A Guide to MREs: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying Them.

Have you ever wondered what military personnel or survivalists eat in the field or during emergencies? Must be something nutritious that does not require cooking or refrigeration, right? Well, *drumroll* – it’s MREs! MRE stands for ‘Meal, Ready-to-Eat’ and is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging. They are convenient, durable, and long-lasting. But before you rush to your nearest surplus store to purchase them, here is everything you need to know about mre.

  1. What are MREs?

MREs are meals in flexible, laminated, multilayered pouches with an oxygen absorber and desiccant inside them. They have a shelf-life of approximately five years, depending on their storage conditions. An mre usually consists of a main entree, a side dish, snacks, crackers, bread or tortillas, spreads, dessert, snacks, and a beverage powder. They can be eaten cold or warmed up with the included flameless ration heater (FRH), which uses a chemical reaction to heat the meal. MREs are highly portable, easy-to-carry, and do not require cooking.

MREs, or meals, ready-to-eat, are individual rations that were developed by the military to provide a compact, complete meal designed for soldiers’ consumption. They are made of pre-cooked ingredients and are packaged in flexible pouches. The pouches can withstand extreme environmental conditions and are designed to provide a complete meal without the need for additional preparation.

  1. Why are MREs useful?

MREs are designed to provide essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to individuals in emergency situations or for those in fields where cooking facilities or refrigeration is unavailable. They have premeasured amounts of calories, protein, and carbohydrates to sustain the body’s energy requirements. MREs save a considerable amount of time and reduce the effort required for people who need to move around frequently or are on the go. They also do not require any cookware, making them ideal for outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

  1. How to buy MREs?

MREs are widely available in most surplus stores that sell military equipment. Several online retailers sell MREs as well, and they can be shipped right to your doorstep. But be cautious when buying MREs online as they should be stored under specific conditions. They should not be exposed to high temperatures, moisture, and sunlight, which can damage the MREs and reduce their shelf life. Always check the manufacturing and expiration dates on the packaging to ensure that the MREs are safe to consume.

  1. Are MREs sustainable for long-term use?

MREs are an excellent choice for short-term survival situations, like natural disasters or emergencies, but they are not sustainable for long periods. They are high in calories, sodium, and preservatives, which can affect the digestive system when consumed consistently over an extended period. MREs do not provide proper fiber or long-term nutritional needs to sustain health. It is recommended to store a mix of MREs, canned goods, and dried foods for long-term preparedness.

  1. What are the downsides of MREs?

While MREs are quick, easy, and nutritious, they do have some downsides, which are worth considering. Firstly, MREs are relatively expensive, with the average cost of a single meal ranging from $8 to $10. It can be an expensive way to feed yourself or a family for an extended period. Secondly, MREs can be cumbersome to carry and transport, and they take up much more space than other foods. Lastly, the taste can be bland or unappetizing for some people, and they lack variety and personalization in meal choices

When it comes to survival situations, some people opt for MREs or meals, ready-to-eat. They are the perfect solution for those emergency situations since they don’t require refrigeration and can withstand extreme heat or cold. Although they were originally designed for the military, MREs are currently being used by campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know before buying MREs. We will discuss the basics of MREs, their nutritional content, and the factors to keep in mind when purchasing them.

Nutritional Content

MREs are designed to be high in calories, protein, and carbohydrates since soldiers in the military require dense nutritional content to maintain their energy levels while in combat. However, not all MREs are built equal. Different MREs may have different nutritional values based on ingredients used in their preparation.

It’s important that you read the nutritional information about the MRE you are purchasing since they are not all created equal. They may vary in calorie count, protein grams, fat content, and vitamins.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing MREs

Before purchasing MREs, here are some factors that you must consider.

Shelf Life: MREs have a shelf life of up to 10 years, but factors such as high temperatures can reduce this time. Make sure to check the expiry date of the MRE you are buying since they may have expired.

Price: Prices may vary based on the brand and the contents of the MREs. Some brands may be more expensive than others, so make sure you’re buying MREs that fit your price range.

Variety: Some brands offer a range of flavors and menus for their MREs, while others may offer limited choices. Check the flavors and varieties available before purchasing.

Ease of Use: MREs are designed to be eaten without cooking or preparation. Ensure that the MREs you are purchasing don’t require water since water may not be always available during a survival situation.


In conclusion, MREs are an ideal food choice for short-term emergencies, outdoor activities, and when cooking facilities are unavailable. They are convenient, easy-to-carry, and provide essential nutrients to sustain energy needs. However, it’s crucial to understand the downsides of MREs, including their expense, bulk, and taste. For long-term preparedness, it’s best to incorporate MREs with canned goods or dried foods to ensure adequate nutrition and variety in meal choices. Remember to purchase MREs from reputable sources and store them under specific conditions for maximum shelf-life. Stay prepared, stay safe!

In conclusion, MREs are important for those preparing for outdoor activities or emergency situations. They are versatile and easy to use since they don’t require cooking or preparation. When purchasing MREs, it’s important to consider factors like nutritional content, price, shelf life, variety, and ease of use. Always read the label of the MREs you are buying and make sure your requirements fit their contents. Remember, MREs should only be used as a last resort and not as a primary food source. Always carry extra water and other food supplies in case of emergency.

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