10 reasons not to eat MREs

During the middle of the 20th century, the U.S. and other countries’ militaries began testing and developing small, self-contained meals that eventually became known as Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). Their advantages were that they could be eaten by soldiers “on the run” either cold or heated up, and had a relatively long shelf life. MREs remained a military-only product for quite a few years, but after Hurricane Katrina, a number of the companies that produced them started making them for civilian consumption as well.

MREs typically contain an entrée, side dish, cracker or bread, spread, dessert, candy, beverage, hot sauce or seasoning, a flameless ration heater, utensils and accessories. In order to maintain a shelf life of about six years, it was necessary to include a number of preservatives and additives. Nobody went around bragging about how good they tasted, but they were accepted for what they were – an alternative when fresh food was not available.

More recently, some people have discussed the viability of MREs as a survival food.

Check out the link below about MREs. The author provides us with some history on this product, and while giving us some of the downsides, paints an overall pretty picture of MREs.


I didn’t want to come right out and give you my opinion on MREs before you read the article because I didn’t want to influence you. But now I will. Simply put, MREs are a great choice for survivalists who DON’T want to survive. For anyone interested in vomiting and being constipated and generally unhealthy, they are an excellent option.

Following are my 10 reasons not to eat MREs:

  1. They are expensive. Per meal they are over $4 each and if you figure in shipping it’s even more.
  2. They don’t taste good.
  3. Their shelf life is shorter than freeze-dried and dehydrated food.
  4. They are heavy. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are lighter.
  5. They are bulky. Freeze-dried and dehydrated food is more compact.
  6. They are low in fiber. This is what leads to constipation by those who consume them.
  7. They are high in fat. This might be the best thing you can say about them, as everyone needs some fat.
  8. They are low on water, another thing that causes constipation.
  9. They have a high sodium content, which is unhealthy and results in thirst.
  10. They can be damaged by freezing, unlike freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.

I’d like to hear from you regarding any experiences you’ve had with MREs, either when you served in the military or as a civilian. How do you feel about them as a survival menu option?


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