MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are great survival foods. Each MRE has a main course, one side, crackers or bread, a peanut butter/jelly/cheese spread, some sort of dessert plus candy, beverage powder, a heater, and sometimes hot sauce or chili powder. Even though MREs are meant to be eaten three times a day, you can easily survive on one a day for a short period of time during an emergency. The heater is water activated and meant to warm your food to make it more palatable, but it is not necessary. NOTE: The “smoke” that is produced from the heater reacting with the water can be dangerous if you directly inhale a large amount – be sure to use it in a well ventilated area. Also, the heater can be used to warm your body, but wait several minutes before trying this and don’t put it directly on your skin, or it will burn you.
Another crucial thing about MREs is that they have a separate sealed bag containing matches, powdered creamer (which is flammable), salt, sugar, a small amount of toilet paper, and 2 pieces of chewing gum. The MRE bag itself can also be used to hold water. Essentially, a MRE is a small scale survival kit – food, fire means, and water container. There are multiple commercially made versions of MREs – some good and some not so good. Keep in mind “caveat emptor” (buyer beware).