What are MREs?

Military food, often referred to as rations, is essential for soldiers in the field during training or deployment. One of the most well-known types of military rations is MRE, which stands for Meal, Ready-to-Eat. MREs are pre-packaged meals designed to provide a nutritious and calorie-dense source of sustenance for soldiers on the go. These meal kits typically contain an entree, side dish, dessert, bread or crackers, spread (such as peanut butter or cheese), and various accessories like utensils, condiments, and flameless ration heaters.

Types of Military Rations

Beyond MREs, there are several other types of rations used by militaries around the world. Some examples include:

  • A Ration – Fresh, perishable food prepared in dining facilities
  • B Ration – Non-perishable, shelf-stable bulk rations used in field kitchens
  • C Ration – Pre-packaged, canned meals intended for short-term use
  • K Ration – Compact, individual combat rations used during World War II
  • Jungle Ration – Lightweight, dehydrated meals specifically designed for jungle environments

The Pros and Cons of MREs

The Advantages of MREs

For those looking to stock up on emergency food supplies, MREs offer some distinct benefits. They have a long shelf life, with many lasting between 5-7 years when stored properly. They also provide a balanced meal with sufficient calories and nutrients, making them suitable for those in high-energy situations like hiking, camping, or during natural disasters.

MREs are convenient and portable, designed to be eaten without the need for additional preparation. The flameless ration heater included in the MRE allows for heating the main entree without the need for fire or cooking equipment, making it ideal for situations where resources may be limited.

The Disadvantages of MREs

Despite their many advantages, there are also some downsides to MREs. For one, they can be expensive when compared to other types of long-term food storage options.

Furthermore, while the convenience and portability of MREs are beneficial in emergency situations, their taste and texture leave much to be desired by many consumers. Those who have served in the military and regularly consumed MREs often have strong opinions about their palatability, with some finding them tolerable and others less so.

Lastly, regular consumption of MREs over an extended period of time can potentially cause health issues due to their high sodium content and lack of dietary fiber. While these concerns may not be significant during short-term emergency situations, they should be considered when planning long-term food storage solutions.

Where to Buy MREs

For those interested in purchasing MREs, there are several options available:

  • Military Surplus Stores: These stores often carry genuine military issue MREs at varying prices based on supply and demand.
  • Online Retailers: Many websites offer both military-issue and civilian versions of MREs for sale, with varying prices and shipping options.
  • Outdoor and Camping Stores: Some outdoor stores carry MREs or similar meal kits designed for camping and backpacking.

In summary, MREs offer a convenient and long-lasting source of nutrition that can be beneficial in emergency situations or during outdoor activities. While they may not be the most appetizing option available, their portability and shelf life make them a valuable asset in many scenarios. It is essential to weigh both the benefits and drawbacks when considering MREs as part of your food storage plan, and explore different purchasing options to find the best fit for your needs.