MRE Weight Specifications

Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, officially began during the Revolutionary War and consisted of the minimum amount of food necessary to sustain a soldier for one day. The MRE has changed to not only accommodate the caloric needs of soldiers at war but also be lightweight and portable.

  1. Weight Specifications of MREs

    • The official weight requirement, or restriction, of MREs for U.S. soldiers is 1.5 lbs. The actual weight of MREs varies, however, depending on the contents. The average range is 18 ounces to 26 ounces (510 grams to 750 grams).

    Calorie Requirements

    • MREs are designed to sustain soldiers during times of war, although they are used more often during training. The caloric value of a single MRE is meant to provide enough energy (calories) for soldiers burning an average 4000 or more calories per day. Official U.S. military-made MREs contain an average 1000 calories on the basic assumption that the soldier consumes everything in the MRE package. This calorie value can range from slightly less than 1000 calories to around 1200 calories and is nearly double for winter MREs.

    Intended Use

    • Military MREs are designed to sustain a single soldier for up to 21 consecutive days, but most U.S. soldiers do not consume MREs for such a length of time outside of special military training such as Ranger School. MREs are often used in humanitarian missions to help provide sustenance to survivors of natural disasters or in other situations where the U.S. military is helping provide food for masses on a short-term basis.


  • Photo Credit military image by T.Tulic from

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