Soldiers in combat require massive amounts of energy to be able to endure the tough conditions. To fuel their bodies, they must consume about 3,600 calories (or units of energy) every day -- nearly twice the amount that teenagers back home need to stay healthy! Each soldier carries his own food -- a portable meal (called an MRE, or Meal, Ready to Eat) that's lightweight, nonperishable, and tasty. These meals contain entrees and side dishes, snacks, and drinks as well as a flameless ration heater -- a plastic pouch that heats food when a soldier adds water.
Food scientists at an Army research lab in Natick, Massachusetts, want soldiers to enjoy their menu selections. But more than that, they must ensure that the vitamins, minerals, and calories in each ration meet the required levels. Creating safe and tasty food is an art, but it's also a science!
Meals Ready to Eat