Fueling the human body in extreme situations has become a science and law enforcement officers deserve to have the best nutritional knowledge and high-energy food products available to them.
Whether you work the streets, corrections, long duration investigations or emergency call-outs you deserve to have the best possible nutritional information and high energy food available to you to keep you performing at your peak capacity. You deserve it and so does your public.
Law enforcement officers should be fueling their bodies properly with fresh, nutritious foods and have the best possible high-energy substitutes available for emergency or long duration situations.
To that end we would like to gather as much information as we can to help. We want recommendations from law enforcement officers and nutritional professionals on what you should eat and what you should carry with you during your work shift to fuel you during an emergency or long duration call.
We want your input.
1. What do you pack in your power lunch?
2. What do you keep with you for emergency food in case you don’t get a meal break?
3. What do you keep long-term in your car or go-bag for emergency food
Eating the right things and knowing what to eat has long been a challenge for law enforcement officers. Some of us do this well and many do not. Obesity is becoming a problem in our profession.
A couple of years ago CopsAlive.com contributor Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire warned us about the dangers of obesity and eating fast food. In his article entitled “Depressed About Fast Food?” Mark wrote
The Public Health Journal reported a recent study which indicated that eating fast food is linked to a greater risk of suffering from depression. What types of fast food? The usual suspects: commercial baked goods, cakes, donuts, croissants, pizza, hamburgers and hotdogs. The classic part of a law enforcement officer’s basic working diet.
The study indicated that the participants who eat the most of these fast foods and bakery items are most likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits. Smoking and working 45+ hours a week are part of these group’s characteristics. Once again, take a guess which group may fit this category? Police officers and other law enforcement professionals.
Mark had some great recommendation for us like:
Eat good nutritious whole foods including omega-3 fats, a multi-vitamin with minerals supplement and water.
• Pack your own meals in a cooler bag. Take it to work, extra private detail duty or in the cruiser on patrol.
• Fill that water bottle. Fill your thermos bottle with a hot beverage you enjoy (watch your sweeteners) especially during the overnight shifts when these beverages are limited.
But several years have passed and the situation for law enforcement officers doesn’t look much better with evidence like a December 2014 Time magazine headline: “Law Enforcement Is The Fattest Profession, Study Finds”Source: http://time.com/3637967/police-officers-fattest-profession-study Web accessed 4-29-15
The Time article reported: “Police officers, firefighters and security guards have the highest rates of obesity of all professions, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. According to the Wall Street Journal, 40.7% of police, firefighters and security guards are obese. Other jobs with high obesity rates include clergy, engineers and truckers. On the other side of the obesity scale is a grouping of economists, scientists and psychologists, with an obesity rate of 14.2%.”
We thought it would be time to revitalize this subject and give our readers some tangible and useful information about what foods to pack in your brown bag lunch and what kind of high energy food is actually good for you in an emergency.
We would also like to get some suggestions about what quick and easy packaged high energy food is able to stay in the truck of your car in your go bag for a couple of months.
Here is what many experts on the internet have to share:
Cooking Light magazine had some suggestions for 13 Brown-Bag Lunches on their website at:
Shape magazine on their website offered suggestions for 10 Quick and Healthy Brown Bag Lunches at:
WebMD in their article entitled: “Cheap and Healthy Brown-Bag Lunch Ideas (for Grownups)”
wrote “make sure your lunch is balanced, experts recommend. Lunches that include some lean or low-fat protein along with carbohydrates will keep your body fueled for the afternoon, says Connie Diekman, RD, president of the American Dietetic Association. “The combination of protein and fiber from whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetables and/or fruit will give you the most satisfying and nutritious combination of foods that will keep you feeling full until dinner,” she says.
Commonly recommended quick items include:
Whole wheat pita bread
Apples & oranges
Can of light tuna in water
Grilled chicken breasts
Peanut or other nut or seed butter
Our friends Mark Sherwood, ND and Michele Neil-Sherwood, DO give us some great information on their blog:
General Nutritional Tips
Include as much fresh food as possible. Eat mainly fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds and good clean protein.
Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food. Get rid of it if you can.
Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Eat more vegetables than fruit.
Aim to color your plate with variety and different colors of vegetables.
Also read their articles on:
The AntiInflamitory Diet
Eating Fast Food
Healthy Eating Out
My favorite celebrity chef Candice Kumai has some great recommendations in her various cookbooks and you can find some of her suggestions here:
USA Today Article – Nutritionists compare the best on-the-go snack options in May 2015 at:
Great article by Kate Morin on Greatest.com from July 21, 2014 entitled:
“31 Healthy and Portable High-Protein Snacks”
Another great article by Alexandra Duron on Greatest.com from November 19, 2014 entitled:
“21 Healthy and Portable Energy-Boosting Snacks”
If you want to learn more, here are the reviews of various experts on common sports or high energy food products:
Review – The Protein Bar Power Rankings — 30 Popular Bars Torn Apart And Ranked
On the LeanItUp workout blog June 2013:
Here’s a very comprehensive article from REI on “How to Choose Energy Food and Drinks”:
“Energy Bar Analysis and Comparison. Let the Data Speak”.
from Feb 2012 on the Athletic Minded Traveller Blog:
“Comparing Energy Bars
Understand different sources of energy for hiking and backpacking” on the Wild Backpacker blog:
“The 5 best and worst nutrition bars” from July 2012 on the Well and Good Blog:
“7 nutrition bars that are worse than candy” from Feb 2013 on the Mother Nature Network blog:
“Are Quest Bars Really as Nutritious as Claimed?” from Dec 2013 on the Fooducate blog:
When it comes to keeping food in your car or go-bag here are some ideas for long term food:
“DIY Shelf Stable Energy Bars” by tomsweet65
Learn about U.S. Military MRE’s (Meals Ready To Eat) and Civilian MRE’s at:
It’s tough to know what to eat and particularly what to pack for a healthy, high energy meal when on duty as a law enforcement officer. We’ve given you some ideas and now we would like to here from you.
Please submit your comments or your suggestions in the “Leave A Reply” Comment Box below (don’t worry if it doesn’t appear right after you submit it. All comments need to be approved before publication – so please be patient!)
At CopsAlive.com we are conducting law enforcement wellness research to assist police officers and other law enforcement professionals stay healthy and resilient. We want you to survive the job. If you know of a nutritional expert of food company whose information should be represented here, please forward them a link to this article. It’s good for all of us!
Stay safe and eat well!
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