No Spare Tires: 7 Easy Steps For Eating Healthy On The Road

 It may seem impossible to combine healthy eating and long-haul driving, but it’s not. The trick is to understand what nutritious eating is – and what it’s not.

It is not about eating rabbit food, it is not about weighing and measuring everything you eat, and it is definitely not about depriving yourself of every food you enjoy. 

It is about feeling great, maintaining a steady amount of energy, and caring for your long-term physical health. 

1. Pay Attention to Portion Distortion

A typical-sized portion of meat or fish should be about the size of a bar of soap, or your cellphone. The amount of pasta, rice or potatoes should easily fit into an eight-ounce glass.

If you must heap your plate, do so with veggies and whole grains and aim to avoid foods that are high in fat. If that sounds like too drastic a change in lifestyle, try eating your regular large portions less often.

Examples of foods high in fat are French fries, fried chicken and fast-food burgers. Try substituting French fries with a baked potato topped with yogurt or grilled chicken instead of fried.

2. Choose Water, Lots of Water, and Avoid Soda Drinks

Hit the bottle if you’re thirsty—just make sure it’s water, NOT soda, energy drinks or alcohol. Keep a bottle of water handy. Taking small sips throughout the day can help keep you alert on the road as well. 

Fact: If you drink one can of regular soda a day, after one year you will have drank the equivalent of 77 cups of sugar.

Other nutritious choices are milk, juices and smoothies. But remember that juices and smoothies are also high in sugars. Tea (particularly herbal) is another healthy hydration choice.

3. Skip the Cream and Sugar in Your Jolt of Java

Drink it black, and at just two calories per eight ounce cup, coffee is a sweet deal. Besides giving you a jolt of energy, research shows that a daily cup of java may also protect you from Alzheimer’s Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

BUT—no more than two to three cups a day. Beyond that you run the danger of dehydration, nausea, rapid heartbeat, shaking and difficulty getting to sleep.

4. Form Healthy Habits One Step at a Time

Small changes slowly become habits. As each tiny change becomes a habit, you add one more wholesome choice to your repertoire of healthy foods.

·   Add a salad to your lunch

·   Have dessert only once a week.

·   Eat an apple or banana with a handful of nuts for a snack.

·   Switch from starchy white to whole grain bread.

If you stumble in your goal to eat more nutritiously, dust yourself off and start again.

5. Avoid Refined Sugar & Consume Natural Sugar in Moderation

Refined sugar is your enemy. It provides a quick high, followed by a crash. Natural sugars, such as those found in fruit, can provide a healthy alternative while still satisfying your sweet tooth. Instead of a candy bar, try a low-fat granola bar and instead of artificial juices, try a real piece of fruit. 

Don’t forget that sugar hides in packaged goods under a variety of names. Cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, molasses, lactose, maltose and glucose are some of its more common pseudonyms. We can’t ever get away from sugar, but we can minimize the amount we intake.

6. Add Vitamin Supplements to Your Diet

Eating on the road may not always provide the best nutrition, so a daily multivitamin with mineral could be a good idea. Pop a magnesium, B-complex and Vitamin C supplement to boost energy.

7. Plan Ahead for On-The-Go Alternatives

·   Protein shakes are an easy and healthy supplement to any meal, especially if you add some berries to the mix. They are high in protein, easily transportable and quick to whip up. Protein shakes can be made with an easily-purchased carton of milk, or with water.

·   If you have a refrigerator and a microwave in your long-haul truck, other options include asking your at-home partner to make an extra helping of the evening meal and freezing it. Good nutrition, and tender loving care—all in one package.

·   Healthy snacks sound paradoxical, but they’re not. We’ve been conditioned by television to think of snacks as chips, chocolate bars and other pre-packaged goods. Instead, try fresh fruit and nuts, dried fruit like apple rings and apricots, sliced and diced raw veggies with hummus or some other healthy dip, trail mixes, whole grain crackers with peanut or almond butter, or low-fat yogurt. Be sure to diversify your snacks since most nut products, while high in protein and low in sugar, are also quite high in fat.

It’s important that truck drivers pay special attention to their eating habits due to the challenging combination of remaining sedentary for many hours at a time and the regular habit of eating out instead of preparing home-cooked meals with hand-chosen ingredients. For the sake of your long-term health, it’s worth putting these quick tips into place!

Don Guay

Don Guay

A 23-year veteran of the New York State Troopers, Don Guay spent six years with the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit doing roadside inspections. Today, he uses his experience and training to ensure RIST drivers and equipment adhere to the highest standards. As safety manager, Don is responsible for overseeing inspection reports, safety department checks, investigations, and training. He jokes that he left the “dark side” and came to the good side, representing and protecting RIST drivers, our customers and their freight, and the general motoring public. Safety is more than a checklist; it is our top priority.