like calories are our collective enemy. And as we exercise and make low calorie choices to keep our waistlines from expanding, we tend to ignore what calories really are: They’re the energy source that keeps us alive.

More plainly stated, calories equal survival. At no time of year is this fact more clear than in the winter. In this season of ice, the cold air can steal the heat from our bodies very quickly. The most important way we can replace that heat is by burning calories for warmth.

Say you find yourself getting cold and staying cold, and you’re wearing appropriate outer wear and clothing. This chill tells you that you need to eat more calories. Wolfing down a King sized Reese’s pack may not seem like a survival move, but it’s just like throwing another log on the fire. It’s giving you the fuel you need to produce heat. Fatty foods are the best treasure trove of life sustaining calories, and we should embrace these fuel-dense foods as we prepare for winter emergencies. Here are four fatty foods with survival-friendly properties.

1. Survival Rations
Heavy, dry, gritty and hard: survival food bars and cubes aren’t exactly haute cuisine. But to a person who is struggling out in the cold, these flavored blocks carbs and fat are exactly what you need. Items like Millennium Bars and SOS Rations have 400 fat-laden calories per serving, and they boast a 5 year shelf life. This makes them a great emergency food supply for your office or car, since they’re not tasty enough to lure you into idly snacking upon them.

2. Peanut Butter
If it wasn’t for the short life span, I’d say peanut butter would be my perfect survival food. It’s packed with calories from fat, and it carries some protein and carbs along for the ride. You can eat it right out of the jar, with a spoon, your fingers or a chip of bark. And unless you’re one of those unfortunate people who are allergic to peanuts, it’s loved by the majority of men, women, children and pets. A couple jars of this caramel colored concoction are right on target for your winter bug-out bag.

3. Meat in a Can
This is a loose category of loose-meat products which could be anything from beef, pork, chicken or fish…to cardboard, cornmeal and old boots, carefully ground up and spiced to be pleasing to the palate. No, this crap in a can isn’t healthy for you. It’s loaded with sodium, and God only knows what else. But it’s also tasty, high in calories, long lasting, rodent-proof, and ready to eat. Just figure out the calories per ounce from a few contenders and the highest one should be your champion. SPAM, sardines in oil, potted meat, deviled ham—you pick. Any way you slice it, you’re in survival nirvana.

4. Candy Bars
Remember the Reese’s Cups that I made you hungry for earlier? Well, now it’s time to stock up the cabinet. Fat-packed candy bars are ready-to-eat, calorie dense, scrumptious and hardcore comfort food. Which would you rather eat in a crisis – your favorite candy bar or a survival food cube that looks (and tastes) like a pressed block of saw dust and lard? And if you might not make it through your calamity, do you want the last taste in your mouth to be delicious, or disgusting? I rest my case.

What does your winter emergency food stash look like? Please tell us your favorite in the comments.