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The Nutritional Value of MREs: How many calories do I need? What are my meal choices?

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The Nutritional Value of MREs: How many calories do I need? What are my meal choices?

Whether you’re stocking up in case of emergency or going camping, MREs are an excellent source of nutrition when you don’t have access to regular foods. MREs, short for Meals Ready To Eat, began as a design by the United States government to feed troops who were deployed and out in the field. These meals contain all of the required nutrients that were necessary to feed a soldier and gave them the strength needed for a typical day. As a result, MREs became a great option for meal emergency preparedness because it provides vital nutrients and a balanced meal needed for survival.

Yet, some people argue that canned beans and backpacking foods, such as nutrition bars, can provide the same benefits as MREs. However, regular backpacking meals may only contain 400 to 600 calories, while MREs can contain as many as 1200 calories in one meal. But, how many calories do you actually need?

It is necessary to consider the amount of calories you will need to consume. This can be determined by the level of physical activity you will be doing as well as how much you weigh.  An average person can maintain health on 1200 - 2000 calories per day but this is bases on personal factors of age, weight, health, BMI and gender.  When you are burning fuel doing higher level activities such as hiking ,combat or survival this can increase 50 - 100%.  Consult a calorie calculator to see where you stand.   In order to maintain the energy needed to survive under extreme conditions, the body requires even more calories.  If for example, you only need to survive consider that for an average of 500 calories per day less you will loose weight and your health can suffer.  That is why Army Navy Outdoors recommends stocking up on MREs because they provide calorie dense meals you will need in high energy situations.  A standard issue meal for example is 1300 calories! 

Another added benefit to MRE nutrition is the wide variety of choices. For instance, our GI 1000 MRE Case of 12 includes:

  • Entrée: Variety of beef, chicken, pork or vegetarian options
  • Bread Item: Crackers, breads or tortilla
  • Spread: Peanut butter, cheese spread, fruit jellies, fruit jams or other snacks
  • Nut raisin mix, dry fruit mix, corn nuggets or others
  • Side: Wet packed fruit, side dishes, bars or others
  • Dessert: Puddings, pound cakes, brownies, dessert cookies or others
  • Beverage: Single or assorted fruit flavored drink mixes or others available
  • Beverage Bag: Hot beverage bag
  • Accessory Kit Includes: Single serve instant coffee, heavy-duty military spoon, brown napkin, salt, pepper, non-dairy cream, sugar and moist towelette

Feel confident with the amount of calories and nutrients you are consuming and stock up with MREs. Canned food, just won’t cut it; supply your family with the best options for emergency or outdoor use.   Shop our MRE selections at  Want to know more about MRE's? Read our blog on How long MREs last or give us a call at 904-725-5000.