Unlike past East Wind events, this year we will not be utilizing the field kitchens to feed attendees. We will provide each attendee with 1 USGI or Canadian Forces equivalent MRE meal per day with the understanding that each attendee will be responsible for the remainder of his or her food requirements. If you choose to prepare foods and use cookware you'll need to bring along cleaning supplies to keep any pots/pans and dishes clean and sanitary.
Choosing the best food options for you
As noted at East Wind you will be provided one MRE per day, it is up to you to provide additional rations for yourself sufficient to maintain operations for 24 hours per day. You may elect to purchase additional US MREs for your remaining meals and snacks. You may elect to assemble country specific foods, bring commercial camping food items such as Mountain House, Alpine Aire, Bridgeford foods or Backpaker’s Pantry type foods or any number pre-prepared food to ensure that you will have the proper amount of calories for every day. The simplest way to ensure you have adequate food for the operational tempo is to purchase the appropriate amount of MREs for the event.
Also be aware that your grocery store now has a lot of retort pouch based options these days. Your food items should provide a balanced diet and since you will be engaged in lots of activity at all hours of the night and day these calories should not consist of cheese doodles and candy bars. These are empty calorie foods and will not provide you the necessary energy to participate. Properly planning your food requirements for the week is just as important as planning your missions.
If you are assembling your own ration packs it is recommended that you plan for two additional meals plus snacks with balanced protein and carbohydrate intakes and three high energy snacks to cover each day. Avoid sugary, processed foods like cookies and candy bars. They're tasty, but they'll give your body little of what it really needs. Also remember that you may be sweating, know that your body will need at least a little sodium (think beef jerky or salted peanuts/trail mix.) Also be aware of the packaging and be aware that what you carry into the field on missions you will need to carry out. If you are unsure of where to start spend some time on the internet reading some back packing sites, they have a wealth of practical information.
If you elect to purchase UK rations to supplement the provided MRE; the British Army 24-Hour ration pack is designed to feed one person for one 24 hour period and has been designed to provide a balanced nutritional diet. They may be eaten hot or cold and provides an average of 3800-4200 Kcal per ration; average weight is 3.9 lbs which is on par with three US MREs averaging 4.1lbs. They include a breakfast meal,a lunch meal, a dinner meal and several snacks and sweets. You can find a list of the contents to copy in this thread: http://www.operationeastwind.com/forum/index.php?topic=2767.30
The breakfast, main meal, soup and dessert rations are of the boil-in-a-bag (retort pouch) variety and can be heated up by submerging them in boiling water heated up on a Hexamine or gas stove. The drinks are in instant and/or powdered form. Any of the contents can be eaten cold but hot food is always better in terms of taste and your morale. These are wet pack foods which do not have to be re-hydrated or cooked to eat. A drawback to the UK rations is that they do not contain flameless heaters as found in the US rations. This means that to heat your meals you will need a mess tin or canteen cup (not a plastic P58 version) to heat the water that you submerge the retort pouch into. On the upside, after you've heated up the meal the hot water can be used for one of the ration’s hot beverages (tea or hot chocolate).
If you like you can also purchase US flameless ration heaters for use with the retort meals just be sure to test them when they arrive. The bulk purchased ones from surplus sites generally have a failure rate of 50%. Your mess tin/canteen cup and stove has a 100% success rate of heating your chow so even if you purchase FRHs having your mess tin and stove as insurance would be a wise move.
The section may decide to organize cooking of fresh food for some meals as well. There is no refrigeration so plan wisely regarding perishable food items.