Here's What Survivor Contestants Actually Eat On The Show


  • Survivor
    contestants receive limited food provisions, mainly rice and beans, which they must ration carefully.
  • Contestants often forage and fish for additional food, and occasionally win reward challenges with lavish meals.
  • Contestants are under strict rules, including constant surveillance, no personal hygiene products, and isolation from external influences.

‘Survivor’ is renowned for pushing contestants to their physical and mental limits in remote, often very harsh environments. Beyond competing in various challenges, they also face the pressing need to find food to sustain themselves throughout their time on the show.

Sometimes, contestants get so desperate they’ll eat just about anything, which can lead to problems, like what happened to Jerry Sims in ‘Survivor: Tocantins’ (season 18). So, what do contestants actually eat on Survivor?

This article will dive into what ‘Survivor’ contestants actually eat, explaining the food rules they have to follow and the overall rules they must adhere to on the show.

What ‘Survivor’ Contestants Actually Eat On The Show

At the beginning of each ‘Survivor’ season, contestants receive a limited supply of essential food provisions, typically rice and beans, which serve as the mainstay of their diet. This bag of rice and beans is meant to sustain them for the entire 39 days and is shared among all tribes.

Survivor Philippines cast photo
Via: CBS

According to Men’s Health, the food is rationed into small portions, about 1 cup per person per day, and contestants are instructed not to consume more than one portion per meal. No wonder they end up losing a lot of weight, especially those who stay on the show for an extended period. Some contestants even embrace this extreme weight loss, like Rupert Boneham, who competed in Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and had the biggest loser experience on the show, dropping from 270 lbs. to 225 lbs. He expressed:

Seeing my belly hang over that dress in Pearl Islands is a good motivator not to get that belly back.

On Survivor, food is considered a precious commodity, and contestants are given just enough to enhance the survival experience. They just must carefully ration their supplies to avoid hunger and starvation.

To make it in the wild, contestants must give it their all, most times turning to foraging and fishing to supplement their meager diet. They’ve been filmed munching on coconuts, fruits, fish, crabs, and other edible plants found around the camp. Some even get creative, whipping up coconut dishes instead of just sipping the juice.


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But hunting for food is no easy feat. Sometimes, the energy spent searching for a meal is better used to win crucial challenges, forcing contestants to set their hunger aside in pursuit of the grand prize.

Sometimes, when contestants win challenges, they’re treated to a lavish meal—a rare luxury on the island. These reward feasts can include mouth-watering dishes like pizza, burgers, chocolate cake, and fried chicken. Such treats become powerful motivators, driving contestants to push even harder for a taste of these rare indulgences.

What Are The Rules Survivor Contestants Must Follow?

On ‘Survivor,’ there are some basic rules every contestant must stick to. These rules keep things running smoothly and make sure there’s order on the show. However, according to People, before the show begins, contestants get to sign comprehensive confidentiality agreements which prevent them from disclosing any details about the production, such as outcomes, twists, or other behind-the-scenes information. Breaching this agreement can result in serious legal consequences.

Survivor Blood vs. Water cast photo
Via: CBS

‘Survivor’ contestants are under constant surveillance, agreeing to be filmed at all times. They are aware of the presence of cameras and microphones, ensuring that there are no private conversations or hidden actions. Even when attempting to be discreet, such as searching for an idol, contestants cannot prevent the production crew from recording them; every action is potentially documented and may be broadcasted.

Survivor has had 46 seasons so far.

For starters, contestants on ‘Survivor’ can’t use personal hygiene products in camp. Items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and other essentials are off-limits. They have to get by with the limited basic resources provided by the show, which usually include basic food rations, water supplies, and feminine products like tampons and pads. To make up for the lack of supplies, contestants rely on their survival skills and other techniques to supplement what they have. This is why they wind up looking like a hot mess.


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Before and during the game, contestants go through thorough medical check-ups. These check-ups make sure they’re physically and mentally ready to handle the tough conditions of the show. If a contestant isn’t fit at any point, they might be taken out of the game for their safety.

On Survivor, strategic gameplay is paramount. Contestants are not only encouraged but expected to forge alliances, devise intricate strategies, and outmaneuver their rivals. These alliances also serve a dual purpose, aiding contestants in mastering essential survival skills at camp. With only basic tools like machetes and pots at their disposal, they must rely on creativity and teamwork to thrive. However, while at it, contestants must stay within the rules set by the producers of the show.

Another cardinal rule of Survivor is complete isolation for contestants throughout their time in camp. This means no access to phones, the internet, or letters from home, ensuring they are fully immersed in the experience without external influences affecting the game’s dynamics.

Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers cast photo
Via: CBS

On camp, contestants must adhere to strict rules regarding food consumption. They receive a daily ration of about a cup of either rice or beans and are not permitted to consume both in one sitting. Additionally, any food earned as a reward must be consumed on-site within a specified time frame and cannot be taken back to camp.


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Contestants on ‘Survivor’ are required to use the natural surroundings as restrooms, since there are no facilities provided in the camp. They must also strictly adhere to the environmental rules of the country where the show is filmed during this process.

Contestants are strictly prohibited from communicating or forming alliances with the production crew. Any attempt to do so results in penalties or sanctions. Similarly, the production crew is forbidden from assisting contestants with supplies or interacting in a way that could influence the game. Both contestants and crew members are expected to maintain a strict separation to uphold the integrity and fairness of the competition.

Contestants on Survivor face strict rules regarding theft while on camp. Stealing from other contestants is strictly prohibited, and anyone caught doing so risks disqualification from the show. However, contestants are allowed to search through each other’s belongings without consequences, as demonstrated when Jeanine Zheng searched through Mike Gabler’s bag to check for an immunity idol during season 43.

When contestants are voted out of the show, they are not immediately allowed to return home. Instead, they are housed in a private resort called ‘Ponderosa,’ where the entire production crew, including psychologists and other staff, reside. At ‘Ponderosa,’ eliminated participants receive treatment opposite to their experience during active gameplay, with access to unlimited food, books, movies, and recreational activities to keep them occupied and relaxed. They stay at ‘Ponderosa’ because some of them get to form the jury at the final tribal council, where they decide which player will be crowned Sole Survivor.

‘Survivor’ contestants go through a lot on the show. The grilling, hectic tasks, and limited food which enhance the excitement of the show can also be physically and mentally draining. These factors, along with the transition back to normal life, pose additional challenges. Despite this, the majority of contestants speak positively about their experience, though there are a few who have voiced negative opinions.