Soldiers on deployment and away from their mess halls rely on "meals, ready to eat," or MREs. These shelf-stable food rations contain an entree, side dishes, snacks and condiments, as well as a flameless heater element. While practical in some ways for feeding soldiers on the front lines, MREs are also bulky. Soldiers who must carry many of them for longer deployments often field strip the rations, or remove the unnecessary components, for more efficient transportation. Those who field strip the MREs should not do so for extended time periods; this reduces calories and can lead to weight loss.
Open the MRE package and locate the main course. Remove the main course from its box. Keep the main course, but discard the box (the meal itself is still sealed in the inner packaging).
Choose the food items you plan to keep. Discard the rest.
Discard any other edible component of the MRE that you do not usually use. This might include a dairy shake and condiments. MREs also might contain candy, coffee, tea, cocoa and other drink mixes.
Eliminate the inedible and unnecessary items, if desired, such as the flameless ration heater, spoon, chewing gum, matches and toilet paper.
Stack all the items you wish to keep into the original MRE packaging. Place them in the packaging so that they fit together as tightly as possible to conserve space. Fold the packaging around the MRE items as snugly as possible.
Wrap the entire package once with duct tape to secure it.
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