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3 Biggest Struggles with Police Officers Maintaining a Healthy Diet

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cop eating in patrol car

Police Officers face many challenges in their daily lives and maintaining a healthy diet can be one of them.


With long, unpredictable hours, limited access to healthy food options, and high levels of stress, it can be difficult for LEOs to prioritize their nutrition. In this article, we will discuss the 3 biggest struggles with police officers maintaining a healthy diet and some strategies to overcome it.






Long, Irregular Hours


As you know, one of the biggest challenges of being a cop is working long and irregular hours (and often a ton of overtime). This can make it difficult to plan and prepare healthy meals, and often leads to relying on convenience foods that are high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.



As a result, many of us end up consuming large amounts of unhealthy food, which can lead to weight gain and many other health problems such as diabetes, which is prevalent in our LEO community.


Limited Access to Healthy Food Options


Another challenge for police officers is the limited access to healthy food options. Many LEOs work in areas with limited access to supermarkets or healthy food outlets. This can make it challenging to find healthy, nutritious food options, especially during long hours of duty or when working overnight.


If this is the case, a good option for you would be to plan ahead by grocery shopping, making extra food to take to work the next day, and finding healthy snacks that can potentially handle being in a patrol car all day. Things like beef jerky, snack bars, protein bars, some fruits/veggies can come in handy here.






High Levels of Stress


Working as a police officer can be stressful and physically demanding, which can make it challenging to maintain a healthy diet.



These high levels of stress can lead to emotional eating, overeating, and the consumption of unhealthy, processed foods that are typically higher in carbohydrates and fat (and not protein). This can further exacerbate the health problems that already come with working long, irregular hours and limited access to healthy food options.


All of this to say, with a little effort and planning, it is possible to overcome these challenges and make healthier food choices.


Some strategies that can help include:

  • Packing healthy meals and snacks

  • Understanding your personal macronutrient and calorie recommendation based on their goals

  • Planning ahead for meals (meal prep for shifts)

  • Finding healthy food options when working away from home

  • Getting meals at the grocery store rather than fast food restaurants or gas stations whenever able

  • Finding gas stations with healthier choices


By making healthier food choices, LEOs can significantly improve their overall health and well-being as well as their performance, while better managing the challenges of their demanding job.