What You Should Know About MRE Meals

MREs or Meals Ready to Eat have become a popular essential for survivalists and preppers all over the world. Even though MREs are mainly geared for their use in the military field, these meals are now stockpiled by a variety of average Americans. However, before filling up your own pantry with MREs, here is a bit of information that you should be aware of.

The MREs are the ideal choice when there are no other types of food facilities available. The legacy of these food rations date back to what was known as the C-Rations that were used during WWII. Since this time, the process has been constant in attempting to improve the shelf-life, texture, taste and variety of these products. Today, these meals are commonly used during disaster and crisis relief efforts. It has become easy to understand why prepper communities have come to love this meals. 

mre meals

Most of the survivalists consider the Meals Ready to Eat to be the ideal food choice for hunkering down and bugging out scenarios. In addition, MREs are also now used commonly by hikers and campers that are in search of quick and easy meals that offer a higher calorie intake and no cooking. The MREs can be consumed cold or hot, which is what makes them the ideal choice for those that travel into the unknown or wilderness. 

What You May Not Know About The MREs

• The Meal

It is suggested that complete meals need to provide a minimum of 1,200 calories with the right amounts of vitamins, fat, proteins and carbohydrates. In harsh types of weather conditions when physical activities that are intense are needed, higher calorie counts are often required. With this thought in mind, it is advisable to calculate the amount of MREs you would need over an average week. Here is what the MREs, such as one from XMRE or MRE Stars, contain:

  • Fully cooked and complete entrée
  • Cracker or bread
  • Side dish
  • A spread which usually includes peanut butter, cheese or jelly
  • Candy or dessert
  • A beverage mix
  • Accessory package that contains a spoon, creamer, sugar, etc
  • Seasoning package which typically includes salt and pepper

The Shelf Life

When stored in the ideal conditions which are between 50°-70° F, MREs have an impressive shelf life of between 3 to 5 years. The majority of experts suggest that you use them within this time period, but they are able to last longer. If you are able to store your Meals Ready to Eat in a stable and cool environment, out of direct sunlight and heat and away from pests and humidity, you can definitely consume these meals past the 5-year recommendation. However, it is important to know that the taste and the nutritional value will deteriorate over time. 

Nutritional Facts

This is an essential consideration as nutritional value is often what dictates what people purchase. For example, sodium content in the entrée’s may be a lot higher than what is recommended for your personal diet. This consideration is not such an important aspect for survival situations, but when you are consuming MREs for days or weeks on end, this factor is important. If you are over the age of 50 and you already have diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure, you should keep a close eye on the amount of sodium you are eating. 


You should check whether the brand of MREs you are interested in buying will come with a flameless-heater and if you are able to heat them. Some of the brands come with water-activated chemical heaters. These heaters can produce a temperature over 100° F, in as short as 10 minutes. With this in mind the MREs are highly convenient when you are attempting to hide or maintain a low-profile by avoiding using fire. In addition, this is also very important when bugging out and time is important, you will not have to be concerned about carrying around portable utensils and a stove or wasting time on having to make or start a fire. In addition, a heated meal tastes far better when compared to the cold ones. MREs can also be a vital morale booster in critical situations.

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