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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

A Look at Army MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)

What are they, and what’s in them?

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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A delicious dessert almost as good as Mom makes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest