Videos: Today's Military
  • Army

    Military Food: Inside an MRE(02:18)

    Most of the time, service members eat regular food. Whether in an on-base dining facility (DFAC), camp kitchen, restaurant or in their own kitchens, service members have access to the same cuisine options as civilians. But during a mission it’s not always practical to spend a lot of time preparing and eating food. That’s where the “Meal, Ready-to-Eat” (MRE) comes in. An MRE is a prepackaged meal that comes with a Flameless Ration Heater (FRH) so service members can have a hot meal quickly, without fire. MREs may also be eaten unheated. They are nutritionally balanced and contain about 1,250 calories’ worth of food, including an entrée, dessert, snacks and beverage. They come in 24 flavors, some of which are vegetarian. MREs are required to withstand parachute drops of 1,250 feet and are edible for three years or more.

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Speaker 1: Hey, today we're going to talk about the Army MRE, "meal ready to eat." A lot of people have heard tons and tons of stories about how bad these things are — it's really, really not true. So what we're going to do is we're going to open one up. What I have here today is, this is number 12, and it's the bean and rice burrito, and it's vegetarian.

So once we open this up, the first thing we're going to see — this is peaches, and they all come in this handy dandy brown piece of paper, keeps your meal all ready to go. These are not dehydrated. This is all squishy, believe me, this really tastes good — peaches, real peaches.

The next thing we're going to see is a fruit bar. Now, I can actually open up the fruit bar because it's not going to make a whole mess everywhere. The next thing that we're going to look at, and this is — it might make a little bit of a mess, but I'll open it up anyways — it's called pound cake. This is just like civilian pound cake, may not taste as good, but it's something that is not that bad. Not dehydrated, again it's fresh. It actually doesn't taste bad.

OK, in here is all your little accessories. You have your gum. You have matches. You have as much toilet paper as you need, right there. That's your toilet paper. Salt. People who like peanut butter, we have peanut butter. Really, really good, you put it on crackers, which we'll get to in a second. And now that I've brought that up, I actually have crackers in here, peanut butter and crackers. Now, for the people who love to have their stuff heated up — you can eat these. You don't need to heat them up. They are edible right out of the package.

This is our little heater system. In here, it's a chemical reaction. Pour a little bit of water in the bottom. Dump your main meal — which we haven't gotten to — into this. Ten minutes goes by. A bunch of steam comes out of here, and it's all nice and ready to eat.

Now our main meal: This is the black bean burrito and rice. Once again, take it out of the package. This is something that we just can't open up, but it's actually beans and rice in here. Now, what you want to do, just so that you don't get burned, you want to probably shove all this stuff in one of these little extra pouches; they also serve different purposes. Set it aside. Ten minutes later you've got food. And to add to your rice and bean burritos is picante sauce. So, if you have any other questions, or if you ever thought about asking any questions about an MRE, you just had a quick class on the MRE.