When you're in the military, it is routine to eat on the go and these meals are packaged so that you can do so conveniently. They are referred to as meals ready to eat, or MRE for short. These types of MRE meals may come in many different shapes and sizes with a number of options available as far as flavors and even conveniences. It is something that has kept military personnel going when times are tough, so it is also an option that is often considered by civilians as well.
When you first start to look at some of the civilian MRE meals, you might be overwhelmed with just how many choices are available. As a matter of fact, some people end up with analysis paralysis and they do so much research on the subject that they don't choose anything in the end. If you are dealing with a survival situation, however, or even if you're just packing the MRE meal into the woods for a hike, it is important to have them on hand so making a decision and making the purchase is something that should almost be automatic.
Of course, there are a few things to consider and you should not underestimate some of the more popular choices that are available. The following is a short list of some of those options and you can keep these things in mind in order to make the best decision for your needs when times get tough.
Nutrition – One of the most important things to consider when choosing a meal ready to eat package is how much nutrition is included within it. Some MRE companies are not necessarily going to provide all of this information in an easy-to-read format. Others are going to have all of the nutritional information stamped directly on the package. Since nutrition is such an important consideration, make sure that you choose something that is forthcoming with all of the information you would need.
Calories – When it comes to energy, MRE meals provide it in the form of calories. As we noted above, nutrition is also something that is important to consider but the calories are going to make a difference in you getting to the next phase or falling short of the mark. In many cases, you will be able to calculate the number of calories that are needed according to the activity you're doing. These meals come in a wide variety of calorie choices and sometimes, it is considered the primary option. For general needs, a 1000 cal package is going to provide plenty for average activity but you can get up to 3000 cal package or more if it is necessary.
Size – When you are bugging out or if you are packing your way into the woods for a hike, the last thing that you want is to be encumbered by too much weight and bulk. MRE meals are often quite conveniently sized but you still need to look at one and compare it to the others, because there are going to be differences in how much they weigh. Typically, it has to do with calories but there are many other factors that can add to the weight and size as well.
Heating Ability – Some MRE meals are going to include a self-contained heater that makes it very convenient to warm up your meal when you're on the go. This is an option with some of the meals, so make sure that you choose the one that is right for your needs. If you are also packing cooking utensils and gear for other meals, you may not need a self-contained heater.
Taste – Finally, one of the reasons why you are using these meals rather than another option is because it is a convenience that also provides good taste. Some meals are going to be well worth eating and you might even appreciate eating them, even when you're not on the trail. Others are going to be too bland or perhaps even impalpable. With so many options out there, you really don't need to choose something that tastes bad in order to get the nutrition and calories that will help to keep you going.