A Look at Army MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)

Thanks to innovative processing techniques, soldiers are eating better than ever.

from Reader's Digest Magazine | November 2009
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Packaging

There is only one glass item found in any MRE: a mini bottle of Tabasco sauce. The condiment ate through almost every other kind of packaging.

Nutrition

Each of these military meals, with a beverage and sides, gives soldiers 1,300 calories, plus nutrients for endurance on the front lines.

Cost to military: $7.24 per package

Can survive 3 years at 80 degrees and still taste good

Packaged in a 4-layer shell that keeps out water and oxygen

Can withstand a 150-foot plunge without a parachute

Weight (g): 226.9
Calories: 379.99
Protein (g): 19.52
Carbs (g): 36.4
Fat (g): 16.96
Chol (mg): 44.96

Variety

New entrées, like chicken fajitas, cater to the military's growing Hispanic population, now 13.5%.

Cost

The military buys $4.5 billion worth of food products every year.

Zapplesauce

Zapplesauce has 11 grams of maltodextrin, a carbohydrate that increases stamina.

Beverages

Add 12 ounces of water and voilà, a lemon-lime- or orange-flavored beverage.

Gum

Each ball of Stay Alert gum has the same amount of caffeine as a 6-ounce cup of coffee.

Desserts

A delicious dessert almost as good as Mom makes.

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