Over-the-road truck drivers are faced with a unique challenge to have a healthy diet with the monotony of limited choices. Roadside diners, truck stops, convenience stores and fast food establishments offer high calorie, fat and sodium options. This challenge may derail the best intentions of the professional driver when it comes to a healthy diet.
The goal is to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily to balance calories and nutrients when meal choices are limited at best.
What should I eat?
Foods with a high fiber content make you feel full longer and fortunately, these types of foods are often lower in calories and fat. Oatmeal or high fiber cereals and low-fat milk plus fruit are fast, easy options. For lunch, try broth based soups (vegetable or chicken noodle) along with a fresh salad. These are great starters for lunch or dinner because they fill up your stomach and are low in calories. When you eat out, limit creamy sauces and pick baked or grilled meats to cut out fat/calories.
Preparation is the key!
Inevitably, you will get busy and run short on time for a sit down meal. This is why it is crucial to have a well-stocked cab with healthy snack choices. Keep foods on hand that travel well under any conditions; including, apples, oranges, unsalted mixed nuts, whole grain crackers and individual servings of peanut butter. These items provide nutrients, protein and fiber for fullness. In your mini fridge, always keep options which are also high in protein. Select the Greek yogurt variety and mix it with berries. Buy small packages of carrots, celery and cheese sticks. All great options.
Take control of your meals.
If you make your own meals, you have control over the fat, calorie and salt content. Your mini fridge, a small mini slow cooker and lunchbox cooker can provide you, the professional driver, freedom to store and cook meals by simply plugging into a 12-volt outlet. A small pot roast with red potatoes and baby carrots can be a delicious satisfying meal that cooks while you drive. Use slow cooker liners for easy clean up.
Don’t drink your calories
Eat your calories, never drink them. The calories found in regular soft drinks, sweet tea, sport drinks and juice add up easily and put you over your daily needs. The worst part is that they do nothing to stop those hunger pangs. Amazingly, an extra 100 calories per day can translate to 10 pounds of weight gain annually! Diet drinks (artificially sweetened) may at times trigger cravings for other sweets and foods, it’s better for you to drink water or unsweetened tea or coffee when you’re thirsty.
The professionalism found in your driving must extend into your meal planning to help you stay in the driver's seat at all times. Happy and healthy journey into wellness!