8 Truck Driver Meal Tips – How to Eat Healthy on the Road

As a truck driver, it can be difficult to stay healthy on the road. There are so many fast food temptations and often we succumb to the “convenience factor” of the drive-thru. It is hard to make good food choices when you’re an OTR truck driver, but as difficult as it is, refrain from fast food unless it’s absolutely required. And by required, I mean, “I’m-gonna-keel-over-right-this-second-from-starvation-if-I-don’t-get-something-in-me-now” required. Once you get in the habit of grabbing something from the drive-thru every day, it becomes difficult to change your ways. But with some tips and a little preparation, you too can become a healthy truck driver! To get you started, here are 8 truck driver meal tips, courtesy of our own health guru, Eric Banter of Shamrock Wellness.

1) Drink water.

We all know that to stay healthy, it’s important to drink lots of water. Drinking enough water every day helps keep your energy up, which is something all truck drivers need to be conscious of! It also fends off dehydration, which can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and headaches.

So… how much water should you actually drink?

Many people are familiar with the “8 by 8” rule, which states that you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. This rule isn’t always accurate since everyone has different body types and lifestyles, but it’s a good guideline. Remember that food provides about 20% of your total water intake. Many fruits and vegetables are about 90% water and these count as part of your daily intake, too.

Another good guideline for how much water you should drink is to take your weight, divide it in half, and drink an ounce for each pound. Example – if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water a day. That’s about 5 bottles of water.

2) Plan your route.

Before you take off for the day, sit down and calculate how far you’re going to drive. Then figure in how often you’re going to stop, and when you’re going to eat along the route. Make sure that if you have to get fast food, that there are healthy options around. I’d recommend investing in a cooler or a mini-fridge to keep in your truck. Stock it with healthy foods like deli meat, fruits, and vegetables. If you have a healthy lunched already packed, you’ll be less inclined to stop for that double cheeseburger and fries. Think of all the money you’ll save by packing your own lunches!

3) Eat before you’re hungry.

If you wait to eat when you’re really hungry, you might eat unhealthy foods that you probably shouldn’t be having. But if you eat before you’re starving, you don’t risk overeating. Don’t stuff your face if you’ve just eaten, but by the same token, don’t wait until your stomach’s about to cave in on itself to have lunch.

Watch out for unconscious eating! Don’t eat your meals while you’re reading, watching TV, or surfing the net. This can cause us to overeat. By focusing your attention solely on eating, you’ll savor your food and be more aware of when your body is actually full.

4) Eat a healthy breakfast.

We’ve all heard it – it’s important to eat a healthy breakfast every day! Many people skip breakfast because they think it’ll help them lose weight, but it can actually have the opposite effect and lead to weight gain. By skipping breakfast, you’ll get hungry quicker and you’ll overeat at your next meal. So what are some easy, on-the-go breakfast meals for truck drivers?

  • Fruit and cheese cubes are easy to store in a cooler or mini fridge.
  • Hard boiled eggs. Before you leave, boil a few eggs to take along in your cooler.
  • A breakfast wrap with a whole wheat tortilla, turkey, and low fat cheese will target multiple food groups. Also try one with peanut butter and bananas. Yum!

5) Eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day.

Studies say you should eat smaller meals every few hours instead of three large meals. This means you should have healthy snacks between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating smaller snacks throughout the day prevents you from becoming so hungry that you grab something unhealthy. And no, potato chips are not a healthy snack. Think along the lines of unsalted cashews and almonds, fruit, string cheese, or peanut butter on whole grain crackers.

6) Eat a healthy lunch.

Lunch should be smaller than breakfast. Stay away from fast food! Some good lunch options are salads and deli sandwiches with greens on them. Remember, loading on the mayo and mustard makes that healthy deli sandwich…not so healthy anymore. Also make sure to check the nutrition facts on your deli meat – some pre-packaged meats contain exorbitant amounts of sodium.

7) Eat a healthy dinner.

Contrary to common American behavior, dinner should be your smallest meal of the day. Stick to foods like beans, rice, and soup. And even though you might be on a tight schedule, don’t eat dinner too close to bedtime (see next point).

8) Don’t eat before bed.

It takes a lot of work to digest large meals. Refrain from eating 1-3 hours before bed as it makes your digestive organs work hard when they should be winding down and preparing your body for sleep. If you eat before bed, you risk the quality and length of your sleep, making you tired, sluggish, and an all around grump the next day. If you find yourself hungry before bed, try drinking lemon water or decaf tea or coffee.

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If you follow these simple, nutrition guidelines, you’ll be on the road to becoming a healthy truck driver in no time! The key to staying healthy over the road is sticking to it and not giving in to temptation.

Since the majority of your time is spent on the go, you have to work harder to maintain a good diet. But with will-power and motivation, you too can become a healthy truck driver. What tips do you have for healthy eating on the road?


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About Derek McClain

Derek McClain is a blogger with TheHealthyTrucker.net and co-host of the Mile Markers show. Derek has worked in the Internet & Technology industry for over 7 years dedicating last few years to writing about truck driving jobs and careers. McClain has always had a passion for exercise and fitness so with truck driver health becoming such a hot topic in the industry, it just made sense to work with TheHealthyTrucker.net. You can Connect with Derek on Google+ here