What are MRE meals and how can they change someone life? Mre meals are the anacronym for Meals Ready To Eat. When we refer to ready to eat we are not talking about opening a cold can of beans for a snack. We are referring to food that has been designed to be packaged, and that is available to be eaten where ever you are and without the use of electricity making them perfect for a range of situations that we discuss more in depth later. Depending on the actual packaged meal many of these will last on your shelf for three or more years. (Please read the packaging to see the recommendations for storage and shelf life.)
The history of MRE Meals
They say that an army marches on its stomach, so nutrition and body fuel is vital for those in combat. And it is with these words in mind that the military of the United States had when they first came about the idea of what is now known as MREs. The ability of US soldiers to be able to trek anywhere and still be able to nourish themselves when needed with requiring the use of electricity or fire. Through trial and error, field tests and live trials the military eventually developed a range of MREs (AKA Field rations) for its on-field personnel to use. Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to heat and eat without power or fire, MRE also has the huge advantage of not requiring soldiers to carry fresh food with them into the field freeing up numerous supply chains and making logistics much easier to plan around. To keep soldiers sharp these meals also had to be healthy and nutritious to continue to allow personnel to continue operations in peak physical shape.
The two main types of MRE Meals
The main types of MRE here refer to how they are heated as there are two main methods. The first method is having to apply heat to the MRE pouch. As most MREs come paged in metalized pouches, they already make great heat conductors so a little heat will go along way to raising the temperature of the contents. The most consistent method is to place the MRE into heated or boing water to transfer radiated heat through to the meal. Boiling water will heat the meal quickly while water recently off the boil will still generate enough warmth to give you a sufficient temperature to eat comfortably. Other methods are used to heat the meals, and indeed this could be dependant on your creativity. Accepted workarounds to how water would be to use the engine of your vehicle while warm to place your MRE on. If someone is already hogging the engine for their meal, the tailpipe is also still sufficiently good enough to use. While these methods would not be considered with regular food, keep in mind that the packaging will keep the contacts until opened. All you are interested in is harvesting the heat source. Worst comes to worst, body heat will do to raise the internal contents to a semi-desired state were consumption would be acceptable. Again, creativity while in a tight spot might make the difference between a warm meal or not.
The second type of MRE is those that are chemically heated. These packs come with a flameless ration heater which relies on a small water cell inbuilt into the packaging that once manually activated mixes the water with a range of chemicals that when mixed results in heat being generated, enough to decently warm the meal. (As a volunteer firefighter I have had the opportunity of trying these while stuck out on the fire ground, and despite reservations, I was surprised at the speed of the radiant warmth as well as the taste and quality of the meal which was a type of beef stroganoff). That was several years ago, and the quality and range have only expanded since then.
Typical uses for MREs
Really these can be used anywhere, but some of the best places to make sure that you have a stock of these meals would be when you head out on your next camping trip. After a day of bushwalking just being able to click open an MRE is luxury compared to having to build a fire and cook. Similarly, if you have some of these spare in the event of your usual food source spoiling.
With the number of storms hitting our coasts and flatlands considering the shelf life of 3 years and more for the shelf life it is a good idea to be prepared and have a range of these in your pantry or storm shelter ready for use when needed. Noting that these are the times when other people go into panic mode buying stores completely clean, it makes sense to have a store of these meals now and be able to invest your time in preparing for whatever emergency is coming rather than worrying about fighting for shelf stocked foods.
Power blackouts are not unusual and again an excellent reason to be prepared with these self-contained meals. In fact, there is a vast range of reasons why you would want some of these in your pantry, least of all for those nights when you come home a little worse for wear and just need a feed, much safer than trying to cook something your self.
Where to buy MRE Meals
Today due to the growing popularity of these ready to eat meals there are both an increasing number of suppliers manufacturing different meal tastes, but there is also an expanding range of outlets where you can purchase them. Probably the most visited for these meals are the camping and fishing stores that cater to those who are going to be distanced from more convenient sources of food. In fact, these are becoming so popular that you can even buy them online through outlets such as Amazon. Our you can buy from us. As you can see, the price is not a deterrent as these are relatively inexpensive.
The Types Of Meals Available
While I have spoken just about single meals, you can actually have a three course ready to eat meal with entree, main meal, and deserts all available. Looking to the US military the top 6 meals ready to eat in order were voted 6) Chilli with beans, 5) Maple sausage, 4) Cheese Tortellini, 3) beef ravioli, 2) meatballs in marinara and the Number one most preferred meal - Chilli and macaroni. For more information refer https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/meals-ready-to-eat-mre.
Outside of the military range, civilians can also enjoy flavor treats such as shredded barbeque beef, chicken with egg noodles and vegetables, brisket entree, spinach mushrooms, and cream sauce fettuccini. There is a large range of others, and by doing some more investigation, you should easily find some taste combinations that work well for you.
The benefits of MRE Meals
For military personnel, ready to eat meals are a necessity of survival, and if they are the only thing on the menu, then you are going to have to get used to them fast. However, for us civilians, the benefits of these pre-packed meals allow us the luxury of convenience regardless of the situation, even at home if the wife has gone out for the night and you can't be bothered cooking.
For the adventurers among us, we can go on the weeks camping trip deep in to the wilderness knowing that we have enough food in our packs and that a lack of fire, electricity or an overabundance of wind and rain we can be assured that with a chemical heated pack we are still in for a warm meal at the end of the day. Just the same as being caught at home in a storm that has caused a significant power outage, if we have prepared our home with supplies, then warm food will be readily available.
The low cost and huge range available at local camping stores, military surplus outlets and specialty stockists along with being available online and delivered to your door are tremendous benefits in ease of purchase. The fact that due to their makeup and superior seal packing this type of nutrition has a shelf life of three years and up. In fact, five years and more is not unusual meaning that if you do purchase a batch to keep for an unexpected event, you can buy with the understanding that you will not need to repurchase for a number of years unless consumed for any reason.
The last benefit that I will list but one that is far from the least important is the actual portability of these meals. You can hump them on your back all week and give them a hard time, but you can be assured that due to their pack design and the metal packaging they will stand up to the abuse and be there ready to be consumed when you are ready.
I hope that the above includes information that before today you were unaware of and answered the title question of why MRE meals can change your life.