For several years now my husband has worked as a first responder: first as the medic, and now as a police recruit.
Through the years, I have always struggled with what food to send with him for lunch and snacks because of the unique challenges the field represents.
For starters, there is no set lunch hour. In fact, there is often no predictability in when or if there will be a short break to eat.
There is also the issue of not having access to a refrigerator or microwave, making it difficult to send leftover or food that needs to stay cold.
And then there is the issue of how much physical work they are doing and how much energy they are expending during their shift. Running, walking, standing, sometimes sweating through their heavy uniforms and vests burns a lot of calories.
Finally, our husbands are often working LONG shifts – anywhere from 10 to 24 hours. Instead of packing 1 lunch and 2-3 snacks, I am finding myself packing multiple meals and multiple snacks.
It is no surprise that many of our first responders struggle with their health – because it is so hard to eat healthy with these challenges. Sometimes our husbands are so busy taking care of others that they are unable to take care of themselves.
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My goal this year has been to clean up my eating and get into a better exercise regimen so I can be healthier and more confident. I’ve done pretty well so far (yay!), but it made me realize how much my husband struggles with it.
I mean, he actually enjoys vegetables, and he’ll eat pretty much whatever I make for dinner (even if it’s hours later), so pickiness isn’t an issue: the issue is time.
And it’s not uncommon. That whole donut-eating-cop stereotype has a lot to do with police officers not really having time to sit and have a relaxed mealtime. They’re usually downing energy drinks and whatever food they can eat in a hurry before they’re needed again.
My husband doesn’t have a lot of close friends, but he has one who’s been a constant ever since they first met.
He’s always there for us. He was at our out-of-state wedding without hesitation. When the Hubs was faced with the prospect of losing his job, Paul drove four hours to where we lived at the time just to be with us. And then there’s the time he pulled our car out of a ditch after a snafu with AAA, or the time he helped us get rid of a mattress.