All posts tagged MRE


By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog

MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) are US Military precooked ration packs designed to feed soldiers who are currently engaged in ongoing missions.

Just like regular meals, the military MRE is fortified with vitamins and minerals, enough to nourish and replenish the body.

Today’s MRE’s are a lot better than when they were first introduced! They’ve come along way since C-Rats. They are made with a very wide variety of foods and flavors – and are available for civilian use.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: MRE Meals for Food Storage & Survival Kit


How to Make Your Own DIY MREs – Homemade MRE Tips

By Gaye Levy – Backdoor Survival

Upon request from our readers, I was asked to make a follow-up to the MRE article. In there, I had mentioned that creating your own MRE is more efficient and cheaper than buying one of the brand-names.

Therefore, I have compiled this information together as everything you’ll need to know about creating your very own MRE.

I will be going over what I had mentioned in the previous article as well as supplying you with the “how-to’s” in drying out food, properly compacting it all into air-tight storage, and the proper steps to take in preserving your MREs.

Remember, being that you’re able to decide what goes into these MREs, you have the freedom to use this information however you please

Continue reading at Backdoor Survival: How to Make Your Own DIY MREs – Homemade MRE Tips

About the author:

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on



By  – SurvivoPedia

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, have been a staple military supply for decades. For those of us in the survival world, we all know what they are, but we also know that they’re pretty pricey to buy. Also, many of them don’t taste so great. So, since we’re all about doing things for ourselves, I wondered if it was possible to make MREs at home. It turns out that it is, and you don’t even need any high-dollar equipment.

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when you’re making MREs. First, you want high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods. Depending on how long you may need them, you may need to ration them to one per day in order to be able to carry enough to get you through. Make sure that each MRE has at least 1200 calories if you’re only going to eat one per day. That’s the minimum for you to survive.

Next, you need to consider the weight and mass of the MRE. You want them to fit in your bug-out bag so you’re going to be carrying them, along with all of your other necessities. You also want to make foods with long shelf lives; the shorter the shelf life, the more often you’re going to need to replace them.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: DIY: How To Make MREs At Home


By Pat Henry – The Prepper Journal

If you have not seen or heard of MRE’s (Meal Ready to Eat) by now, I have to wonder where you have been. MRE’s are a military staple that has naturally bled over into the preparedness market because of their long storage life and simplicity. For the uninitiated, MRE’s are what our soldiers eat when they are away from base. MRE’s come from a long history of military food options that are meant to fill bellies and provide energy in a near bomb proof package that can be thrown in the back of a connex for 5 years and not go bad. Taste and consistency are usually the casualties in this type of scenario.

MRE’s are utilitarian and I have said it before, if you are expecting gourmet out of something with those requirements you will be in for a big surprise. Other bloggers have complained about how unhealthy the meals are and how the taste leaves something to be desired. While that may be true in a sense, again these weren’t designed to win any foodie contests; their only mission is keeping you alive. These are not fresh ingredients you grew in your garden or purchased at the local Whole Foods, these are survival rations.

When I was in the Army, these were usually given out as lunch. Hot breakfast and dinner were usually offered any time we were away from our regular mess hall so we didn’t technically live on MRE’s but ate more than enough to develop favorites. I had tried them all and some were definitely better than others. I have had my fair share of MRE’s in various locations all over the world. Did they taste better than anything else, no but they were filling.

XMRE Meals

XMRE contacted me back in February and asked me if I was interested in reviewing a new offering they had, the 1300XT. The 1300XT is designed to provide 1300 calories in one meal. It is the same idea as any other MRE but with a little more calories. Like all MRE’s, the idea that makes these meals such a good choice for the military also makes them worthy of consideration for preppers, so I was happy to give it a try.

I opened the box and saw a lot of new menu choices that I had never tried before:

  • Shredded Beef in barbeque Sauce
  • Chilli and Macaroni
  • Cheese Tortellini
  • Chicken Pesto Pasta
  • Southwest Style Beef in Black Bean Sauce

I don’t think any of these menu items were available when I was in the service, but the idea is the same. In every MRE you get the following:

  • entrée: Variety of beef, chicken or vegetarian entrees.
  • Cracker/Bread: Regular or vegetable crackers, snack bread or flour tortillas.
  • Snacks : Nut raisin mix, dry fruit mix, corn nuggets or others
  • Spreads/Sauce: Peanut butter, Cheese spreads, fruit jellies, fruit jams or others.
  • Dessert :  Puddings, pound cakes, wet packed fruit, dessert cookies, dairy shakes or other portion-controlled packs.
  • Fruit Flavored Beverage: Single or assorted fruit flavored drink mixes or others available.
  • Instant coffee: Single serve instant coffee.
  • Spoon: Single serve instant coffee.
  • Napkin: 11 ¾ x 12 ¾ brown napkin.
  • Beverage Bag: Hot beverage bag included in each meal.
  • Condiment Kit: Includes salt and pepper, non-dairy creamer and sugar.
  • Moist Towelette: Towelette with sanitizing soap solution. Which comes in handy if you are like me and get food all over your fingers.
  • Optional Flameless Heater: One MRE military type flame-less meal/ration heater – for each XMRE complete meal kit.

I decided to go hiking on a local trail with my survival dog and try the XMRE out for lunch. I took the Shredded Beef with barbeque Sauce and for those counting calories, the nutrition information is printed nicely on the back of every bag.

XMRE Nutrition information clearly displayed for those of you in a SHTF situation worried about your figure.

XMRE Nutrition information clearly displayed for those of you in a SHTF situation worried about your figure.

After we walked along for a little bit in the snow I found what I thought was a good place to stop and eat lunch. I poured the contents of the XMRE out and remembered that it is better to do this on level ground. Oh, how the mind forgets when you get older. I took out the Ration heater and got ready to warm my meal up. We didn’t have heaters when I was in the army, we relied on fires or the engine block of our 5-ton trucks to keep food warm. The last ration heater I tried took a couple of minutes to get warm, but not the heater from XRME. It started smoking almost immediately and was definitely doing a good job. My meal was nice and toasty in no time which if you think about a Bug out scenario could be an advantage. No fire would mean you could escape detection more easily.


MRE’s are pre-cooked so all you really need to do is open the bag and start eating.

I tried the cracker and jelly but prefer Peanut butter or cheese on a hard cracker. It just seems to go better, but both were just as good as any MRE cracker I had ever eaten. Mine tend to crumble in my hands and this was no exception. My dog helped me finish off some of that part.

Next I moved on to something I hadn’t tried in an MRE before and that was Roasted Corn Nuggets. This was just like corn nuts and provided a nice crunchy appetizer before the main meal.


Corn Nuggets were a tasty surprise.

After I had finished the cracker and corn nuggets, I was ready for the shredded beef. Opening the bag I saw exactly what I expected to see. It wasn’t pretty (is shredded beef ever?) but it tasted pretty good. My dog kept a very watchful eye to make sure that I didn’t drop any.

Don't let it out of your sight!

Don’t let it out of your sight!

The last item I tried was the cookie. Again, something I never had in the MRE’s of old. We had things like fruit loaf, which wasn’t too bad, but this cookie was pretty big and it tasted good too. Maybe I was hungrier than I thought or my standards were low.

Big cookie for dessert.

Big cookie for dessert.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with my XMRE meal. The food all tasted fresh for an MRE if that makes sense. Everything tasted good and even the moist towelette bath I had to take to get all of the barbecue sauce off my face was nice. When I was done I threw all my trash in the handy-dandy bag and we got back on the trail.

What is an MRE good for?

Going back to my earlier remarks about MRE’s. They are not what I would feed my children every day if I had options. These meals are made to stay fresh and stable for years so you have to understand there are some chemicals in here. I choose to look at these for what I believe are their strengths. Exceptionally long storage life – usually about 5 years in the right conditions. They require no cooking. They come with all the utensils you need to eat, wash up and have a cup of coffee afterward. They are dead simple.

I have a few boxes of MRE’s in my home because they augment my food stores. While they don’t form the majority of my food supply, I think they have a place. If disaster happens and I want to eat a quick meal without cooking anything, I have the MRE. If I need to go out away from home for a day or two, MRE. If I want to offer some charity to someone, MRE.

Are MRE’s a good choice for you? Only you can answer that question, but I am pleased with the quality of XMRE and would recommend them to anyone. You can purchase these online at Amazon and for more information you can view their website.

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: XMRE – Meals Ready to Eat: Review


If you are reading this article, I would imagine that you have never eaten an MRE before. Why do I say that? Well, for anyone who has eaten MREs you probably already have a strong opinion about them or at the very least, your experience might be based upon military service years ago. That is the perspective I was coming from when Meal Kit Supply approached me about reviewing their MREs that they produce. I had eaten more than my fair share of MREs when I was in the Army, but things have changed as you would expect with the passage of more years than I want to think about so I decided to take them up on the offer and while I was at it, share my opinion on what if any place MREs have in the food storage plan for preppers.

My military experience was let’s just say in the last century and MREs have gone through some pretty decent changes and updates since the time I was chowing down. For those who don’t know what an MRE is, the Acronym stands for Meal Ready to Eat and this is what is given to our soldiers when they aren’t near a mess hall. When I was in the field we would usually get an MRE for lunch. Breakfast and dinners would be a hot meal, or it started out as hot when we crowded around the mess tent or the insulated containers they drove out to us on the back of a jeep. By the time you got somewhere to eat your meal it was usually cold. We would only go to the field in the winter time naturally.

MREs at the time were pretty much like they are now, but the menus have improved and some minor details have made this meal in a bag much more palatable if you can believe that. I served before they had things like M&M’s or skittles for dessert and hot sauce to flavor your food. We also didn’t have a built-in heater like they do now. If you wanted your MRE warm you were limited only by your creativity. MRE food packets are foil so they are both waterproof and allow you to heat them on almost anything. We would use the heater vents in our trucks, lay them on our stoves in the tent or on the block of our engines.MREPackage

MREs come in boxes of 12 and each MRE is a different meal. You quickly learn which meals you like and which ones you don’t. If you were unfortunate enough to be the last one to the box you got what everyone else passed over. When I was in the service I think the worst meal was the beef patty. There are some similarities between the meals. They all come with an entrée, some side and a dessert. You get crackers and peanut butter or cheese, a condiment packet and usually a drink mix. We would even come up with our own names for meals that displayed our disdain for the contents. One meal, Meatballs with barbecue sauce was affectionately called ‘Meat nuts with Barf A Shoe’ sauce by myself and the guys in my unit. I am sure there are millions of other creative renames. I actually liked that MRE and I think it was pretty much my go-to meal as long as I could beat everyone to the box.

Meal Kit Supply sent me a box and I opened it up looking for some differences in the contents on the bag and searching for my old favorites because I was definitely getting the best MRE and I wouldn’t be stuck with the Beef patty. I was surprised at the options. For starters we didn’t have anything vegetarian when I was in the service, but this box had Vegetarian Ratatouille, Vegetarian Lasagna and Apple Maple Rolled Oats. Breakfast?? They also had the old standbys of Pork Sausage Patty and it looked like my Meatballs with Barbecue sauce was changed to Meatballs in Marinara sauce. That is what I decided to taste first.

What do MREs taste like?

Before I get into what the MREs from Meal Kit Supply tasted like, I wanted to set expectations here. Just like I have said in other reviews on long-term storable food similar to this. When you tear open a bag like this, you aren’t getting fresh ingredients from the garden prepared by a classically trained French chef. You are getting food that was designed for the military to pack enough calories in there to keep them alive, be waterproof, tolerate being mistreated and last for 5 years sitting in a warehouse most likely. If you are expecting Ruth’s Chris here or maybe even Golden Corral, you might be in for a surprise.

Everything in the bag.

I opened my MRE and noticed that everything was still pretty much the same. You have food in foil packets although my packets weren’t in separate boxes. They did include the nutritional insert though and I never understood why they had the extra boxes anyway. Another thing we didn’t have when I was in was the handy ration heater. The ration heater is activated by placing a little water in a bag. The water mixes with an element and causes a chemical reaction that generates heat. You wrap your entrée in the bag,  and in 10 minutes you are supposed to have a hot meal. It didn’t work that way for me.

Everything you need plus a big long spoon to reach the bottom of the bag.

I followed the instructions or so I thought but my heater didn’t warm up. I waited the 10 minutes but finally decided to eat my meatballs cold. They weren’t bad at all, but I know they would have been so much better warm. My survival dog certainly loved the taste too when I gave her one of the small meatballs to taste. When I finished eating, I noticed that the warmer was finally getting warm so I placed my Au gratin potatoes in there. Yes, they had Au gratin potatoes and although they didn’t have the slightly burnt edges from being in the oven but they were cheesy and filling. They only needed a little salt and pepper to doctor them up. The heater worked just fine after-all.

The Ration Heater instructions say that it works best if you place a heavy object on the packet.

So far so good. I broke out the crackers; literally because they came apart in my hands. This wasn’t the fault of the manufacturer I don’t think. I was just clumsy. Regardless, once I had my peanut butter on them they were great. I finished up with the dessert, Vanilla pudding which to prepare you needed to mix a little water in the bag and shake the bag for 60 seconds before it was ready. This was definitely good!

How do MRE’s fit into a Prepper Plan?

Any prepper plan has to take into consideration what food options will be best in various situations. Usually we recommend different types of food for different scenarios. If the power goes out you look for food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Canned tuna, MRE’s and snack bars fall into this category of course so do a lot of other foods. You want to store foods that your family will eat but there is also a need to have long-term storable food that you can take with you in a bug out bag. Frequently I will recommend freeze-dried foods for bug out bags, but those do require some preparation. For starters they need hot water or else you are eating rocks. MREs do not need water (except the pudding) and you don’t even need to heat them up.

My dog was a big fan of the Meatballs.

There are some weight considerations in that MREs weigh more than freeze dried food but they do have their advantages. I have a few boxes stored as part of my food storage plan because they are an easy way to get the calories you need for survival. I also have food stored in buckets, canned food and freeze-dried food. I am an equal opportunity food storage person and there is something to be said for having variety. Are MREs the the best prepper food? I don’t think there is ever a single best food for all prepper situations, but MREs are proven reliable. If our military uses them you can bet that you could find reasons to use them too. They are more expensive than other options but you don’t have to prepare anything, they even throw in the salt, pepper and a little moist towelette to wipe your face and hands when you are done. They used to come with toilet paper and chewing gum but apparently that is not part of these MREs.

The MREs from Meal Kit Supply tasted better than the food I ate many years ago so I am happy to recommend them to anyone looking for an MRE supplier. You can get a box of 12 MRE’s yourself from Meal Kit Supply and try them out or just place them aside for an emergency. MRE’s are another good food option that will store for a long time and could save your life.

This information has been made available by The Prepper Journal: MREs: Best Prepper Food or Waste of Money?



Emergency Food for Those Desperate Moments

MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are one of the first kinds of stored food that come to mind after you’ve got your canned goods and other regular stuff stashed away. They are appealing for multiple reasons: the included heater that reduces the amount of water needed, the durable packaging that makes them convenient for storage and carrying, and the high calorie content per meal are just a few. However, despite the improvements made over the decades they are still well known to have their…unique quirks that could make them less than desirable as a civilian survival diet. Let’s take a look and see if these military meals should be part of your stockpile.

Strengths of Ready to Eat

First, let’s look at the conveniences offered by your average MRE:

  • Reasonably durable packaging. Military-style MRE’s have to be able to withstand a little wear and tear in the field, so the brown plastic bags tend to be pretty strong. Aside from a weakness to punctures, you will not come across many normal wear issues in the average MRE. MRE-Nutrition 
  • A filling and complete meal. A single MRE is a single meal, and it is designed to fill your stomach with 1200+ calories. Assuming you eat everything provided (yes, including the condiments!) you will receive food that has been at least “fortified” with all the nutrients you need as well.
  • Minimal water requirements. The flameless heaters use very little water, as do the “milkshakes” or sports drinks provided. Most entrees and side dishes are not dehydrated, so they don’t need water to be eaten. Heck, if you were truly pressed and had no water at all you could eat most MRE’s cold!
  • Provided utensils and additions. Most MRE’s include helpful items for eating and cleaning up, including spoons, chewing gum, napkins, TP, and other useful stuff.
  • Comfort foods. These meals often include dessert items and candy of some kind, giving you a nice sugary jolt and a bit of the “taste of home” regardless of where you are.
  • Decent shelf life. At 40 degrees, modern MRE’s can survive up to 5 years of continuous storage before going bad, and if in a pinch some of the more durable parts could potentially last beyond that.
  • Reasonably good taste. Let’s be honest, no 3 year old MRE is going to compare to freshly cooked meals in any way. That said, modern MRE’s have been designed to be at least mildly tasty, particularly compared to the old “Meals Refused by Ethiopians” or C-Rations used during Vietnam. Having tasted a beef meal myself, it certainly tasted like it was supposed to, and the jelly/cracker combo was certainly decent if a bit dry.

These strengths were designed for soldiers in the field when the logistical support wasn’t able to truck in more “normal” meals in. As such, many preppers have seen these foods as being the perfect solution for bugging out or at any other time when cooking and preparing food at home just isn’t possible.

The weaknesses

However, the MRE’s are not 100% perfect, and definitely suffer from a few problems when used in a survival situation:

  • Low fiber content. Dietary fiber is what keep you regular, preventing you from becoming constipated. MRE’s have low amounts of this fiber, which has the potential to cause constipation in some people. Oddly, the constipation is not a constant factor at all times (and certainly drinking plenty of water helps to mitigate the effects) but the low fiber certainly is.
  • High fat, calorie and sodium content. These probably sound like great things, and they are…assuming you’re a soldier running about all day and burning 4,800 calories a day and sweating buckets of salt out of your body. If your retreat lifestyle is more sedentary, constant MRE meals will likely cause you to swell up like a balloon or potentially cause other health issues.
  • Proper nutrition requires eating the entire meal, including condiments. You might say, “I’m an adult, I think I can manage to eat all my dinner, particularly when the alternative is starving!” and that may well be, but the fact that the military spends millions of dollars trying to stop soldiers from tossing vital parts of their meals suggests a different outcome. In every instance where large numbers of people have been using MRE’s, swapping and even total abandonment of parts of the meals has been a constant problem since the meals are specifically designed to be eaten completely as one unit. Foods like those made by mountain house tend to be lighter and less bulky than an MRE. 
  • The food and packaging is bulky and heavy compared to comparable freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. Although it did a lot to improve taste and texture when the military decided to stop dehydrating everything, the moisture content did add to the overall weight of the MRE. If every ounce counts, you may need to go with a less weighty meal source.
  • They are not designed to be eaten indefinitely. If you ate the same well rounded home cooked meal (say fried chicken, beans, mashed potatoes and corn with a glass or two of water for example) you would eventually get bored with it, but it wouldn’t cause too many health problems so long as you got all the essential nutrients. MRE’s are not designed that way, and are really only made for eating for a couple of weeks at a time. In practice soldiers have eaten them for several months with few known ill effects, but others have reported gastric distress and the like as the weeks dragged on. Much like the constipation issue it probably varies by person.
  • Heating elements are dangerous in tight confines. Do not set off your heating element in any enclosed space! They release hydrogen as a byproduct, which has the unfortunate side effect of being highly combustible unless it is allowed to rapidly dissipate.


MRE’s are potentially a potent addition to the survival pantry but only if used properly and with a correct understanding of the limitations they have. They’re not a substitute for proper raw ingredients like beans and rice, but when you’re on the move they can be great for limited use or very hard work in the hot sun.

Your thoughts?

Have you had experience with MRE’s? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

This article first appeared at Prepared For That: MRE’s: Great Survival Food or A Waste of Space?


By Ken Jorgustin

A pros and cons list of the various methods and types of food for storage that you may consider in your overall diversified food storage plan.


Freeze-Dried Food


Long shelf life
Very lightweight
Very low moisture
Reconstitutes quickly
Best way to dry meat items
Generally tastes better than dehydrated
Retains original shape, texture, color after reconstitution


Most expensive food storage option
Most items require water to prepare
Items are bulkier than if dehydrated
If purchased in Mylar pouches, they’re susceptible to puncture



Dehydrated Food


No waste
Low moisture
Long shelf life
Not easily spoiled


Requires water to prepare
Some items have poor visual appeal
Some items lose taste after reconstitution
Some items take a long time to reconstitute
Dehydration process can affect nutritional value



MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)


Convenient to use
Familiar foods available
Requires no water to prepare
No mixing or blending required
Can be heated for hot meal by many methods
Can be eaten right from pouch without preparation


Taste of MREs considered poor by some
Not intended for long term consumption
Artificial additives added in many recipes
Expensive considering actual food received
Entrees alone will not supply adequate nutritional value
Because of foil pouch, they are susceptible to puncture
Can be heavy if larger quantities need to be transported
Many entrees more like sauces & require additional quality carbohydrates for a filling meal



Commercially Canned Food


Wide variety of canned foods
Secure packaging-containment
Readily available at all grocery stores
Moderate shelf life, generally 3-years – depending on food
‘Real’ shelf life often much longer than posted without issues


Heavier than dried foods
Difficulty in freezing conditions
Heavier than dehydrated, freeze-dried
Typically lots of preservatives-salt, etc.
Not as practical for on-the-go or carrying
Exposure to water-humidity promotes rust
Requires more physical space than other types of processing



Emergency Food Bars


Low cost
Calorie dense
Good shelf life
Compact – convenient
Good for portability – small kit, etc.


Limited nutritional value
Not everyone likes the taste
Not adequate for prolonged use
Not a satisfying substitute for a hot meal



Grains, Beans, Basic Commodities


Low cost
Good nutritional value
The basic food staples – very important
Very long storage life if stored properly
Essential ingredients for sustaining life
Many sprout-able seeds, grains, and beans increase nutritional value


More time consuming to prepare
Heavy weight – meant for storage, not portability
Not generally appropriate for shorter term emergencies
Time is required to adapt to basic commodity oriented diet
Requires relatively large quantities of water and fuel to prepare
For calories, a fairly large quantity must be consumed when eaten exclusively.

Continue Reading at Modern Survival Blog: Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried, Dehydrated, MRE, Canned, Food-Bars, Grains-Beans