Healthy Eating Guide For Truck Drivers

Eating Healthy on the Road: A Guide for Truck Drivers

It is a huge challenge for truck drivers to stick to a healthy diet while on the road and away from home. You don’t have access to a full kitchen and it can be difficult to find healthy options and dining locations that can accommodate truck parking. It is both tempting and convenient to eat fast food for all three meals throughout your day. 

Reality is, obesity is a national crisis, and these numbers double within the trucking industry. According to the CDC truckers are twice as likely to be obese as compared to other U.S. workers. Seven out of 10 long-haul truck drivers are classified as obese.

Healthy options are available, but it is up to the driver to make the change. Today, truck stops carry fresh fruit, nuts and salads, and many fast food restaurants now offer healthy menu options. Take time on the weekend, while you are home, to stock your truck with healthy foods and snacks for the week ahead.

Plan for success

Having a healthy eating plan is the single most important decision you can make. Sticking to a plan will help to give you the willpower you need to avoid unhealthy choices. Once you start seeing progress, it will motivate you to continue.

  • Research meal options from fast food restaurants that are healthier.

  • Make a list of meals and snacks that you can refer to when you are grocery shopping for the week. 

  • Stock your truck with healthy snack options and plenty of water.

What should you eat?

Focus on whole foods with very little processing and few ingredients.

  • Processed foods are calorically dense. That means they have a lot of calories in them in a relatively small amount of food, so you will have to eat more of them to feel full. Consider that an average apple is 95 calories and a snickers bar is 250 calories and you can see that you could eat 2 apples instead of one snickers bar and still be ahead by 60 calories.

  • Processed foods are designed to be addictive. Your body is hardwired to want sugar and fat because historically this was a useful trait to survive times of famine. Our bodies aren’t designed for this age of cheap, dense calories! This leads to compulsive, mindless eating and over consumption.

  • Whole foods have higher satiety, meaning you will feel more full after you eat them.

Stay hydrated

  • Water can boost your energy. – Dehydration can lead to fatigue. Staying hydrated will actually make you feel more energized over the long term.

  • Water reduces stress – Dehydration can lead to a raise in cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone.”

  • Water can help you control your appetite – Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps curb your appetite, which means you can feel more full with less food.

Healthy options at the truck stop

  • Beef Jerky – This convenience store staple is an excellent source of protein.

  • Tuna – Canned fish is always available and makes a high quality meal or snack. Tuna is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to support heart health.

  • On the go salads – Salads are a great choice and often include hard boiled eggs or lean chicken breast to make it a meal. Be careful, read the nutrition label of any included salad dressing. It’s pretty easy to turn a salad into a high calorie meal with the wrong dressing.

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Hard boiled Eggs

  • Pickles

  • Sparking Water – A sparkling beverage can help scratch that soda itch and is a great way to avoid the temptation of buying an energy drink.

  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt

  • Hummus and Vegetables

  • Low-fat string cheese

  • Lightly salted mixed nuts

Healthy options at fast food restaurants

  • Don’t drink your calories – Avoid sugary drinks

  • Avoid anything deep fried, such as french fries or fried chicken

  • If you choose a salad don’t add a lot of high fat items to it such as creamy dressings, bacon bits, and shredded cheese. Those extra calories can add up very quickly. You can easily consume over 1000 calories eating a salad! 

  • Choose veggies, fruit, a baked potato (hold the sour cream), or yogurt for your meal side

  • Say no to larger sized meals when ordering a combo

  • Limit your fast food visits. Consider a fast food visit to be a special treat.

Remember, your long term success is built on a foundation of making the right choice most of the time, not being perfect.

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