Are MRE Meals Safe To Eat While Pregnant?

Your diet is extremely important during pregnancy and is something to pay attention to. Because of that, you may be wondering whether or not it’s a good idea to eat MREs during pregnancy.

It is not recommended that you eat MRE meals while pregnant. MRE meals are extremely high in sodium and they may not have enough nutritional value when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy.

There are many other things to know about why it’s not recommended to consume MREs during pregnancy, as well as other things to avoid eating while pregnant. Let’s dive right in!

Why Aren’t MREs Safe To Eat While Pregnant?

If you were to eat one MRE meal during your pregnancy, it wouldn’t harm your pregnancy, but it’s not recommended that MREs are used as your main nutrition source.

High Sodium Levels- Sodium isn’t bad during pregnancy, in fact, you must consume sodium, however, you do not want to overdo it. There are extremely high levels of sodium in MRE meals. The average amount of sodium found in MREs is 3800 milligrams. The recommended salt intake for a pregnant woman is around 2300 milligrams per day. Source.

MRE MealSodium
Chicken Breast3375 Milligrams
Beef Patty4305 Milligrams
Cheese Omelette4260 Milligrams
Vegetable Manicotti 3325 Milligrams
Average3816 Milligrams

Low In Dietary Fiber– MRE meals do not contain enough fiber to sustain a diet during pregnancy. You must consume good amounts of fiber. Fiber assists in proper digestion during pregnancy and provides very important nutrients. It also helps pregnancy weight gain remain under control and helps control blood glucose levels.

Short Shelf Life In Hot Conditions- If you store MRE meals in temperatures above room temperature, there is a chance that they will go bad. If you consume an MRE when it has gone bad it may result in food poisoning, which of course is not ideal for your or the baby. The different types of bacteria that could accumulate from improper storage include listeriosis, salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, and toxoplasmosis.

MREs Designed For The Use Of Pregnant Service Members

The department of defense has unveiled new MREs specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of pregnant service members.

There is an MRE designed for pregnant service members that contains chocolate-covered bacon-flavored strawberries, fried chicken, and ice cream. Researchers are also looking to add many more things to the MREs designed for pregnant service members. They are looking to add things like pork rinds, caramel popcorn, sliced cucumbers, bacon ranch dressing, blueberry muffin tops, and creamy garlic mashed potatoes.

As you can see, many of those foods are a lot more appealing than regular MREs. The meals are designed to also satisfy one’s pregnancy cravings, as well as sustain a healthy diet.

The department of defense and researchers are also working on hassle-free packaging that can be opened with one hand.

Storing MRE Meals Properly

MRE meals do not show an expiration date on them, which may lead you to think that they never go bad. The meals do go bad and will go bad quickly if you do not store them properly.

MREs will last longer the colder it is. If MREs are stored at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, they should last up to 5 years. As the temperature increases, the MRE will go bad quicker. Make sure that the temperature is cold, but not frozen. It’s not recommended that you freeze your MREs because the packaging could potentially break.

Do not store your MRE meals near any sharp objects. This could result in a damaged or punctured food pouch. It will go bad if it’s exposed to oxygen. Ideally, you should store your MREs in a dry cellar or basement. Make sure that they can’t be accessed by pests or rodents.

If you store your MREs at a cooler temperature, according to most manufacturers, it tastes a lot better. If you store these meals in a cool, dry warehouse or basement, they can last up to 10 years.

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

You must pay close attention to your diet when pregnant. It is very important to provide your body with nutritionally high food so that you and your baby are getting the vitamins and nutrients you need. There are also many foods to avoid when pregnant.

High Mercury Fish

If consumed during pregnancy, high mercury fish can cause developmental problems in children. It causes problems in the nervous system, the immune system, and the kidneys.

High mercury fish include:

  • shark
  • swordfish
  • king mackerel
  • tuna
  • marlin
  • tile fish
  • orange roughly

Raw Fish

If you are a big fan of sushi, this one may be tough to swallow. Raw fish can cause several infections. Those infections can include norovirus, vibrio, salmonella, and listeria.

Pregnant women are very susceptible to listeria infections. Women can actually be up to 10 times more likely to become infected by listeria than the general population. Source

Even if you are not showing any signs of illness, listeria bacteria can be passed to your baby through the placenta. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and many other health problems for the baby.


It’s okay to drink caffeine when pregnant, but you will need to limit your daily intake if you are a big caffeine drinker. It’s advised that you limit your daily caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day, when pregnant. Source

Caffeine passes easily into the placenta because it absorbs very quickly. High levels of caffeine can then build up because the placentas don’t have the main enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine.

Consuming high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy can lead to slow fetal development and the risk of low birth weight at delivery.


When pregnant, it is advised that you completely restrict your intake of alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Even a small amount of alcohol can potentially impact your infant’s brain development.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy creates something called fetal alcohol syndrome. This involves heart defects, facial deformities, and intellectual disabilities which can affect you and your child for life.

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