EATING HEALTHY ON THE ROAD
There are many decisions you’ll have to make yourself every day.
One question you might be asking yourself is “How will I stay healthy while out on the road?” You will run into plenty of fast food temptations and conveniences when you’re an OTR driver, but if you start out with good and healthy eating decisions at the beginning of the day, the chances are you will continue with them as you continue until the end of your journey. However, if you get in the bad habit of grabbing something quick from the drive-thru, it’s a hard (but not impossible!) habit to break.
Fear not! There are people in the same boat (…errr…truck?…) as you who want to stay (or become!) a healthy truck driver. Here are tips and tricks:
Eat a good breakfast!
Break that fast! It’s so easy to skip breakfast – many people do. But skipping breakfast is a bad idea, and can actually lead to weight gain. Use your first meal of the day to fuel you! Many hotels offer free breakfast for their guests, or pick up a few items at the grocery store to take with you. Pack a small cooler with things like hard boiled eggs, turkey slices, or even peanut butter and bananas to last until your final stop, where you can stock up on more. A little bit of meal prep goes a long way for truck drivers!
Eat a good lunch & dinner, too!
Nope, fast food doesn’t count as ‘good’ even though it is quite tasty. If the drive-thru is your last and final option, just make sure you stick with healthier items – grilled chicken instead of a burger, or a green salad instead of fries. Just remember – watch the toppings! Salad dressings and mayo can turn a healthy meal into one loaded with empty calories you didn’t intend on eating! If you have room in a small cooler, stock up on items that you can eat cold or warmed up. Grilled chicken is good either way, as are rice and beans – and even some soups are pretty tasty without needing to heat them.
Drink your water, Truckers !
The benefits of drinking enough water are limitless!
Nearly all of the major systems in your body depend on water. It helps regulate your body temperature, lubricates your joints, and helps flush waste products from your system, among many other things! Caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration, and sugary sodas are nothing but empty calories that can cause bloating, increase your appetite (leading to unhealthy snacking) and increase your chances of getting diabetes. Often times, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and headaches, or even a feeling that you’re hungry is really due to dehydration.
How much is enough? Everyone’s needs will be different, but according to The Institute of Medicine, adequate water intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day, and is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day for women.
Plan and Preparation
All three of the above tips are important, but if you don’t plan and prep it’ll be almost impossible to stick with it. Plan your route before you head out for the day – figure in how often and where you’ll stop, and where and how you’ll eat along the way. Plan your meal times, and stock a small cooler with healthy foods, snack, water, or unsweetened tea and you’ll be less inclined to pick up some take out. A little work and preparation will go a long way in keeping you healthy and on the road longer!
Just remember – you gotta stick with it! It’s okay to stop every now and then for a treat. But the key to getting and staying healthy is to stick with healthy eating. If you follow these tips, you can become – and stay! – a healthy truck driver.