DIY Emergency MREs


MRE is an acronym for "Meal, Ready-to-Eat," a food ration that the U.S. military issues to troops on the battlefield. You can make homemade, or do-it-yourself, MREs to serve as food for you and your family in a natural disaster or other emergency. These survival meals should be designed to feed your family for at least 72 hours. You should design your MREs to be eaten with minimal preparation, and they should have a shelf life of three to five years.

Dehydrated Foods

If you have the resources to buy a dehydrator and vacuum sealer, you can create MREs from a variety of meats and vegetables. These MREs are ideal because you can eat meat and vegetables without any preparation, and the food retains its nutrients during the dehydrating process. The best fruits for dehydration are bananas, peaches and apricots. Ideal meats are beef, turkey and venison. In addition to dehydrating meat, which is basically jerky, you can create an MRE by vacuum sealing a variety of nuts. Try almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds and replicate the trail mix that you can buy in stores.

Pre-Packaged Foods

You can create a wide selection of MREs by purchasing canned foods and pre-packaged foods that represent the various food groups. You need at least five cans of tuna to last you 72 hours. Spam is a good MRE, although it has a high salt content. Other good choices for a 72-hour emergency kit are a dozen energy bars that are high in protein and low-salt wheat crackers, to provide you with adequate carbohydrates. You can use a vacuum sealer to seal pre-packaged foods and extend their shelf life. However, most of these products are already sealed and will maintain their freshness for at least three to five years.


MREs are a part of emergency preparation. Also consider that you will need at least a gallon of water per person for a 72-hour period. In addition to your MREs, keep a flashlight and a first aid kit nearby, including sanitation wipes and cleaners. Design a disaster plan that identifies local emergency centers and evacuation routes from your home or office building.

Keywords: MRE, emergency food, survival meals, emergency preparation

About this Author

Graham Beckett is an attorney in Los Angeles who has practiced in California since 2006, providing thoughtful analysis and writing on various legal issues. Additionally, he is an avid surfer, runner, and comedy writer, writing and performing in various sketch shows throughout Los Angeles.

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