Breaking up is hard to do

by Donna Benjatschek

Last month, I talked about an unhealthy relationship with sugar- filled, processed foods and the negative effects they can have on your health. Now the big question – how do we change that relationship?

Anyone who has been to a truck stop knows choosing healthy food isn’t easy.

Sugar and processed foods are everywhere, and it’s hard to break up with someone when they are always around.

There are some healthy choices you can make but usually not many. Most stores will carry baskets of fresh fruit but you can’t live on that alone, so combine that with a handful of raw almonds (do not choose candied or salted). Pistachio nuts are also a great choice – you get sweetness and crunch in one delicious bite and it’s good for you.

To deal with today’s reality of truck stop food there are better than the alternative choices you can make that you’ll notice on your waist and energy levels.

If you like pop, switch to water. If you don’t like plain water, add a little lemon or lime. There are even packets available at your local grocery store called True Lemon or True Lime that is easy to add. Perrier and Vitamin Water (Zero) are also better choices, but their carbonation could make you feel more bloated, so drink in moderation. Two to three cups of black coffee a day is OK. Try adding milk instead of cream and either take the sugar out completely or try cutting the amount in half to start with. It could help you drop pounds and inches. Instead of another coffee, I challenge you to drink a bottle of water and I think you’ll be surprised by the energy boost.

Most truck stops have a deli with a choice of salads, veggie cups, and fruit bowls. Enjoy the dressings and dips they come with but don’t drench your food in them.

Choose whole wheat/grain bread over the white stuff but don’t choose fillings with high amounts of mayo. Lean meats with veggies are a great choice and the protein will keep you full a lot longer.

Yogurt can be a great choice but be careful. A lot of yogurts will say they are low fat but are loaded with sugar. Look for brands without added sugar. If you want a little sweetness, add a banana or other fruit and top that off with some cinnamon. Cinnamon is a natural sweetener that is easy to take with you. The fruit and cinnamon combo on your yogurt tastes great and the sugar is ignored.

Potato chips line the aisles and are very addictive. Instead, pick a bag of lighter popcorn (Skinny Pop or Pop Chips). Watch your portions, snack size is the best. And instead of that chocolate bar, choose a protein bar. I found the Simply Protein Bar and the Kind Bar are better choices, as they have less sugar.

Eating healthy as a trucker isn’t always easy. While the best is preparing healthy meals at home for the road, you can’t always do that. You can, however, make small choices that will make big difference towards feeling better and living healthier. My challenge to you is this: start with one choice this week and sustain it for the week. Want to know if it’s working? Measure how you start feeling beginning an hour after eating a healthier food choice. Do you feel as tired? Do you have more energy? Feeling better and getting trimmer will motivate you to make additional healthy choices and create new eating habits. No more diets – just simple lifestyle changes.

Remember, you are worth it. Next month we will expand on some healthy choices you can bring from home.


Donna Benjatschek is an experienced health and nutritional coach based out of Calgary, Alta. Her participation in the Healthy Trucker initiative has launched a passion for helping people in the transportation industry live the benefits of healthier food and exercise choices.
Donna can be reached at


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  • Most bread is pumped with sugar and sodium. I have found only 1 true sourdough with low sodium and 0 sugar.
    Sam’s choice. Next lowest option I have found is natures own buttertop.
    Smart bars are lowest sugar on shelf, followed by Kasji trail mix.
    If you like tuna the the envelopes are a serving and keep extremely well. I personally have totally given up processed meats mostly because of sodium. In fact lowering sodium intake with today’s food choices is much more difficult than lowering sugar. For some drivers, lowering sodium is just as important as lowering sugar.
    Read the labels, know the serving size.