Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREs

make-your-own-mre'sThis guest post by Bam Bam and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

My dh got me a food saver yesterday and I have wasted no time putting it to use. The first project was to seal up 25 lbs. of NY Strip that I bought on sale. The second project, the subject of this article, was to put together some shelf stable meals for our BOBs. The requirements were that the meals had to be nutritiously balanced and significantly cheaper than MREs. And I wanted the foods to be as close to our ordinary diet as possible so we don’t suffer digestive shock.

I got the inexpensive part down—the meals averaged out to about $3.33 per meal (for one person) with the dinners being slightly more expensive than breakfasts or lunches. The nutritious part still needs work. The inexpensive part was achieved largely by shopping at the dollar store and buying things from Publix BOGO.

For example, I purchased Monet crackers at the dollar store for less than half the price of our grocery store—same brand, same size, half price. To improve upon the nutritious part I plan on replacing the processed food with food from my garden that I dehydrate myself. This is going to be my next big step in meal planning—to take the meals in a jar idea to an all-new level.

(It is absolutely true that there is a learning curve to prepping. You start out by buying stuff that you will need. Then you refine your inventory and get into long-term food storage items. Then you actually learn to make/grow the stuff yourself and how to process it for long-term storage.)

I came up with some ideas that are worth sharing. The best breakfast idea I came up with is to put our regular cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats) into a food saver bag, and add dehydrated banana chips (another dollar store find) and two tablespoons of powdered milk. We can just add water to the bag, stir and eat right from the bag. (What I really want to do is learn to make my own granola from Mormon oatmeal, and then make my own trail mix and food saver that.)

Breakfast

Breakfast

The other important breakfast idea was to include Emergen-C Super Orange electrolyte replacement packets. You pour the packets into a cup of water and drink. I live in Florida and it is very easy to get dehydrated and loose electrolytes. I have also included salt and sugar packets in each meal. (This combo is known as “poor man’s Gatoraid.)

Lunch was more of a challenge. I opted to go with foil packs of premade tuna or chicken salad. (I got these on sale at Publix.) Then I placed individual servings of crackers in food saver bags and sealed them up. (Note: If you have a Food Saver you don’t have to buy the expensive pilot crackers for Emergency Essentials—you can buy cheap dollar store crackers and seal them up—no oxygen, no going stale.) The other lunch option was Top Ramen and canned chicken. I would like to get some freeze-dried veggies to add to the mix. (My dehydrator will be going full speed this year.)

For dinners I planned either Bear Creek chili with crackers or Korr Sides. The Korr sides are somewhat nutritious (they at least have green specks that resemble broccoli) but they take 15 minutes to cook. I am thinking that I can improve upon the Korr Sides by dehydrating my own veggies and adding minute rice and a bullion cube. I have planned on supplementing the Korr Sides with canned chicken.

In the future, I would like to dehydrate my own chicken. I think this would give me more versatility. I have 80 lbs. of Zaycon Food boneless, skinless chicken breast (antibiotic free and hormone free) on the way (for $1.79 lb. – Whoot! Whoot!). I want to try my hand at cooking and dehydrating my own chicken.

Lunch

Lunch

Each meal is individually vacuum sealed so as to save space. Each meal contains eating utensils, extra napkins, salt and pepper, a drink mix packet and an individually wrapped wet wipe. I have added to the calorie count of meals by adding granola bars, power bars and Cliff bars. The lunches and dinners also have desserts: cookies, candy, chocolate bars, and brownies. I have not included gum in any of the meal bags, as we have gum packed in our BOBs already.

In terms of calories, I have tried to make each meal at least 800 calories. If we do have to bug out (hopefully in the vehicles so we don’t have to carry all this food on our backs), we will likely be under considerable stress. Having plenty of food is a good idea. It is very likely that we will encounter good Christian folk who need help; so having a little extra will be a good thing.

These meals will be supplemented with boxes of water and we have Berkey Sport water filters. If we are traveling by vehicle, we will have cases of water.

A central problem with this meal plan is cooking planning or rather fuel planning. (If we can remain at home, our preferred option, cooking will not be an issue as we have a gas stove and a propane camping stove with extra propane tanks (and the converter necessary to run a camping stove from a large tank of propane). And we have a forest behind our house for long term cooking needs.) If we bug out, cooking will be an issue. I can warm water for the coffee, oatmeal and grits using a candle and a camp cup. I have some fire bricks for cooking that are supposed to last half an hour. But I have not tested these yet. Another possibility is the cat food container stove fueled by alcohol. If we are forced to bug out, I need to come up with a better way to cook the Korr Sides.

Do you all have any recommendations?

Below are the meal bags I have put together: breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days for the two of us. Since diversity is essential, I would love to hear your ideas. What food items do you have in your BOB? How do you plan to cook these items?

Since getting my hands on a food saver, I have come to an appreciation of a whole new level of prepping. Before I got the food saver, our BOBs contained mostly snack foods—peanuts, jerky, granola bars, etc. But I would not want to be around myself if I hadn’t eaten a meal in three days. I don’t think my dh would want to be around me either. So my new focus will be on improving the nutrition of our BOB meals. It would be nice to reduce some of the weight as well. I would estimate that our meal bag weighs 25 lbs. I have some 5-gallon buckets that I am going to clean out. I will put our BOB meals in easy-to-carry buckets.

The next step in meal planning will be to pack meals for our dog and our four cats. I think we are going to need a separate BOB for our pets. That is on the “To Do List” for next week. Check list: canned cat food, dry cat food, dog food, dog cookies, and catnip to keep my cats totally stoned out of their minds. LOL

What do you think?

Breakfast

Day 1

  • Oatmeal (3 packets)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee (Folgers Singles)
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet (Emergen-C)

Hard candy

Day 2

  • Grits (3 packets)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet
  • Hard candy

Day 3

  • Cereal (with banana chips and milk powder)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet
  • Hard candy

Lunch

Day 1

  • Tuna salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (packet)
  • Power bar
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Day 2

  • Chicken salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Chicken noodle soup (packet)
  • Power bar
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Day 3

  • Tuna salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Top Ramen
  • Lemon aid packet
  • Freeze dried pineapple
  • Power bar
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Dinner

Day 1

  • Korr Sides: Rice and Broccoli
  • Canned chicken
  • Crackers
  • Raspberry tea
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Cookies

Day 2

  • Bear Creek Chili
  • Crackers
  • Beef jerky
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Cookies

Day 3

  • Korr Sides: Noodles and Broccoli
  • Canned chicken
  • Crackers
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Brownies

This contest will end on April 22 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first…  Birth Happens: things to consider when there is no doctor or hospital available

Also be sure to check out the Preppers Cookbook – the Preppers Cookbook was a joint effort by Wolf Pack members that sent in their best recipes and food prep information and then that information was edited and put together by Bam Bam into a 160+ page cookbook. You can find it here – scroll down the page, you’ll find it near the bottom.

Comments

  1. khbostic says:

    My uncle was a mailman in Detroit suburbs,did the ancestry thing on retirement.Hw stated the 1st generation off the boat rom Ireland landed in Quebec, CA[Canada].and married a full blooded French woman,also fresh off the boat from France.Then there was a Norwegian great granddad,another couple Irish,and French thrown in,along 5 generations.
    My granddad/ma s side, was born in northern Minnesot,when they surveyed,found granddad was born on US soil,so thats how he got citizenship.My granddad migrated to Detroit,eventually had a ma and pop restaurant on the Woodward ave,its the main street,apx 2 blocks from 5 mile intersection,til the 1956/57.They raised rabbits in a colony to get thru the meat rationing of WW2,using chicken recipes on the rabbits,hint ,hint,hint….

  2. James of Wales says:

    Hey guys,

    You may call me whatever you wish 😉 But yeh i will write up an article as soon as i get the chance and start posting like crazy!

    NPTCBC = Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, it’s the area i’m from and the council that runs the area (basically where i work, i’m a leader with the D of E Award scheme in the Neath Port Talbot Area) I’ll explain it in further detail in an article if you wish?

    Um, not a clue whether some of those facts are true, they sound it lol 🙂 But, England is more West of Wales (google a map of Wales and you’ll soon see) And yes a rucksack is indeed a backpack with shoulder straps and a waist strap.

    Hope that’s cleared a few things up, shall get on that article ASAP!

  3. khbostic says:

    Well,I got out my 2011 edition of the World Almanac and BookOfFacts on the population stats.The Ferry/Giant Hovercraft,I saw a documentary on that,like on the Discovery channel.N Ireland is considered part of the UK,has another 1 and a 1/2 million population.
    In America,the English,Irish,and German all have 60 million part blooded of those old countries in a population of 310,212,000 population.Then theres 14% Black and 15% hispanic for the other 2 major ethnic groups.
    I thought I d get in this:one of my maternal granddads recipe on rabbit was chicken salad sandwiches,instead made with rabbit fine diced,add in chopped onions and salad dressing instead of mayo.Extra sweetener is optional,as well as sweet elish being optional.Put it on toast,buttered with lettuce and tomato,slather one piece of toast with more salad dressing.Lettuce and tomato slices optioal,as well as pickle on side ,especially when no relish is added.
    Tuna salad sandwich is the same way,although you may add a dash of vinegar,a splash of mustard,mashed eggs for tuna and egg salad ,eggs by themselves the same way for egg salad sandwiches,and of course full cooked chicken for chicken salad sandwiches…

  4. internalfusion says:

    I highly suggest an alcohol camp stove to heat your food for several reasons:

    1.) Extremely lightweight (ultra light backpackers swear by the things)
    2.) Very efficient use of fuel with the right stove configuration (jet burner style built with coke cans for example)
    3.) No smoke = no positional giveaway
    4.) Did I mention how portable they are?

  5. BamBam,
    a penny stove made from soda cans and 2 large juice cans work well. It folds up to about 4 inches tall and with 1/4 cup of denatured alcohol will boil a quart of water in about 8 minutes. The fuel will burn full steam for about 20-25 minutes. The other one is a wood gas stove which burns smokeless after a few minutes, and you can use materials around you. I’ve not cooked with it yet, so no feedback on that part but it does work well. Both can be found doing a search and made with stuff around home:) Mark

×