(Natural News) Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is a complete, self-contained meal. It has been a staple military supply for decades. Unfortunately, MREs can be expensive if you have to buy enough for a large group. If you want to save money, you can make your own MREs using ingredients you already have at home.
Basics of an MRE
An MRE usually has the following components:
- A meat entree
- A starchy side dish
- A spread
- Cookies or pound cakes
- Coffee or tea
- Seasoning packets
- Non-food items (e.g., utensils, matches, toilet paper)
Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories. More than half of those calories come from carbohydrates, at least 10 percent from protein and the rest is fat. A full day’s worth of meals consists of three MREs.
True to its name, an MRE can be consumed without cooking or heating. MREs are designed to have a shelf life of three years when stored at 80 F.
How to make DIY MREs
MREs are sometimes hard to come by. They can also cost you a large amount of money if you have to buy for a group. As such, many preppers choose to make their own MREs.
Preparation is key in choosing foods to put in your MRE. You shouldn’t choose foods that have to be cooked as you never know if you’ll have the time to cook over a fire. For this reason, ready-to-eat foods are the best options for a do-it-yourself MRE. Here are some options to consider when making your own MRE:
- Instant noodles – Instant noodles are lightweight and only require water.
- Instant oats – Instant oats are a good source of fiber and only require water as well.
- Jerky – Spiced, dried meats like jerky are a good source of protein.
- Dried fruits – Dried fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They also make tasty snacks. (Related: How nutritious is your dried fruit? That may depend on how it was dried.)
- Crackers – Crackers give you energy and are a good replacement for bread.
- Canned meats or fish – Canned meats or fish are already pre-cooked. They are also rich in protein.
- Granola bars – Granola bars are high in calories and are very filling.
- Seasonings or condiments – Salt, pepper, sugar and other condiments can make bland food taste better. Add small packets of seasonings and condiments to your MRE.
- Instant beverages – Instant coffee, powdered milk and tea bags come in small, lightweight packets. They only require water.
If you want healthier options, you can always make foods like granola bars and soup mixes yourself. Finally, don’t forget to pack your MRE with utensils, matches, disposable wipes and other non-edible items that will make it easier for you to dig into your MRE.
When assembling your MRE, group your items in such a way that you can have a complete meal for each pack. This means each pack should have foods with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Don’t forget your spices and non-food items. Put all the items in a Mylar bag and use a vacuum sealer to keep them fresh.
More meal ideas for DIY MREs
Consider adding the following foods to your MRE. These can be easily rehydrated with boiling water:
- Beef stew – To make ready-to-eat beef stew, add beef jerky, onion and garlic powder, slices of dried, cooked carrots and potatoes, spices and beef bouillon to a Mylar bag.
- Vegetable rice – To make instant vegetable rice, add instant rice, dried peas, green bean pieces and dried, cooked carrots to a Mylar bag. This makes the perfect accompaniment to freshly caught fish.
- Instant tomato soup – Powdered tomato is the soup base for this MRE. You can even add other healthy ingredients like bell peppers, powdered milk and spices to make this soup tastier.
Save money when buying supplies for your survival stockpile by making your own tasty MREs.