When broken down, there’s two sides to getting healthy: knowing what to do, and actually following through with it. I work with drivers all the time who tell me they’re ready to get healthy, they just don’t know what they should actually be eating, especially when on the road with limited time and resources.
That’s why my posts will work to break down exactly what to eat, what workouts to do, and how to make it all happen with a driver’s lifestyle. From healthy food you can get in a truck stop, to stocking your truck with the right staples to cook healthy meals with, I’ll cover it all!
First up, healthy truck stop food. Whether you’re a driver or just someone who’s stopped for food along the highway, you know how overwhelming it can be to try and find something healthy to eat in a truck stop. I’ve been to several, and they all have similar options, including some healthy items.
First, head to the convenience section. Here you’ll find the chips, chocolate, and soft drinks…but don’t even look at those! Take a walk around and you’ll find:
Granola and protein bars – there are plenty! Give the label a quick read to find ones that have fewest ingredients and the lowest amount of sugar.
Nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and cashews. Go for unsalted and raw if available.
Canned salmon and tuna – full of protein and healthy fats, and can be used many different ways as a snack or part of a meal.
Beef jerky – no, it’s not the healthiest, but it can be a great way to get some protein in a pinch. Get the low-sodium if you can, and try not to have it too often.
Fresh fruit and veggies, usually pre-cut up – the quality can vary, but they’re almost always available and are worth checking out. The more produce you can get into your diet on the road, the better.
A big jug of water to keep in the truck! Drink up!
Once you’ve picked up some snacks, head to the restaurant area for a meal if you need it:
First, find some veggies. This can be tough in fast-food style restaurants, but they usually carry salads. Buffets and regular menus will (almost always) have a choice of vegetables as well, but it’s up to you to actually choose them. They may be hidden on the menu, so be sure to ask if you can’t find them. If you focus on getting your veggies first, you won’t forget them.
Next, pick your protein. Quality over quantity here. You don’t need a huge serving of meatloaf or fried chicken, just choose a minimally processed type of meat (ie. not luncheon meat) to have as part of your meal.
For a side, a small serving of potatoes or rice is a good idea, but stay away from french fries. Cut back on bread as well – if it’s part of a sandwich or burger consider removing part of it, and stay away from dinner rolls which add unnecessary carbs to an already complete meal.
Eating well in a truck stop doesn’t always come easy, but there are more healthy options available than you may think. It’s easy to default to your typical unhealthy choices, but if you look around, ask some questions, and use some willpower you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to stock your truck with healthy foods from the grocery store as often as you can so you can build your own meals – stay tuned for a post on that!
Andrea Morley is the lead nutritionist and health coach at Healthy Trucker (a division of NAL Insurance), where she educates and motivates drivers and office staff across the industry to improve their health through simple, consistent changes in their diet and exercise routines. She has a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about wellness and helping others reach their goals. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org All posts by Andrea Morley