Truck Drivers are twice as likely as other workers to be obese according to a study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Overall, obesity is considered one of the biggest health risks for Truckers, putting them at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In addition to reducing quality of life, these health conditions also put a Driver at risk of not being qualified to drive. It isn’t a secret staying healthy on the road with a sedentary job is difficult. However, when combined with taking time to prioritize physical activity such as walking, choosing to plan ahead for healthy eating can greatly improve a Driver’s health. If you are a Driver, you are worth the effort; your loved ones would agree. Try these four tips for healthy eating on the road!
1. Invest in a Portable Fridge and Oven for Your Truck
This lays the foundation for the following tips! If you’re on the road for less than a day, bring a lunchbox with you. However, if you’ll be on the road more than a day at a time, it is worthwhile to buy a few items to set yourself up for success. If you have the proper cooking equipment, it becomes easier to store and prepare healthy meals.
First, consider investing in a portable electric refrigerator or cooler to store fresh food. With a fridge, you will keep your food safe, organized, and within easy access so you’ll be more likely to eat it. There are numerous 12-volt mini fridges and 12-volt portable electric coolers designed to be plugged into a vehicle. So, why not into your truck’s cab? Mini fridges and coolers are portable and easily powered by your truck’s cigarette lighter. Prices and options vary and typically range from $100-$500.
Second, consider purchasing a portable oven for your cab for cooking healthy meals. If you store prepared meals in your portable fridge, you’ll need a way to heat them. Consider investing in a mini 12-volt portable oven, which you can also plug into a cigarette lighter. These portable ovens look like tackle boxes. They range in price, but typically cost around $40.
If the expense for these items seems challenging, consider the savings it will bring when you are dining out less and potentially paying less in medical expenses. Again, you are worth it!
2. Prioritize a Fiber-Rich Breakfast
It’s tempting to skip breakfast and bulk up on a larger meal later in the day. However, this often leads to eating convenience food that is typically greasy, salty, and nutrient deficient. If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to overeat at your next meal. A fiber-rich breakfast sets your day up for success! Fiber fills your body and cleans your arteries so you feel full longer.
Reach into your new cooler or fridge and try one of these healthy breakfast options:
- Fruit: Bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, and blueberries are packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Oatmeal: Heat hot water in your oven and enjoy a quick breakfast. Be cautious if you buy instant oatmeal packets as they are usually filled with sugar. Instead, eat whole or instant oats and make your own with your favorite fix-ins ahead of time, such as cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins.
- Nut Butter: Combine your favorite nut butter with fruit, on whole wheat toast, in your oatmeal, or simply eat a spoonful. Choose natural options which do not have added sugar or oil.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: These can be found in the refrigerated section in many gas stations or near the egg section in grocery stores. Quick, easy, and high in protein.
- Yogurt: Easy to find and safe to store in your portable fridge. Opt for yogurt low in sugar and high in protein, such as the Greek variety. Even better, buy a container of plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit with a little honey.
- Pre-Made Smoothies: Since you have a fridge, you can make a smoothie or two ahead of time and bring with you.
3. Plan Ahead for Nutrient-Dense Snacks
Snacking on nutrient-dense food throughout the day is a fantastic idea. Planning snacks does involve thought and shopping time. Instead of eating from bags or boxes, always have ziploc baggies or small containers on hand in your truck so you can create your own grab and go healthy options.
Try these on the road snack choices:
- Raw Veggies: Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and pre-cut celery sticks are easy to find at any grocery store.
- Hummus: Keep hummus in your fridge to pair with raw veggies. You can even find smaller portioned containers in most grocery stores.
- Vegetable Juice: Many grocery stores carry fresh bottled veggie juices now. Drink your veggies if you are in a hurry.
- Fresh Fruit: As with breakfast, fruit is a great portable snack and wonderful paired with nut butter.
- Dried Fruit: Look for low or no sugar added options or combine dried fruit with nuts for a fantastic snack mix.
- Nuts and seeds: Great options include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. A serving of nuts is a small handful. If you are a big fan of nuts, consider buying large quantities in bulk to save money. Keep the larger quantities at home and make a few nut bags for the road. Mixing a variety of nuts together is a great idea, too.
- Popcorn: Make your own popcorn at home, preferably not the microwaved version, and add a healthy fat and salt. Pack into baggies to take with you. There are also healthy snack popcorn bags as well. Just check the ingredients to make sure they are not loaded with artificial flavors.
Keep in mind, any of the breakfast ideas can also be used as snacks as well.
4. Drink Water
Lastly, make certain you are drinking water. Drinking sugary sodas and other beverages is a guaranteed way to sabotage healthy eating. Water is one of the most important aspects of healthy eating habits. Water improves energy levels and digestion and boosts overall health. You can avoid overeating by drinking water, as it makes you feel full. Sometimes you feel hungry when your body is actually thirsty. The best tip for drinking water is to buy a large reusable bottle that appeals to you. Sounds simple, but if you like the bottle, you are more likely to drink from it. In addition, many people find they drink more water if they have a straw. It may be helpful to purchase a gallon or two of filtered water when you shop instead of buying bottled water. Regardless, find what works for you and do it!
Healthy Eating On The Road is Possible
However you choose to eat lunch and dinner, make sure to implement these four tips to set yourself up for a healthier lifestyle. When you have a way to store and prepare food in your truck, prioritize a fiber-rich breakfast, plan ahead with nutrient-dense snacks, and drink water throughout the day, you will notice your body will begin to want to eat healthier! Take the time to restock your cab for a few days at a time and know you are doing something good for your present and future self. It takes time, but at Kopf, we believe you are worth it.
What is your best healthy eating tip? Leave a comment!
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