Truckers are often stereotyped as middle-aged men with more than a spare tire around their waistlines. This is obviously unfair — but it also speaks to the fact that good food is hard to come by on the road. Think of your favorite truck stop. It probably has an actual restaurant, right? Most come equipped with a fast food joint that barely manages to be edible day in and day out. When you’re faced with such limited choices, the focus becomes on how to feed yourself at all, much less how to feed yourself healthy, nutritious and well-balanced meals. The very nature of the job contributes to a lot of truckers’ unhealthy choices, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find solutions. Here are some suggestions for a healthier life on the road.
Plan your day before it begins
Thanks to your EOBR and fleet tracking software, you already know when you have to stop on the road. Combined with traffic estimates from Google Maps, you can know just about where you’ll want to stop for lunch, dinner and the evening. Obviously, this can change at a moment’s notice with a traffic jam, but having a plan can help you stay on track regardless. Find restaurants that welcome truckers and offer healthy food options.
Avoid sugary foods
Whether you’ve stopped at a restaurant or a truck stop, you still have to make healthy choices. Avoid foods that are high in added sugar, especially. Too many truckers have problems with diabetes, which can cause you to lose your job if you don’t qualify for the DOT Medical Examiner’s Certificate. Too much salt can also cause health problems, including heart disease. Lean meat like chicken and fish are great choices, but greasy fried varieties aren’t any healthier than a cheeseburger.
Eat fruit and veggies — the right way
Fruit can be great for you since it has vitamins and minerals. But, prepackaged, cubed fruit often comes packed with sugary syrup. Likewise, even fruit cups without syrup can have added sugar. Canned and/or prepackaged veggies often come with added salt. To get the best benefits from your healthy foods, eat them whole and fresh. Many truck stops have a section with fresh whole fruit, and you can always find tomatoes and more at any store or roadside stand. Salads are great if you can find them with a low-fat dressing on the side.
Drink more water and less sugar
Pure H2O is your friend. Being dehydrated leads to tiredness, dizziness, constipation and headaches. If you’re constantly pounding back energy drinks, chances are good that you could stand to switch some out with water. Caffeine can make you feel more alert, but if your drink contains a lot of sugar, you’ll face a sugar crash in a few hours. Even drinking up to four cups of coffee a day can cause insomnia, a fast heartbeat, an upset stomach and muscle tremors. Stash a case of water in your cab to stave off dehydration and give you a healthier choice than gallons of soda each day. Eating healthily as a trucker isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you that it is either doesn’t possess taste buds or has the willpower of a Green Lantern. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you! You can decide to make healthy choices, even when you’re on the road.