How MREs Work

What's Inside?

Contents of an MRE bag

Imagine that you are a soldier on the battlefield. You are far from a mess tent with its portable kitchen, so you pull an MRE out of your backpack or your vehicle. You might, for example, pull out a "Chicken in Thai Style Sauce" meal. The entire meal is packaged in a heavy plastic bag. Inside the bag, you find:

  • One box measuring 8-1/4" by 4-3/4" by 3/4" inches labeled "Chicken in Thai Style Sauce". Inside the box is a flexible pouch containing an 8-ounce (227 gram) serving of chicken and sauce. This is the entrée.
  • One box measuring 7-1/2" by 4-3/4" by 3/4" inches labeled "Yellow and Wild Rice Pilaf". Inside the box is a flexible pouch containing a 5-ounce (142 gram) serving of rice.
  • One flameless heater (see next section).
  • One 1.4 ounce (40 gram) foil package of crackers.
  • One 1.3 ounce (37 gram) Nutra Fruit cereal bar.
  • One packet of spiced cider drink mix
  • One packet of instant coffee
  • One packet sugar
  • One packet salt
  • One packet pepper
  • One packet grape jelly
  • One piece chewing gum
  • One moist towelette
  • One pack matches
  • One packet toilet paper
  • One plastic spoon

All together, this meal contains 210 calories for the chicken, 160 calories for the rice, 180 calories for the crackers, 130 calories for the cereal bar and 140 calories for the drink, jelly, etc., for a total of 820 calories for the meal.