Q: I’m currently working as a Surveillance Officer. In Arizona, Surveillance Officers are a blend of Probation Officers and Police Officers; we have peace officer authority but we do not respond to emergency calls. I spend the majority of my shifts working in the field checking on probationers.
Previous to this, I was a Jail Officer for two years. I’m not sure if you abide by the frequent meals theory, but I seem to be struggling eating meals at work, in the field. I do get the chance to take a break at least once at work.
I guess what I’m trying to ask is, as a Police Officer, how do you get all your meals in? Do you have any tips? Do you have any favorite meals for the shift? Is there anything that might be okay in taste to eat cold? Any tips for snacks?
Thanks in advance,
My Answer: I used to eat frequently, but I found that it was far too expensive and time consuming to eat all the time. It helps to gain and maintain muscle by eating frequently, but it does interfere with your lifestyle and work.
When I was a young officer concerned with muscle size, I’d be eating all the time. The night before patrol I would pack 3 mini meals to take to work. My meals would consist of a protein drink, a protein bar and a can of tuna mixed in with mac and cheese. Each meal had about 20-30 grams of protein. Plus I made sure I drank a lot of water. With breakfast before and dinner after work, I’d total 5 meals a day.
Over time however, your body gets used to eating all the time and eating all the protein. Your gains in muscle size and weight start to plateau.
Now if you start to plateau in your training, what do you do? You switch things up or you pull back. It’s the same thing with your diet. You can eat a lot of calories and a lot of protein, and you will initially gain some weight. But all that food overburdens your digestive system, and your body becomes less efficient at metabolizing it. Eventually, you become fat and sluggish.
What I suggest is stick with 4 meals a day: breakfast before work, lunch at work, a protein drink or bar and dinner after work. This way you have only 2 meals during your shift: one portable meal (protein drink or protein bar) and one sit-down meal. If you choose a protein drink, then make sure the drink is somewhat filling. Protein drinks that have casein are more filling than whey-only protein drinks. If you choose a protein bar, than choose one that does not have soy as its protein source.