The top Rated Meals Ready to Eat—also known as the Meal, Ready-to-Eat or the Three-Letter Acronym of TLAs—is the military combat ration. It contains everything a soldier would need to survive in the harshest environments for days, weeks or months at a time. While the MRE was once notorious for its terrible taste, things have improved considerably. The newest meals are even designed to have more savory flavors and to avoid gastrointestinal distress.

Find High-Quality MREs for Purchase

While the MRE may be better than what soldiers once ate, it is still not the best option for civilians. It can be difficult to find and expensive, especially for those who aren’t in the military. There are much better options, like freeze-dried survival food products that are cheaper, lighter and more compact, and are often more palatable as well.

Fortunately, MREs can be purchased on the open market for survivalists, glampers and preppers. Military-grade MREs are available for purchase from a number of retailers and include all the accessories and contents that you would find in an actual combat meal kit. They come with a variety of menus and are packed in insulated foil and plastic bags that provide warmth, which also extends their shelf life.

The MRE is not the most nutritional option and can lead to constipation, but it provides a good source of calories that is easily accessible in the field. The top rated MREs are a mix of entrees and sides, and some include desserts. Some offer more savory entrees like meatloaf and chili, while others have more comfort foods like mashed potatoes and shredded salt meat.