Meals ready to eat such as one from XMRE offer a great option on a quick hot meal that will offer you all of the required nutrition that your body needs. They’re easy to prepare and easy to store and carry. Lightweight and fully cooked you simply can’t go wrong.
A Bit Of History On Meals Ready To Eat
Meals ready to eat were designed by the United States government for the troops that were deployed and in need of a hot and healthy meal out in the field. These meals come in a pre-packaged mylar type package and have all of the components of a healthy nutritious meal for our deployed soldiers. They come with a flameless rations heater that will heat the meal to a serving temperature. This FRH offers soldiers who are out in the field the ability to have a hot and healthy meal regardless of where they are located.
Meals ready to eat replaced the canned foods that the soldiers previously carried. The meals ready to eat were much preferred as they were pre-cooked and thus lighter weight. This helped to keep the soldier’s packs lighter and easier to carry. It also helped to give the soldiers more variety of foods and better nutrition than the canned foods could provide. Plus, they could be served hot, canned foods could be heated, but it would take a flame that might give away the soldiers location if they were to build a fire to heat a meal.
Military meals ready to eat also included such things as toilet paper, tobacco sauce and a piece of gum. Civilian meals ready to eat do not contain these particular items.
Civilians Discover Meals Ready To Eat
Over the course of time civilians discovered that these meals ready to eat were an ideal addition to emergency food stores. They began seeking them out and adding them to their preparations for emergency food supplies. Unfortunately, at the time, they were only available through the military and it was illegal to sell them to civilians.
With the threat of Y2K, many were seeking alternative resources for food stores and companies began to crop up that would sell civilian versions of the meals ready to eat to anyone who wanted them. Thus, a new revolution was born and preppers everywhere flocked to the sites to buy their own meals ready to eat and be prepared for any emergency.
When most people consider emergency kit supplies, they picture 5 gallon buckets of grains or flour that allow them to be prepared for an emergent situation. However, the meals ready to eat are just that, meals ready to eat. They’re ready to eat, lightweight, portable and an ideal solution for food storage.
What Does A Meal Ready To Eat Contain?
Prepared in advance, these are then placed into the packages that they will be served from. They contain all of the required nutrients that will provide the person with a healthy meal. Most contain anywhere from 400 to 3000 calories per meal/package. The average meal will contain 1250 calories although this may vary according to brand and the particular entre that is being chosen.
Users can then choose which meal they wish to eat during that mealtime and add in the required water that will be used when heating the meal to serving temperature. Most of the meals will have all of the required condiments such as salt, pepper, sauces if they are desired, utensils and a dessert as well as a beverage of either juice, tea, coffee or an energy drink.
These are available in several different versions including:
These are individual entree servings that are typically grain or meat based. Today, there are also some vegetarian versions that are available on the market. Everything from stroganoff to meatloaf is available in entrees. Most are very tasty and will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Frequently, all that is needed is a quick “pick-me-up” snack. This sweet or salty snack is often a trail mix that may or may not include candy coated chocolate. It may also include pretzels, dried fruits or snack crackers. It also includes beverages in the snacks such as fruit drinks or electrolyte replacement drinks or powdered mix to mix with the water in the canteen.
This is the full deal. Here you’ll find the entree, the side dishes and a dessert along with the beverages that would be included in a meal such as coffee, tea, powdered fruit drink mix or some other type of beverage. This offers the most nutrition and will provide an adult with 1/3 of their daily calorie requirements and plenty of energy to make it through.
Who Should Use Meals Ready To Eat?
Meals ready to eat are ideal to use for emergency food preparation. If you’re stockpiling food for a potential emergency, you may wish to invest in a few cases of meals ready to eat to keep in your food supply. They have a shelf life of up to 5 years although they’re said to last as long as 25 years. Keep in mind that the sooner they are eaten after their manufacture date, the better they’re going to taste. While they may last as long as 25 years, they will certainly taste better if they’re eaten in the first 5 years after they’ve been manufactured.
Meals ready to eat are also ideal for backpackers, hikers who don’t plan to be gone overnight (but accidents do happen and should be prepared for), campers, busy workweeks (beats fast food), parents who have kids in sports or other extracurricular activities, and anyone who may wish to have some snacks on hand at work, home, the office or in the car for emergencies.
Anyone who lives in a region that may have natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, or other such disasters may also wish to have a small supply of these on hand to eat in case of emergency. By keeping a small supply at work, home, in the vehicles and outbuildings and wherever else they may spend their time (the locker at the gym), they can be prepared for an emergency just about anywhere that they happen to be when it happens.
How Does An Meal Ready To Eat Work?
Meals ready to eat work in 3 very easy steps.
Step 1: Open up your package and read the instructions. They will be in various packages so find the entree and open it and follow the instructions. Since these are already prepared, you can eat them just as they are, or you can move on to step 2 and heat them.
Step 2: Heat your meal with the flameless ration heater. This involves you adding approximately an ounce of water to activate the heater. If you don’t have a flameless ration heater you can put your meal package in boiling water for about 5 minutes. If you don’t have access to boiling water you can leave it near a campfire, or allow the sunlight to heat it or as a last resort if you have access to a microwave you can remove it to a serving dish and heat it in the microwave.
Step 3: Allow your package to cool enough to safely handle it without burning yourself and open it facing away from you and enjoy your now hot meal.
It’s that simple. You’ve just prepared your meal and are ready to eat a hot and healthy meal that will provide your body with all of the proper nutrition that is required to keep you going in any situation.
Common Questions Regarding Meals Ready To Eat
How do I read the expiration date?
Each different brand of meals ready to eat has their own version of writing the expiration date. This is typically done on one end of the packaging on the “crimped edge”. Typically, the first digit of the number will be representative of the year. The last 3 digits would be representative of the day. Thus, if you’re reading a number and it’s 7304, then it was manufactured on the 304th day of 2007, thus, October 31, 2007. Occasionally there will be a letter on the package as well. Keep in mind that each particular manufacturer tends to write this slightly differently so you may wish to double check on their particular website on exactly how they write it out.
Is there a shelf life for meals ready to eat?
Most meals ready to eat should be eaten within 5 years of the manufacturer date for best taste. While they may last as long as 25 years, they will lose flavor and may become stale.
Is there a difference between a full meal and an entree?
A full meal includes the dessert, side dishes and beverages and the entree alone is just that, the entree. Most people keep both on hand for those times when a full meal is desired or when they’re simply in need of an entree to go with a salad or something.
What is the caloric value of meals ready to eat?
This number will vary according to whether or not you’re eating a full meal or just an entree or snacks. An entree or snacks may have as few as 200 calories while a full meal may have as many as 3000 calories.
Can the flameless heaters be purchased separately?
Yes, you can purchase these separately and use them in your meals ready to eat that don’t have them inside of the package.
How should I store my meals ready to eat?
You can store them in your pantry, in plastic 5-gallon buckets with lids that seal, leave them in the case and open them as required, store them in your cupboards or wherever else you may normally store food. Keep in mind if you’re storing food for long periods of time you want to protect it from mice and other rodents or predators so you may wish to invest in some heavy rubberised containers to ensure that no rodents or other predators get to it.
How much of a food supply should I keep stored?
Most people focus on a preset amount of time. They may start with a 72-hour food supply and then depending on their particular reason for storing food they may store food for anywhere from six months to 7 years.
I have food allergies, Can I still buy meals ready to eat?
There are many meals ready to eat that cater to those who have food allergies. Whether you’re gluten-free, allergic to shellfish, can’t have dairy or some other food allergy read the fine print and check for specialty products. Many of the manufacturers are beginning to produce more allergen-free meals ready to eat so just keep an eye out and be sure to read the ingredients label. In most cases, you’ll find a few entrees and snacks that you can have that won’t affect your food allergies.
Where Can I Find Meals Ready To Eat?
Online: Meals ready to eat can be found in a variety of locations. You can find them online at several different websites. Each site will have different options available. You may be able to mix and match flavors on some sites and other sites will only sell by the case. You can pick and choose variety packs as well.
Auction Sites: There are often meals ready to eat available on online auction sites. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s dates on these as you don’t know how long they’ve been lying around and you want to make sure that what you’re purchasing is as fresh as possible.
Surplus Stores: Surplus stores often have meals ready to eat available. These are often partial cases or single packs as they have been leftover from deployments or other situations where the military has leftovers. You can find these at steep discounts, but again, be sure that you check the manufacturer dates before you buy.
Big Box Stores: Often these stores will have bulk foods sections that may include meals ready to eat. They are very likely to be found in cases and not in individual packages here. You can also find them in the camping section of such stores and take advantage of them there.
Camping Or Sporting Goods Stores: If you’re into camping you’re likely to find meals ready to eat in camping or sporting goods supply stores. They’ll be in the food section often near the camp stoves. They may also have other packaged foods here that will be available for sale as well.
Backpacking Stores: If you’re into backpacking they frequently have these available in stores that offer backpacking supplies. These are ideal as they are lightweight so you can carry several in your pack which is great if you’re going to be gone for a week or longer.
How To Find Deals On Meals Ready To Eat
Many people stress over the price of meals ready to eat. Since they are frequently only sold by the case it can quickly become very expensive to order these. Here are a few ways to find some great deals on them and save a few dollars.
Sign up for the company newsletter. Many of the companies will offer specials each month on particular varieties. You can stock up on these particular varieties each month and save a bundle. Just watch to see what is on sale and stock up when your favorites are on sale. Some will also offer sample sales and you can buy samples and stock up that way. Keep an eye on several different websites and watch for the deals. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to find deals when you’re signed up for their newsletters. At present, one site has a deal on that goes along with the Olympics. Watch for specials and when you see them, stock up on them and you can save a bundle.
Watch for “buy one get one” or “BOGO” deals. These don’t come along often but when they do it’s a great way to stock up.
Join a prepper group or a co-op group and save by buying in bulk. You can often get steep discounts when you buy in bulk so you’re sure to save a bundle. Just make sure that the group you’re joining works with you to stockpile healthy food for emergencies.
Watch for deals on sites like Amazon or use gift cards that you’re given for holiday’s and birthdays. While you’re still spending money, if you were given giftcards this is essentially gifted money so you’re not really out of pocket money in the long run.
If you have coupons for other stores such as sporting goods stores, big box stores etc. you may be able to use these towards your meals ready to eat. Keep an eye out for deals like $5 off of $25 or some such deals at these particular stores and you may be able to save a few dollars on them at these stores.
Church groups also offer benefits of bulk purchases. A few religions believe in having a six month to a 7-year food supply on hand at all times. If you’re a part of one of these you may be able to take advantage of some bulk sales and find some great deals on meals ready to eat as well.
If you’re buying on online auctions you may find some deals here as well. Some sellers will get rid of back stock frequently so watch for deals like this and take advantage of them for your benefit. Simply follow specific sellers and watch for the deals. When you see them you can then take advantage of them and save a bundle.
Some sites will also offer budget-friendly options and if you set a budget they will suggest what you might wish to buy in that particular price range. Keep in mind too that if you buy by the case or pallet you’re going to save a lot of money as well. If you can save up and buy in bulk you’ll actually be getting your entrees for a discount even though it may not seem like it. Some sites also offer deals where if you buy so many cases you can get something for free. This is also a great way to save some money on your meals ready to eat.
Now that you know what they are and how to buy them, you can make an educated decision on what sort of meals ready to eat you wish to buy for your family and food supplies. Whether you’re a doomsday prepper, simply preparing for emergencies such as an earthquake or hurricane or you’re a camper that likes to have food that is easy to pack and keep on hand, you’ll have some great options and some great ideas on how to save money on your meals ready to eat.
If you’re patient and combine many of the above-mentioned ideas you’re sure to find a few ways to save some money on your meals ready to eat and stock your pantry full of delicious meals ready to eat for you and your family. Mix and match the options mentioned to your advantage and you’re sure to save a bundle and stay well within your budget.
Meals ready to eat are an ideal way to stockpile some healthy food for you and your family. They’re always at the ready and are a good alternative to fast food for busy families and those who are traveling. Mix and match them to your advantage and you’re sure to have a healthy meal next time you need one. Just add water and activate your flameless ration heater and you’ll have a hot meal at the ready when you want it. It’s quick and easy and they’re delicious. Everything you need for a healthy meal is right at your fingertips and you’ll save a lot of time and money when you go this route.