What is MRE, and What Does It Contain? A Guide

If you don’t have acquaintances in the US military, you may not be familiar with the acronym MRE. MRE essentially stands for “Meal, Ready-to-Eat” and is a kit that contains individual field rations to use in combat and adverse field conditions where food may not be available.

You may note that it is illegal to buy or sell MREs in the US. These kits may not contain the most delicious food items. However, they contain food items that do not harm your gut and survive bad weather and other conditions without rotting or spoiling.

Websites like The Preparedness Experience can give your comprehensive information on what an MRE kit contains and what it stands for. The calorie count is usually 1300 calories, and users can survive with this kit for a very long time. Most MREs have a guaranteed shelf-life of three years.


This may sound surprising, but every MRE kit contains entrée items. The entrees are usually hearty main course dishes like beef ravioli, meatballs, spaghetti, and oatmeal. These entrees are usually filling, protein-packed, and nutritious.

They can prevent you from feeling hungry for a long time and help ensure that your nutritional needs are met. Entrée items in an MRE kit are usually shelf stabilized. In fact, the entrees are also heat-treated to eliminate microorganisms and inactive enzymes.

Side Dishes

The side dish may be anything from basic corn to mashed potatoes. Some MRE’s also contain sides like crackers and bread. These shelf-stable, appetizing MRE sides give users variety and store well.

These sides are engineered and packed away in sealed, layered packages to ensure sterility and prevent microorganisms from getting in. All MRE kits are created based on specified US Army standards.

The calorie count of the dish is based primarily on the nutritional value of the entrees. MRE kits should ideally contain 13% protein, 51% carbs, and 36% fat.

Spreads and Candy

The spreads are usually peanut butter, cheese spreads, or jelly. Like all other items that form part of an MRE kit, the spreads are shelf stabilized and sterilized.

They are usually packed away in separate, tiny disposable packs. Candy that forms part of an MRE includes Skittles, Tootsie Rolls, and M&Ms. Pages like The Preparedness Experience can give you all the information you need on MRE kits.


Every MRE kit contains sauces like hot sauce and some condiments and seasoning. These MRE ingredients help enhance the flavor of the main dishes. Additionally, they are compact, and you can pack them away easily. The type and variety of sauces in an MRE may vary.


Beverages are a crucial part of all MRE kits. MRE beverages also serve the purpose of keeping the army personnel hydrated and energized. Beverages include Gatorade mixes, dairy shakes, coffee, tea, cocoa, and other drinks.

The drinks are usually powdered and mixed with water right before consumption. The kit contains spoons and other plastic utensils to prepare the drinks.

Wrapping Up

MRE kits also contain additional accessories like flameless ration heaters, matches, and toilet paper. These kits are created after considering the needs of army members and can prove very beneficial in adverse defense conditions.