When you’re on the road, it’s understandable – there is a distinct lack of food options when you are doing your best to get to your destination on time. Compound that with a lack of sleep, a lack of storage, and more often than not a lack of area to prepare food, and a driver can truly be up the creek.
There are a slew of news stories profiling driver nutrition and how to improve health on the road. While these stories likely mean well and surely have some valuable information contained within them, they are somewhat idyllic solutions for an otherwise unforgiving industry.
The reality is that drivers are not hopeless slobs determined to perpetuate unhealthy lifestyles against all odds – they are just losing more and more healthy resources in an industry that has done relatively little to help promote individual health on the road. When a person has to be in-cab for seemingly days on end may not even encounter a grocery store much less anywhere that sells produce, what options does a driver have?
It truly is a personal commitment that is no easy feat. However, there are a few suggestions that can help make substantial changes in the lifestyle and health of a driver.
- Stock Up In Advance, If Possible
More than anything, the way to maximize one’s health on the road comes back to seizing the opportunities when they arise. If you come across a market, grocery store or post that has healthy options, buy in bulk at the time to prepare for multiple meals. Many rigs nowadays are outfitted with mini-fridges or other cooler systems to preserve non-perishables. It’s unnecessary for drivers to live off canned food and bags of chips when there are options to keep fresh food around in one’s truck.
- Snack, But Snack With The Best
Many articles and blogs seem to condemn drivers for having the urge to snack simply because they are stationary. Considering our bodies require a certain amount of calories depending on our size and age, it’s draconian to insist that snacking out to be outlawed. If done correctly, there are very few health penalties one can incur. Drivers are encouraged to stock up on high-protein snacks with low sodium and saturated fats – in other words, snacks that will actually keep you full.
Trail mix is an excellent option for those on the go as are many types of nuts – these can be easily found at many locations and have the properties within them that will keep a driver satiated and satisfied. Jerky can also be a great snack to keep on hand, but one must be wary in choosing a brand that has lower sodium and is without a great deal of fat. For those who are feeling slightly more adventurous, deli roll ups are also great options – combine a slice of lunch meat, a small slice of cheese, lettuce and tomato in a tortilla for a snack that is filling and satisfying.
- Don’t Entirely Deprive Yourself
While eating properly and maintaining health is all well and good, there will inevitably be times where options are slim and times call for a less-than-healthy choice. With this in mind, drivers should not feel entirely distraught. Mentally, it’s not healthy for a driver to deprive themselves of some food that provides them pleasure and stimulation, there’s just no need to go overboard in doing so. The truth is that our bodies require some fat in our diets, and while that fat should ideally be “good” fat (salmon and the like) it’s fine to occasionally seek out fast food as a dinner option. Ideally, you want to limit fast food to seldom occasions, but a celebratory meal won’t ruin someone. One’s body also needs to have a variation in diet in order to process different types of foods efficiently. If one’s body is only receiving the same types of meals (salads, nuts, oatmeal) it can prove to be problematic.
- Look To Other Truckers For Advice
While I may have lambasted outside sources for providing false or ineffective information, there is a great deal of merit behind the experience of other truckers. One can look to in-cab recipes or videos to see the creative ideas that others are coming up with and learn tricks in how to duplicate these meals without having a full kitchen at your disposal. Stand of the shoulders of giants and see how others manage their lives and diets by some cursory research into the matter.
It’s not that studies regarding driver’s health are without merit. Health on the road is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed and one that isn’t easily solved. However, instead of immediately lambasting drivers for sticking to easy food options, perhaps news outlets should examine with more detail exactly why they are doing this and begin to focus our attention on the ways the industry can resolve this.