My husband is a truck driver and I am going to write this blog to the wife’s and supporting staff of all those truck driving men out there. I realize that there are also many women drivers and I am in no way leaving you out. I am just writing what I know, however all the suggestions that I will give can be used by anyone, male or female.
There are many challenges that truck drivers face, however until I road along a couple of times I really didn’t get it. That was a real eye opener for me. The days left my body stiff and sore. The truck was noisy and bouncy and I felt really tired, and I was just a passenger. There was no place to pee, or eat, at least when I wanted to. Stopping somewhere is not always a option. For drivers of flat beds and over size loads, the physical demands are many. Throwing tarps and chaining down loads is punishing on the back, knees and shoulders and can be exhausting and challenging. Add in some wind and snow and things get exponentially worse.
Since I am a nutrition coach I am just going to address some of the difficulties of eating well on the road. Nutritious choices are almost nonexistent in truck stops however there are ways that you can help.
Unfortunately for those of you who stay on the road for weeks and months at a time, finding and eating nutritious food is pretty much on your shoulders. Besides offering encouragement and suggestions from home, there is not much that anyone can do to help, however with some planning and desire you can carry healthy choices with you as well.
Since your drivers ability to get and keep a DOT Medical Examiners card is dependent on a certain degree of health, it is important to maintain that health. There are ways that you can help.
Purchase a Cooler
First you will need a way to keep the food safe that you bring from home. If your truck does not have a refrigerator you will need a super insulated ice chest or an electric one that plugs into your truck.
Stock your cooler with healthy food.
Food options at truck stops are full of refined carbohydrates, sugar and unhealthy fats. What is in short supply are fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean sources of protein. Luckily these items are easy to prep, carry with you and eat on the run. Keep it simple because if it is difficult it will be hard to stay committed. When you are cooking a meal, prepare a little extra that you can freeze or package and send with your driver.
Finger foods are the bomb
Slice veggies and send in portion sizes. (carrots, celery, bell peppers of all colors, jicama, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, whatever you like) Sliced veggies give your driver a healthy “hand to mouth” food that is high in nutrients, fiber and water.
Send small bags of raw nuts. (raw and not roasted it healthier) Loaded with healthy fat, but fat never the less so a small handful is about right.
Apples, bananas, oranges, washed grapes, or berries all make great treats.
You can make a salad in a wide mouth jar by putting a little salad dressing in the bottom of the jar, followed by chopped veggies and ending with salad greens. Consider included a boiled egg or some chopped meat or walnuts, then when it is time to eat, just shake it up and dig in.
Pack your protein – Just make a little extra of what you are already doing
If you are baking chicken breasts or other protein, cook extra and freeze for later or package for the next day or two.
Make an egg bake loading with veggies that you can cut into squares and send. It will keep for a couple of days and is yummy even cold.
Boil some eggs, peel them, dry them off and send with a little sea salt.
Greek yogurt (high in protein) with a few berries. Some yogurt is high in sugar so read the labels.
Hydrate with water
Carry lots of cool water. If you are a soda drinker, try to start cutting down on your soda consumption. Soda is loaded with empty calories. To make matters worse that sweet taste in your mouth only makes you want to eat more sweet or salty snacks.
Whatever healthy food you can send with your driver will make it easier for him to make good choices and save money in the process.
Encourage your driver to fill up on some raw veggies before stopping at the truck stop to buy fuel. That will help him to resist the urge to purchase foods that will ultimately undermine his health.
I hope this gives you a few ideas. Send your driver off with lots of fresh wholesome food in his truck. This will help him to do the difficult job he has to do and give his body the nutrients it needs. Your driver has to be willing to eat the food you send, however together you can make a difference. Make it easy, keep it simple!
This blog was written by Nutrition Coach Diana Thuma. I hope that you find these suggestions useful. Highway Health Nutrition coaching is available online for both drivers and their spouses.