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Food during the acadamy


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  • Food during the acadamy

    Hello everyone,

    I've been a lurker for a bit now and have recently received a contingent job offer. I'll be starting the local police academy in July and the temps here reach over 110. I know hydration is key so I picked up some electrolyte endurance supplements. My main questions revolves around food, what food should I be packing for lunch or snacks to allow me the best advantage for success? From what I gather we are restricted from leaving the academy for lunch so I'll have to pack one.

    Thanks in advance

    Bozzy Bear

  • #2
    Order pizza. Just be sure you share with your instructors and fellow cadets. Kidding aside, be sure you pack something that won't spoil in the heat. Depending on the training schedule for the day, you may be having lunch in a no conventional place.
    Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.


    • #3
      On physically demanding days don't plan on eating much.

      I used muscle milk, granola bars and 5 hour energy drinks to get me thru... and lots of water.

      On class room days I'd mostly have beef jerky and trail mix. Didn't want to get used to eating much on the easy days so I wouldn't be hungry on the rough days.

      Save the real food for after class. Quality carbs, protein and fat to rebuild and refuel. Avoid junk food.

      The most important thing is NOT to get in shape or really try to improve your fitness IN the academy. Be fit when you get there and focus on graduating: successfully complete the skills training, don't get inured, pull your fair share of the weight.
      "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

      "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


      • #4
        Peanut butter sandwiches. If you have a cooler with one of those frozen liquid contraptions, you can throw in some yogurt or fruit cups (pears, oranges, watermelon, etc.).


        • #5
          I had MRE's and beef jerky with fruit cups and lots o water....Good luck!
          Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none - William Shakespeare
          Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.- James Mattis
          It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. - Lt. Gen. George S. Patton



          • #6
            My academy provided meals..............................
            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


            • #7
              When I went thru the LASD Academy 45 years ago everyone brown bagged their lunch in a paper bag. Usually had a sandwich or two, some fruit and maybe a few cookies...Our lunches were kept in our lockers and I don't recall anyone having a cooler to keep their lunch fresh, so your sandwich was rather warm when you finally had lunch. We had to stand around the gym area to eat as I don't recall any tables to sit at....
              Retired LASD


              • #8
                My academy had a recruit room that was our locker room, lunch room and prep room. We didn't have a fridge, but we all used coolers and cold packs. It all varies by agency.

                For food, it'll change as time progresses. Academies tend to be very fast-paced and hectic the first week or two, and then you'll get into a rhythm. For the first couple days, bring regular food that won't spoil, but also bring a lot of small snack items. You may not have the time to eat much, or you may only have short periods of time to eat and then on to more physical training. For the first three days of my academy, I was only able to eat protein shakes and fruit during lunch due to the extensive PT we were doing.

                Things like small bags of chips or pretzels are great. You can eat them quick, and if you gotta leave, they won't spoil if left open. They offer fat and simple carbs, which give quick energy. They also have a lot of sodium, which is an important mineral to replace when you're sweating a lot. It will help avoid cramping up. Make sure to keep your sodium intake high during the first week or two.

                Fruit is a huge one. The best option are fruits that are high in potassium like bananas, as they will help with electrolyte levels. That said, any fruit is good because they give you quick energy with simple natural sugars. Fruit like grapes and berries are especially nice since they are finger food, and won't spoil if you open them up. High citrus fruits are also good, like orange, pineapple, tangerines, etc. They have very high concentrations of sugar, and they also won't spoil in open air. If you opt to get apples or whatnot, I would highly recommend slicing the apple at home and putting it in a ziploc bag. You can eat and come back, and you can snack on it instead of eating the whole thing at one time (if needed) Melon is great for replacing water, but melon generally is pretty low in other nutrients compared to other fruits. The good thing is that melons are mostly water, so you can eat a ton of it not get full, and it'll digest really quickly.

                Nuts (and legumes) are another good one. High in fat and sodium (make sure to get salted nuts; avoid unsalted), they give energy as well. Again, won't spoil if left out.

                PB&J sandwiches are money. High carbs, won't spoil, not a problem.

                Protein shakes are also a big help. Aside from you needing protein, they are also nice because whey protein makes you feel full, which is nice when you don't have a lot of time to eat, but are starving. I lift weights, so I have my own protein powders and shakers at home, but not everyone does. You should do this, but an easier way is to go buy an 8-pack or 12-pack of protein shakes at a GNC or other nutition shop, grocery store, or online. Something that you can grab and go with is always a benefit in the early days of an academy.

                This is all stuff that you want for the beginning to basically have as finger food or snack food, so that you can eat as much or as little as you need to as necessary. When you get into a rhythm, you should be settling out your diet to a consistent meal plan with clean and nutritional food. Avoid the urges to eat out or pack junk food in your bag after you get into a routine. The junk food is fine in short stints, but in the long term eating healthy will pay off. The benefit to "eating clean" is that you digest your food quicker, which is nice when you eat at 1100hrs and have to do PT at 1400.

                For academies, we as a nation have a much greater understanding of hydration now. This is especially with our country having been to war in desert environments for 14 years. Hydration is recognized as a necessity, and instructors everyone are very cognizant of the importance of keeping their recruits from dropping out like flies from dehydration. Bring your own water to the academy as a precaution, but I would suspect that they'll give you a bottle or canteen to carry, and you'll probably be forced to drink water in copious amounts. That said, don't wait until you show up to start drinking water. You should start drinking water the night before until your urine is completely clear. You will slowly dehydrate as you sleep, so you should drink enough that you either have to wake up to take a leak, or you will wake up in the morning and whiz like a racehorse for 3 minutes. Regardless, once you are up and urinate, make sure to immediately drink at least another glass or two of water before going back to sleep or getting ready to go. Drinking water is the most important thing you will do.

                At night, be sure to eat a lot of good food. High protein, high carbs. Protein repairs muscle, and carbs replace glycogen stores in the cells, which provide energy and endurance. Ideally you want quality food. The carbs should be complex carbs, so eat things like whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta, or eat sweet potatoes, yams or red potatoes instead of a normal baked potato.
                Breakfast in the morning may have to be light due to the need for quick digestion, so plan accodingly. If you need quick digesting breakfast food, nothing beats greek yogurt and fruit.

                I'm a coffee addict, so I drank it every morning. I also live in Minnesota where we don't often get above 90F. Coffee is a diuretic, so be aware that if you need your morning cup of joe, you need to offset that by drinking a lot of water. Caffeine is actually beneficial for exercise, as it opens up blood vessels and is also a bronchodilator (better O2/CO2 exchange in the lungs, thus means you can breathe better). If you're not a coffee drinker, or aren't a regular energy drink consumer, don't all of a sudden start doing so right before the academy. They can cause you to succumb to heat and dehydration effects if your body is not accustomed to the ingredient they contain.
                "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
                -John Adams

                Disclaimer: My statements are personal opinions, and in no way reflect those of my agency.


                • #9
                  I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. I was PT'ing and lifting outside of the academy as well, so I wasn't really concerned about it. Just drank lots of water to stay hydrated.

                  Oh, and got back 15 minutes early if we had Japanese or Mexican that day


                  • #10
                    In my academy we were not allowed to leave the classroom nor did we have access to a fridge or microwave. Some would pack sandwiches while others would bring chicken and pasta with beans from the night before. I usually opted to eat my leftover dinner cold and brought some protein bars and yogurt.. however the academy staff wasn't against a smoke session in the middle of our lunch so always be prepared for that.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                      My academy provided meals..............................
                      I wish I was so lucky. I do know that my academy was by a Subway, I ate there so much I could've been a spokesmen for it.


                      • #12
                        Wow. Thanks everyone for the awesome information, advice and suggestions.


                        • #13
                          The new academy provides food. The old one didn't. You can also bring food into the building.
                          5 Years


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tj05 View Post
                            I wish I was so lucky. I do know that my academy was by a Subway, I ate there so much I could've been a spokesmen for it.
                            It was a live in academy-----------------and still is
                            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


                            • #15
                              My academy was located at a college. We would all go to the cafeteria for lunch (we had our own little police academy separate cafateria room). We could either pack in our own lunch or buy from cafe...either way we all ate together.

                              I stuck with a sandwich or two and maybe a powerbar. I did my best to eat a light lunch...you never know when you might have PT right after lunch. If the cafeteria served spaghetti, Mexican casserole, or something else heavy it was a fairly good clue that we would have PT.

                              I also did my best to keep hydrated w/LOTS and LOTS of water. That east tx heat and humidity could get a little rough...

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