The first U.S. soldier ration was issued during the Revolutionary War, consisted of enough food to feed a man for one day, mostly beef, peas, and rice. During the Civil War, the military moved toward canned goods and later, self-contained kits were issued as a whole ration that contained canned meat, bread, coffee, sugar and salt.
During the First World War, canned meats were replaced with lightweight preserved meats (salted or dried) to save weight and allow more rations to be carried by soldiers carrying their supplies on foot.
During World War II, a number of new field rations were introduced, including the Mountain Ration, Jungle Ration, C-Ration, and K-Rations.
The MCI (Meal, Combat, Individual) ration was developed and used during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
In 1980, the MRE (Meal, Ready-to Eat) was developed and is currently the main operational food ration for the United States Armed Forces.
The MRE's used today are also great for hiking, camping, and emergency and survival situations.