There is no doubt that eating healthy can be a challenge for over-the-road truck drivers. But drivers certainly are not alone. According to a national survey over one third of all adults in America are obese. Depending on which trucking publication you read, the number of overweight drivers in our industry is as much as more than double the national average.
For those of us who work in an office, we have many choices about what we can eat. We can bring our lunch from home. Go out to the local deli. Hit the salad bar at the grocery store. Or just buy some fruit. As I write this blog, I am munching on a turkey sandwich and sipping an iced tea. I look at my lunch choice and consider how I would eat if I were in the cab of a truck or sitting in a truck stop restaurant. So I talked to a couple of drivers to get their perspective.
Drivers don’t have the easy options or choices that office workers do. Often times the only choice is a truck stop in the middle of a cornfield on the interstate. Yet it is important to stop, get out, stretch your legs and spend a little time interacting with other people, says Linda Caffee, an owner-operator who drives as a team with her husband Bob. “Sometimes we just want [to get] out of the truck and be in the company of others.”
From a food and diet perspective, truck stops present their own challenges. It takes discipline and resolve to choose items that are healthy and fresh. The typical menu in a truck stop coffee shop doesn’t make that easy. “The menu displays all the comfort food and sometimes our resolve evaporates and we order the wrong stuff,” Linda admits.
Jill Garcia, who drives for Schneider National blames her sweet tooth, but added, “the food that’s bad for you tastes soooo good [and] truck stops are candy pushers.”
Eating healthy and being a truck driver are not mutually exclusive. It just takes a little more planning and a commitment to eat things that are better for you than the “comfort food” at truck stops. We all have choices. Our long term health is dictated in large part by the decisions we make about what we eat on a daily basis. Cut back on candy and comfort food. Go with more fruits, vegetables, grains and low-sodium, low-fat meals. If we are to make any progress bringing down obesity rates in our industry, it has to start with what’s on your plate. So let’s eat healthy.
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