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The Ins and Outs of MRE’s

Within days after Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of Louisiana, unprepared inhabitants were given MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and high calorie bars by emergency agencies to avoid starvation. This emergency food provided the hungry population with1,200 calorie/a day meals to not only alleviate the hunger, but to provide needed calories and nutrients, and regulate body functions. As unhappy as some of these individuals were for getting MRE’s and high calorie food bars, it saved their lives.

The Ins

MRE’s and high calorie food bars are an excellent altervative food source if no food is available. Although this type of food source is meant to be a temporary source of food and has an acquired taste, it is handy to have on hand when you are in a pinch. During emergency situations, your activity levels significantly increase, if not double. Therefore, more calories will need to be added to the daily diet.

Ideally, in an emergency situation we want to have foods on hand that are high in calories, vitamins, nutrients, and proteins; but in certain cases, we must turn to alternative emergency foods. MRE’s and high calorie bars not only provide a body with high calories, but are a light weight alternative to use in bug out bags [1], carry in vehicle bug out bags [2], and to have on hand in case the primary emergency food source is unavailble. As convenient as these meals are, they should not be your main emergency food source. I like to think of MRE’s as my back-up for my back-up. When purchasing these types of food sources, ensure that you find MRE’s or high calorie bars that are:

The Outs


Because MRE’s are high in fats and low in fiber, they have a tendency to constipate the consumers. Ensure that you have some stool softeners in your medical supplies [4] to help with this problem. Store MRE’s in a cool, dark area where you would normally store your food reserves. If MRE’s are exposed to temperature fluctuations, their expiration dates decrease by 50%. Buying cases of MRE’s could be on the expensive side due to the bulkiness of the MRE’s. On average, a case holds 12 MRE’s. If a person is going to buy a case of these, they should not plan to spend more than $50-$60.

Some of the more popular MRE’s and high calorie food bars are below:

Having a supply of MRE’s and high calorie bars in your preparedness supplies can help assist in sustaining your immediate needs if you happen to be in an emergency situation where you are away from your supplies or in a bug out situation.