How to eat healthy on the road

When you’re on the go, your food needs to be healthy, convenient, simple, and easy to eat.

The last blog I wrote here discussed the importance of supporting the metabolism in order to maintain a healthy weight. This also contributes to better body temperature regulation, better hormone balance, and a stronger immune system.

For drivers, finding healthy options that fit this criteria isn’t always easy, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite foods that support your health and your metabolism, and are great for busy days on the road.

(Photo: iStock)

These suggestions are easy to eat, simple foods that can either be purchased in a restaurant or truck stop, or easily prepped at home or on the road and brought with you.

  • Granola and protein bars can be great, and are super portable and easy to eat – but don’t just grab the first one you see. The majority are filled with unhealthy things, so take a quick look at the label and pick one with the fewest ingredients, as well as ingredients you recognize. The best ones are made from dates, nuts, fruit, and collagen or whey isolate for protein. Any sugar should be from fruit, honey, or maple syrup used to sweeten it.

 

  • Beef jerky or pepperettes are always kicking around, and if you look for a small ingredient list, they can be a great way to get some filling protein in a pinch, and they couldn’t be more convenient on the go. Try not to rely on these daily, as they are processed, but are great when you have limited options.

 

  • Canned salmon and tuna are good sources of protein and fat, and make for convenient snacks or additions to a meal. Eat with veggies or crackers, or add to a salad, a wrap, a sandwich, and more.

 

  • Eggs are another great source of protein and are nutrient-dense. They are often available as part of snack kits in truck stops, at restaurants, or can easily be hard boiled at home for quick on the go snacks. As with anything, if you don’t digest or tolerate eggs well, you can skip them.

 

  • Nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and cashews can be a great snack or addition to a meal, but it’s important to try and find some without added oil. Check the ingredient list and make sure there is no added oil.

 

  • Fresh fruits and veggies are usually available pre-cut – now, the freshness can vary and the prices are sometimes marked up, but they are always worth checking out. You can also pack cut up carrots, celery, peppers, or any fruit for an easy to eat snack any day.

 

  • Hummus, guacamole packages, and other dips have recently become widely available, and can be eaten with the veggies you may have been able to find or bring. Even some truck stops carry them.

 

  • Oatmeal requires some hot water, but that is widely available at any truck stop or restaurant. Pre-packed single-serve oats tend to have a lot of sugar, but there are unsweetened versions out there. Or, you can portion out your own dry oats and add in nuts and dried fruit at home and take them on the road. Add hot water and your meal or snack is complete. Oat cups are also available at places like Tim Horton’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more.

 

  • If you can tolerate and digest dairy well, milk and yogurt are usually available and are great on the go options and are perfect for supporting the metabolism, helping you to burn more calories.

 

  • Other quick options from fast food restaurants include baked potatoes (Wendy’s carries these), salads, and wraps made with grilled meat instead of fried.

 

  • Finally, water, tea, and coffee are going to be your better beverage options and are easy to drink on the go, so avoid the trap of picking up a pop or other soft drink, which many people do when on the road.

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 amorley@healthytrucker.com

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  • Change the rules so we can take fresh fruits and vegetables accoss the border. Also make all companies give truck drivers time to stop and n a grocery store every day and equip every O T R truck with a fridge. Most truck drivers do not have time with E logs to stop for good food or for a shower or good medical care.

  • Andrea shares good points, however not realistic. My trucker & I know many truckers that had heart attacks over the years. Stephen is correct: Truckers rarely have time to shop & lack space in sleeper bunks. A truck stop is last place one finds healthy/fresh food, but is the only option in the middle of the night. With Covid regulations in Canada, indoor dining is closed & truckers rarely have time for sit-down meals. Fast food drive thru is open in tiny parking lots not fit for a tractor-trailer unit! My trucker is long-distance & usually home for weekend reset, always exhausted & cooking is not his talent. I’m a good, health conscious cook. While he’s OTR I will create 1 or 2 large, healthy casseroles with meat, lots of veggies & some rice, quinoa or potatoes. In 2 cup glass containers I freeze them for taking OTR. Many of you guys out there are good cooks too! If you don’t have a wife/mate able to cook for you; this is the way to go. My trucker appreciates it & I have overlapping choices, so there’s more than 1 variety any week. Being home alone with the dog… I enjoy them too, when I don’t feel like cooking or messing up the kitchen. Truck freezer (like many others) is extremely small. We have a 12 volt cooler, built a stand for foot of bed (high enough to fit feet) and strapped it all down. He puts a couple in the fridge to thaw, a few ice packs in cooler & everything stays frozen. The only unfortunate part is he has to microwave to heat up.