With the temperatures dropping, we naturally look to warm, comforting meals to satisfy us, but they often come with a cost: high calories, limited fruits & veggies, and low nutrient density.
Whether you’re at home or in the truck, you can whip up healthy “comfort food” with the right ingredients, tools, and a little know how.
Many of the drivers I talk to who often cook in the truck say rice cookers are their favourite piece of equipment, allowing them to make meals quickly and all in one pot. This is perfect for hearty food like stews, soups, and more. If you don’t have a rice cooker, a slow cooker is another great option, but many drivers say they prefer the rice cooker as they don’t leave a lingering smell of food like the slow cooker can.
Once you have the right tool to cook with, there are endless combinations of healthy ingredients you can add to it, depending on preferences and availability. If you’re pretty new to cooking, just search some recipes online for “healthy slow cooker recipes” or “healthy comfort food” to get an idea of what you can whip up.
The ingredients you use are a total preference, but some healthy options that contribute to a filling and comforting meal include potatoes (regular or sweet), quinoa, rice, and any other root veggies such as squash and carrots. Grains like quinoa and rice are great to have on hand in the truck, because they take up very little space!
Next, keep other veggies and legumes on hand like canned beans and tomatoes. Then, use whichever fresh veggies and meat you are able to keep in the truck or pickup on the road. Truck stops often have cut up celery and carrot sticks, which can be repurposed into dinner if you’re in a pinch!
Finally, add some flavor! Dried herbs & fresh garlic are a great way to add flavor to dishes, and can be added at the beginning of cooking for more mellow taste, or near the end for more punch.
Have fun with it and be flexible! If you only have white potatoes instead of sweet, or if broccoli is on sale when the recipe calls for cauliflower, just go with it! Soon, you’ll be a pro at making heart, healthy meals right in the truck.
Homemade Chicken Stew
Stew is a warm, hearty, comforting dish that will likely take you right back to your childhood. This version is full of protein, complex carbs, and veggies, is surprisingly easy to make, and can easily be done in a truck using a slow cooker or rice cooker! This specific recipe was created for a rice cooker, as we know a lot of drivers use them in their trucks. If you don’t cook in the truck, make a batch at home and take it on the road to reheat for dinner!
3 medium sized potatoes, roughly chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, or ½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4-6 thighs
Salt & pepper, to taste
1. Add all ingredients to the rice cooker and stir to combine.
2. Set the rice cooker to Rice/Cook depending on your device. If using a slow cooker, it will take about 3-4 hours.
3. Once finished (chicken should be cooked through and potatoes tender), stir well and shred/chop the chicken. If you like, Break up the potatoes a bit and then stir to thicken the dish.
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 email@example.com All posts by Andrea Morley