Lysosomes are ubiquitous acidified organelles that degrade intracellular and extracellular material trafficked via multiple pathways. Lysosomes also sense cellular nutrient levels to regulate target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase, a signaling enzyme that drives growth and suppresses activity of the MiT/TFE family of transcription factors that control biogenesis of lysosomes. In this study, we subjected worms lacking basic helix–loop–helix transcription factor 30 (hlh-30), the Caenorhabditis elegans MiT/TFE ortholog, to starvation followed by refeeding to understand how this pathway regulates survival with variable nutrient supply. Loss of HLH-30 markedly impaired survival in starved larval worms and recovery upon refeeding bacteria. Remarkably, provision of simple nutrients in a completely defined medium (C. elegans maintenance medium [CeMM]), specifically glucose and linoleic acid, restored lysosomal acidification, TOR activation, and survival with refeeding despite the absence of HLH- 30. Worms deficient in lysosomal lipase 2 (lipl-2), a lysosomal enzyme that is transcriptionally up-regulated in starvation in an HLH-30–dependent manner, also demonstrated increased mortality with starvation–refeeding that was partially rescued with glucose, suggesting a critical role for LIPL-2 in lipid metabolism under starvation. CeMM induced transcription of vacuolar proton pump subunits in hlh-30 mutant worms, and knockdown of vacuolar H+-ATPase 12 (vha-12) and its upstream regulator, nuclear hormone receptor 31 (nhr-31), abolished the rescue with CeMM. Loss of Ras-related GTP binding protein C homolog 1 RAGC-1, the ortholog for mammalian RagC/D GTPases, conferred starvation– refeeding lethality, and RAGC-1 overexpression was sufficient to rescue starved hlh-30 mutant worms, demonstrating a critical need for TOR activation with refeeding. These results show that HLH-30 activation is critical for sustaining survival during starvation– refeeding stress via regulating TOR. Glucose and linoleic acid bypass the requirement for HLH-30 in coupling lysosome nutrient sensing to survival.