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Old 03-11-2016, 08:23 AM   #1
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MRE's - good? bad? OK?

I am considering buying some MRE's for our next trip. There will be some long days on the road, so it would be nice to make the rest of it as easy as possible.

I had some way, way back, but that does not help me these days. I might as well throw them in my shopping basket randomly, from what I know. Are there any flavors, ingredients or types to avoid?

Thanks for ideas or tips.
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Old 03-11-2016, 08:32 AM   #2
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There's so many choices. If you need to be careful of the additives, please read the ingredients. Lots are full of sodium, MSG, etc.

Have you considered freezing food and packing with dry ice in a cooler? How many days are you needing this solution?
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:23 AM   #3
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Too bulky and expensive for my taste.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:30 AM   #4
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Ok, I give. What is it?
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
... If you need to be careful of the additives, please read the ingredients. Lots are full of sodium, MSG, etc....

Right on.. I investigated some pre-packaged foods that would last well past the zombie Apocalypse and found they had so much sodium that, with my high blood pressure, they might kill me faster than the zombies.

I like the idea of have some supplies on hand with an almost infinite shelf life, but the sodium was too much. Of course many other long shelf life foods such as canned soup are not much better.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:33 AM   #6
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Meals Ready to Eat - MREs - military meals - today's modern k-rations.
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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Name: Mon
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They make some pretty good MRE's now, Mountain Home comes to mind. mentioned, often high in sodium.

Here's a suggestion for a somewhat healthier alternative...check your local Craigslist for someone selling their extra Neutrisystem shelf stable meals. Lower sodium, calories and fats. Most things taste decent to great. Maybe a smaller meal than you're used to, but with a salad and/or veggies, quite a good meal. If you're thinking....YUCK Diet food!...and want to "test drive" the food, you can pick up a one week sample at Walmart. Pricier than buying off Craigslist, though. Jenny Craig would also be a choice, but I haven't seen them for sale on Craigslist.

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Old 03-11-2016, 09:48 AM   #8
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Hoo-boy. I had to eat these at one point in my career - both the old and the new, "state of the art" ones. The main advantages were, they were compact, light weight, and didn't require refrigeration. The main disadvantages are that they only vaguely resemble the food you might prepare yourself, and still require some preparation (heating). The list of ingredients is pretty scary and they're not cheap. In a national emergency they might keep you alive. Otherwise I'd do anything else.

Thought of going mostly vegetarian for your travel days?
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Old 03-11-2016, 09:53 AM   #9
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Forgot to say, you DO need a microwave or oven for most meals. Buying off Craigslaist is cheaper than MRE's.

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Old 03-11-2016, 09:53 AM   #10
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My suggestion would be to contact someone you know who is in the Guard or Reserve who has dined on MREs recently. It's been several years for me so my opinion might not be valid as contents may have changed. 10 years ago, my favorite was beef and noodles. They are pricy when bought at surplus stores, I agree. We used to get them for Scouts as a "treat" lunch from people with "connections".
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:01 AM   #11
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Sams Club has some MRE like meals called HeaterMeals EX that say they have a 3 to 5 year shelf life. Not sure if they are any good as I never tried them but the sodium in the various meals vary from 440 mg up to 710 mg depending on the meal.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:01 AM   #12
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Name: Charles
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Ok thanks. They seem a bit pricy as well
I usually precook several meals at home and bring with me either in tupperware or freezer bags and just heat um up or nuke um in the microwave.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:09 AM   #13
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Don't know about what other peoples' experience with them are, but for me during my military service times, MRE's always gave me the runs. FWIW.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:24 AM   #14
Name: Arnold
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MREs, I just checked the prices on base at the commissary the other day. The cost is $100.00 for a case of 12. You can buy them individually for a little over $8.00. You do not need a microwave or an oven for any of them. They come with a little heating packet that works fine. Of course an oven or microwave is much easier. As for flavor, a couple are okay, most are good, and some are great. The Chicken Fajita meal is super. The upside of MREs are many the downsize are few. As for the sodium issue, you don't have to bring salt with you.
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Old 03-11-2016, 10:25 AM   #15
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Name: Steve
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I retired from the military in 2003. up until that point, they were not that good. Although they had gotten better than they were in the 80's and 90's.
We always called MREs "Meals ready to excrete" or "meals rejected by Ethiopians"!
Sorry if that inappropriate!
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:52 PM   #16
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Good to Go Dehydrated Gourmet Meals

My sons did the Appalachian Trail last year and they swear by these meals. They are expensive, so only to be used occasionally as a real treat. You can get a discount if you buy in bulk. Since my boys were hiking and burned so many calories, they each ate the double portion for one meal. But if you supplement with a bag of salad, probably could feed two people with one double meal. That would bring the cost down considerably.

After trying all the varieties, the ones they liked best are the Thai Chicken and Herbed Mushroom Rissotto.

Shop - Good To-Go

Here is another idea for an easy instant meal straight from the cooler with no cooking:

Ranch dressing
Louis Rich or Purdue oven roasted chicken breast cuts (purchase cooked in supermarket)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Bag of mixed greens in a large plastic ziplock bag
tortilla chips

Add everything except the chips to the plastic bag with the mixed greens. Shake. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:05 PM   #17
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Name: Jack L
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Real MRE meals (US govt. issued) are sometimes available at military surplus stores as individual meals. I was in a surplus store and some servicemen came in to sell some. The store owner gave them cash and put them up for sale. I got to talking to the servicemen and they had been supplied to them for some assignment. Instead of eating the supplied meals, they got pizza and did not want the MRE meals. I guess this happens a lot. To some young people a bag of Doritos or Cheetos is a complete meal too.

Canned soup, chili and stew along with instant mashed potatoes are my emergency go to meals.
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Old 03-11-2016, 03:45 PM   #18
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Name: Lyle
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How about dehydrating your own meals?

Lightweight, compact, you control all of the ingredients, easy to re-hydrate with just a camp stove, long shelf life with no refrigeration, can have great flavor and texture, endless possibilities, as cheap as cooking at home (plus cost of running a dehydrator). Best and most economical to do it yourself, but there are companies that sell ingredients in bulk that you mix and match to create your own meals. I dehydrate 90% of my own food when backpacking.
Home dehydrating is fun and easy.

For pre-dehydrated ingredients try (their kits make a LOT of meals):
Harmony House Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Foods

Or you can just dehydrate certain ingredients, then use them to cook as you normally would. I dehydrated a bunch of ground beef in the past, use it for cooking casseroles, spaghetti, Chile, etc. at home and cannot tell from fresh. Many dehydrated veggies and fruits, sauces, etc can be combined with fresh foods when cooking.

An EXCELLENT book for those who are interested (particularly his tips on dehydrating meat):
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:08 PM   #19
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Name: sharon
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for me, MRE's are tastier than camping food & lower sodium. as the others have stated they are NOT visually appealing but are fast, easy & nutritional. some are much tastier than others, and there's enough stuff in there you won't go hungry if you don't eat it all. its all about what you want to do - if you have the time & inclination to cook real food, go for it. for me, I'm on a rock dig & come "home" to the egg so tired I can't see straight. I want fast & easy before I fall out! good luck!
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:32 PM   #20
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Assuming you mean actual MREs, not "dehydrated camping food", I would go with something else. Personally. But you know best what kind of food you can tolerate.

When I did some wildland fire fighting, we ate a good amount of MREs. They are adequate, and actually kind of good in a processed-food guilty-pleasure sort of way for a young person but no way I'd eat them now unless it was an emergency.

The backpacking freeze-dried meals are much better, in my opinion, but I would still only eat them backpacking. They just aren't that good.

It really depends on you. For me, I'd rather eat "real" food, even if that means a quick pb&j sandwich, or really any other kind of sandwich. There are plenty of things you can eat for quick meals that aren't demolished beyond all recognition of "food", then pieced back together to resemble food.

There are a lot of studies done to make MREs as good as possible. But they're as good as possible for "non-perishable, non-refridgerated, ready to eat pack you full of calories for a war zone atmosphere." They are meant for someone working hard. Not someone sitting on their butt all day driving around.
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