What's in an MRE?
The MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) is a totally self-contained complete meal. One MRE equals one meal. The packaging of an MRE is designed to withstand rough conditions and exposure to the elements. Inside each MRE bag is an entree and a variety of other food and drink items. MREs come packaged in cases with 12 MREs per case.
MREs are the main operational food ration for the United States Armed Forces. You can check out the MRE History page for more a more in-depth history of how MREs came to be but the short version is that the c-rations and k-rations from World War II developed into the MCI (Meal, Combat, Individual) rations used in Korea and Vietnam. Then in 1980, the MRE was developed and became the primary ration for the US.
Each MRE contains the following:
Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates) and 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. A full day's worth of meals would consist of three MREs.
How do you eat an MRE?
True to its name, the MRE is “ready to eat” and everything can be consumed without cooking or heating (but the beverages are much better when water is added to the drink mixes). While the entrees and sides are fine to eat cold, they usually taste much better when heated up with the included Flameless Ration Heater or by boiling in water.
How long do MREs last?
Officially, MREs are designed to have a shelf life of three years when stored at 80 degree F. These times can be lengthened or shortened depending on their storage temperatures. Higher temperatures = shorter MRE lifespans. I've tried many MREs that were 10 or 15 years old and with the exception of a few parts that had darkened in color over time, they still tasted fine.
Each MRE contains:
entree, side dish, bread, spread, dessert, cold drink mix, instant coffee, spoon, condiments, napkin, moist towelette, and flameless ration heater
MRE menu: 24 kinds
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12-Pack U.S. Military Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) Emergency Reserve Food
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