MREs are the principal operational food ration for the United States Armed Forces. It evolved from World War II c-rations and k-rations into MCI (Meal, Combat, Individual) rations used in Korea and Vietnam. The MRE was designed in 1980 and is today the primary ration of the United States Army. It provides fully cooked meals in a pack that can be eaten without further preparation or cooking.
The MRE consists of a thermo-box containing various components of each meal. These include two slices of bread with peanut butter, jelly, or fruit preserves; a meat product such as chicken or beef; vegetables; cheese; an egg; pudding; and a dessert. Each box contains enough food for one serving. The soldier selects which items from the list available will best meet his or her needs at the time.
During combat operations, soldiers are expected to eat the entire MRE within 20 minutes of receiving it. However, under certain conditions, such as when a soldier is facing an imminent threat, he may be allowed more time. The MRE should be stored in its original packaging in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. The temperature during storage should not exceed 120 degrees F (49 degrees C).
When not in use, the boxes remain sealed inside their plastic wrappings. The only opening required is for the soldier to eat the MRE. Once opened, the boxes must be consumed within four weeks if you want them to remain edible.
On YouTube, David Hong evaluates ready-to-eat military rations, also known as MREs (meal, ready to eat). MREs are simply ready-to-eat meals that troops get during training or in the field. They're generally highly processed, canned, or freeze-dried, and have a shelf life of three years. The U.S. Department of Defense contracts out production of these meals to several companies, which vary somewhat in flavor and content between brands.
Here are some of the videos in the series:
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging purchased by the United States Department of Defense for use by its service members in battle or other field settings when organized meal facilities are not available. First introduced in 1961, over 50 million MREs have been issued.
It contains all the nutrients you need to be healthy such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It also has water retention capabilities that will help keep you hydrated in a environment where there is no access to clean drinking water.
There are four main components to an MRE: meat, bread, beans, and vegetables. The type of meat used varies but usually includes chicken, fish, or pork. However, beef is also sometimes used instead. The amount of meat included in each MRE is based on nutritional requirements while still being realistic given military rations limitations such as weight and storage space.
Bread is included in every MRE and consists of wheat flour and water mixed together with salt and sugar. Salt is added to make the bread taste better and more like regular meals. Sugar provides additional energy since it is consumed before physical activity can reduce the body's store of glucose needed to function properly. Both salt and sugar are limited in MREs because they increase the volume required per person ration by about 10%.
Despite the fact that the MCI, or Meal Combat Individual, replaced C-rations in 1958, most US troops continued to refer to them as such. This lasted until around 1980, when the MRE, or Meal Ready-to-Eat, took the role of the MCI. We gathered C-rations because they reflect an important aspect of military life: eating. Soldiers around the world will always need food to keep them healthy and ready for battle.
In addition to keeping soldiers healthy, C-rations also help save money. The government spends a lot of money on food for soldiers - almost $1 billion dollars per year, in fact. By making sure that they are only buying enough food for immediate needs, our armed forces are able to cut costs.
Finally, C-rations show respect for those who have gone before us. When you open a box of MREs today, you are helping to provide food for future generations of soldiers.
5 of the Best Military MREs Ever
An MRE typically has the following items:
Those are solely for use in the field. In garrison, regular troops consume regular civilian meals. Normal troops take two ordinary meals with dinner and an MRE on the field if feasible. They will also carry snacks such as candy, cookies, and energy drinks.
The U.S. military has several programs to help its personnel stay healthy while on duty. One of these is the Meal Replacement Program. Under this program, soldiers can choose from a variety of beverages and food products designed to replace some or all of their daily meals. There are three levels of participation in the program: standard, enhanced, and augmented. Standard participants receive ready-to-drink products that consist of 25 percent protein, 35 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat. Enhanced participants can request more nutritious options or additional flavors. Augmented participants can supplement their diets with additional foods throughout the day. All soldiers are allowed one meal per week when dining in a restaurant or station feeder truck. This optional meal does not have to be part of the replacement system and can include traditional fare such as pizza or Chinese food.
Meal replacements are provided by companies that contract with the Department of Defense. These companies manufacture products that meet federal standards for nutritional value when used according to instructions.