Beginners Guide to Meals Ready to Eat or MREs

By | September 1, 2017

Are you worried about how you will feed your family in the event of a natural disaster or some other unforeseen tragedy? If so, you might be wondering about MREs or Meals-Ready-to-Eat. These meals have a shelf life of about five years and contain everything you and your family need to enjoy a nutritious meal without cooking.

What They Are

These meals, which are often referred to as MREs, were designed for the US military for use in combat and field work where food facilities could not be set up or otherwise be available. These meals are packaged in lightweight material and are self-contained individual meals. 

MRE meals

These meals do not need to be refrigerated, although they should be kept relatively cool. The meals were once only available to the military but after Vietnam, these meals were distributed during times of natural disasters to civilians. They are the perfect meals to have on hand to be prepared for emergencies but a lot of people also find they are an enjoyable alternative to outdoor cooking while camping, RVing or fishing.

The packaged contents can be full meals, single entrees, desserts and other types of precooked or self-contained foods. They can be heated or they can be eaten right out of the package. 

Buying MREs 

While the restrictions for MREs have lifted over time, purchases still require careful research. You want to be sure you are buying quality meals from a trustworthy supplier. You cannot buy these meals from the US government but some individuals may be able to get army or military personnel to buy some for them.

Some of the best places to buy them are at surplus stores or camping supply stores. A case of 12 meals might cost about $80 which is expensive. But, you do not want to buy MREs that are not the real thing. You do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get them if you shop online, but you need to be very careful about which sellers you buy these meals from.

Other places to buy these meals include gun shows. These shows offer the meals for a lot less money than the surplus stores, but you will, of course, need to wait until a gun show is near you. If you live near a military base, this is by far the best source for affordable, high-quality MREs.

If you do choose to shop online, you should check eBay first. Be careful to check a seller's feedback and make sure the listings for MREs contain pictures and that those pictures show the dates the meals were packed and inspected. If you can find a listing with a case opened up to show the meals inside and there is another close up of the packed-on date with ingredients, you are in luck. 

You should be able to find a large selection of meals and entrees on eBay from legitimate, trustworthy sellers. You can usually purchase cases of MREs for a great price on eBay. Ideally, Buy it Now sales are the way to go so you can get the meals for a price you desire without having to lose out on an auction at the last second. Whatever you do, never purchase any meals ready-to-eat from an eBay seller that do not have photos of the actual product for sale.

Try to buy your meals at offline stores like surplus or camping stores. Camping stores usually sell decent quality MREs that are made like the US Military grade meals. They are still good for trying especially if you have young children and you want to see how they react.

How to Eat a Packaged MRE

Many meals require that you open the bag and use the enclosed utensils to enjoy your meal. Some meals require heating, but they have a heat pouch inside the package. You need to fill the pouch with water as indicated on the package, wait and eat it when ready.

These meals can be stored easily for years. MRE meals are the ideal solution to insure your family has enough food supply during emergencies. 

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