MREs: More Than Just a Meal, Ready-to-Eat

MREs: More Than Just a Meal, Ready-to-Eat

 What are MREs?

MREs, or meals, ready-to-eat, have been around since World War II. In the past, they have been called c-rations, k-rations (WWII), and MCIs (Korea, Vietnam). By 1980, this meal on the go was developed into the MRE that we know today. They are still served to all branches of the U.S. Military and are the main rations in the Army.

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Are they healthy?

Each meal typically has a macro breakdown of 13% protein, 51% carbs, and 36% fat, which comes out to about 1,250 calories. These meals always include an entree, side dish, cracker or bread, spread, dessert or candy, beverage, and hot sauce or seasoning. Additionally, they come with accessories like a flameless ration heater, utensils, gum, toilet paper, and more. Each MRE accounts for one third of the recommended daily vitamins and nutrients, meaning a soldier will hit their daily needs by eating three a day.


Fun Facts:

  • Soldiers get their choice of MRE entrees and add ons.
  • Vegetarian options are available.
  • MREs are meant to be eaten anywhere, without the need of a kitchen or other supplies. This means they must be able to withstand non-parachute drops of 100 feet and parachute drops from 1250 feet.
  • In addition to their drop capability, the packaging is also designed so that the MRE has a shelf life of nine months when stored at 100 degrees or three and a half years when stored at 80 degrees.
  • AmeriQual, in Evansville, Indiana, is the largest supplier of MREs to the United States military.
  • At this time, there are 24 different “menus” - varieties - of MRE. Case A offers menus 1-12, and Case B contains menus 13-24.
  • The menu changes yearly, with small adaptations.

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Would you try any of these 2019 MRE Menus?

Menu 1: Chili with Beans, Cheddar Cheese Spread, Vegetable Crackers, Cornbread, Pepperoni Pizza Cheese Filled Crackers, Lemon Lime Beverage Powder, Carb-Fortified, Accessory Packet A

Menu 2: Shredded Beef in Barbecue Sauce, Black Beans in Seasoned Sauce, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread, Tortillas, Oatmeal Cookie, Orange Beverage Powder, Carb-Fortified, Barbecue Sauce, and Accessory Packet C

Menu 3: Chicken, Egg Noodles, and Vegetables in Sauce, Applesauce with Raspberry Puree, Crackers, Peanut Butter, Apple Jelly, Skittles, Tropical Punch Beverage Powder, Carbo-Fortified, Hot Sauce, Extra Hot 4x, and Accessory Packet A

Menu 4: Spaghetti with Beef and Sauce, Chocolate Chip Toaster Pastry, Peanut Butter, Italian, Bread Sticks, Dried Raisins, Cocoa Beverage Powder, Milk Chocolate, Grape Jelly, and Accessory Packet B

Menu 5: Chicken Chunks, Chocolate First Strike Bar, Cheddar Cheese Spread, Tortillas, Toasted Corn Kernels, Teriyaki Beef Sticks, Tropical Punch Beverage Powder, Barbecue Sauce, and Accessory Packet B

Menu 6: Beef Taco, Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans, Cheddar Cheese Spread, Tortillas, Nut and Fruit Mix w/ M&Ms, Sugar-Free Orange Beverage Base, and Accessory Packet A

Menu 7: Beef Strips in a Savory Tomato Based Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Dried, Cranberries, Peanut Butter, White Wheat Snack Bread, Blackberry Jam, Peppermint Rings Candy, Irish Cream Cappuccino Drink Mix, and Accessory Packet B

Menu 8: Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, Cherry Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Spread, Italian Bread Sticks, Teriyaki Beef Sticks, Orange Beverage Powder, and Accessory Packet C

Menu 9: Beef Stew, Vanilla Pound Cake, Trans Fat Free, Cheddar Cheese Spread, Multigrain Snack Bread, Skittles, Sweet & Sour, Lemon-Lime Beverage Powder, Hot Sauce, and Accessory Packet A

Menu 10 (Vegetarian): Vegetable Crumbles with Pasta in Taco Style Sauce, Applesauce, First Strike Bar - Apple-Cinnamon, Chunky Peanut Butter, Crackers, Jalapeno Cashews, French Vanilla Cappuccino Drink Mix, Chili and Lime Hot Sauce and Accessory Packet B


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