Think eating healthy while on the road is impossible? Think again.
While the road does pose some problems, developing healthy eating habits as a truck driver is definitely achievable. In fact, over-the-road truck drivers may even have a couple advantages when it comes to eating right that office workers and nine-to-fivers don’t.
Access to different restaurants each day, for example, and the ability to cook while you’re at work (with portable cooking appliances) might actually make it easier to pick and choose the right meals than if you were in one spot all day.
The main thing is to be realistic about what you can do to change your eating habits. You don’t have to go overboard and eat only organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, low-fat diet cardboard that’s been prepared by a Tibetan monk.
Instead, let’s look at some of the realistic things you can do to develop those healthy eating habits while driving OTR:
1. Start Big, End Small
First of all, portion size plays a huge role in healthy eating. By eating a large breakfast, you’ll be less likely to snack throughout the day. For lunch and dinner, your meals should get smaller and smaller. The last thing you want to do is eat a ton of food right before you go to sleep because then your body has no way of converting what you ate into energy (unless you sleep-jog marathons).
2. Swap The Soda
This is probably one of the easiest ways to lose some quick weight, as well as an important step in actually becoming healthier overall. When you drink your sugars instead of eating them, your body still thinks it is hungry. By switching from soda to water, you’ll sharpen your stomach’s sense of fullness and hunger, and will be able to make smarter food choices throughout the day.
3. Be Prepared
Get a crockpot.
That bears repeating in a louder voice.
GET A CROCKPOT!
Last minute meal choices are often bad ones. Healthy eating only happens if you are willing to plan and prepare your food in advance, and a slow-cooker or crockpot is basically essential if you want to do that.
Now don’t worry: It’s not that difficult. You set it up in the morning and then by dinnertime, it’s ready. Then, you can have the leftovers the next day for lunch.
By cooking your own food on the road, you can control the ingredients that go into your meals. And it doesn’t have to be bland, either. You can still use peppers, spices and other flavorful ingredients, but by making it yourself you can cut down on salt, fat and other unhealthy additives. You can substitute healthy ingredients for unhealthy ones altogether, or at the very least you can use less of the unhealthy ingredients than you might find at the truck stop or in a restaurant meal.
There’s no shortage of healthy crockpot recipes you can find on the internet. Just find a couple recipes that sound good to you and grab what you’ll need from the supermarket before you head out on your next trip.
4. Know Yourself
The most important part of developing healthy eating habits is to know yourself and adjust accordingly. Here’s what that means:
Let’s say you’re the type who likes to snack all day. Maybe you snack when you’re bored and you can’t bring yourself to stop.
OK. So in this case you have two options. First, you could find a way to keep yourself entertained so you don’t get bored in the first place. You could get a hobby, start a Youtube channel, whatever. Anything to keep your mind off of snacking.
The other option, instead of changing how you spend your time, is to change the type of snacks.
Instead of chips and cookies, have your cab stocked with almonds, yogurt, granola bars, fruit or other healthy choices.
The point is that you need to give yourself an objective assessment, figure out what obstacles are standing between you and a healthier way of eating, and get creative in order to overcome those obstacles.
By tackling these four healthy-eating areas — portion size/timing, beverage choice, preparation and problem solving — you’ll be able to take realistic steps toward becoming a healthier truck driver.
What’s that? You still need to get your CDL? Well why didn’t you say so at the top of this blog post?!
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises