MRE Kits: Chopped Challenge

During an inservice, our local National Guard did a presentation for us on how they could be a post-secondary option for students upon graduation. They also shared some opportunities they could offer the school such as knocker balls, rock climbing walls and my favorite…the MRE Kits: Chopped Challenge. Keep reading to learn more about this fun event!


  • The first thing you will need to do is contact your local National Guard to see if they would be willing to do this presentation and challenge with your school.
  • If they are interested, but need more information on how to run it, they can contact my representative for more details. His contact information will be in the presentation attachment below.
  • The National Guard supplied all of the MRE Kits for my students to use for the event. However, students did have access to my pantry for extras like staples and seasonings. It was a great way to use up those odds and ends that are left at the end of the year.
  • Depending on the length of your class period, this could take 2-3 days. My classes are 43 minutes and the presentation took a good bit of the first day as well as the selection and distribution of the MRE Kits. My students were a bit overwhelmed so a second day or partial day of planning is helpful. The third day was for preparation of their elevated meals and presentation to the judges.
  • We did this towards the end of the school year, so students had more experience under their belt, but it could be done anytime. My students really enjoyed it and it was something unique and different, but still allowed them to work with food in a creative way!
  • Because there were so many food items leftover from the original MRE Kits, students were given another lab day to make the meals and sample them to see what they were actually like. They also made an appetizer, main dish, dessert and beverage (although, not elevated). When presenting their elevated meals to the judges, there was not enough food for them to sample…only enough to split between three judges.


  • The presenter is introduced and he took over by presenting background information on feeding troups with meals and kits throughout history. As part of the presentation, he shared with students how being part of the National Guard could help them with education expenses with their future endeavors which he connected to culinary related careers.
  • Then came time for the students/teams to receive their MRE Kits. We did this in a creative way by using the “Wheel of Names”. We included “Random Selection” where the kits were face down and students blindly selected. We had “Individual Selection” where students could see their options and select. We had a “Trade” where they could trade with another group for a kit. And the final category was “Other Team Selects”. This was a fun one because some students picked some zinger kits for their opponents. However, due to trading, their group ended up with the zinger!
  • Once the kits were distributed to each student, they opened them up to see the contents.


  • MRE Kits
  • Access to Kitchens, Tools & Appliances
  • Pantry Staples & Seasonings


  • The guidelines for the challenge were as follows: First they had to use at least two items from each kit as they made an appetizer, main dish, dessert and beverage. They had to elevate the kits to make them look and taste better and they only had 25 minutes to prepare and plate the dishes.
  • Judges, both soldier and civilians, came in and were served the created dishes and sampled each as students presented and explained what they had made. Judges also had an evaluation form to complete.
  • Winners were given National Guard prizes such as water bottles, mugs, frisbees, t-shirts, back packs, etc.


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