As an over-the-road trucker, it can be too easy to instinctively reach for the bag of chips, candy-bar, or any other other fast-food options while you’re what constantly seems like on-the-go. Time is money, and the convenience of a quick and easy, at your fingertips meals means you can continue moving ahead at a steady pace.
But poor eating habits in combination with being seated behind the wheel of a big-rig throughout most of your day can lead to numerous health issues including obesity, high-blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more. Neglecting to take care of your body will inevitably lead to these types of health problems, ultimately jeopardizing the driver’s ability to perform their job effectively.
Luckily, there are many simple ways truckers can make better health and wellness choices while on the road. These slight tweaks can make a major difference in driver’s physical health, mental wellness, energy levels, and overall feeling good.
We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorites below. These healthy habits are essential for your personal health, well-being, and your career to avoid burnout or exhaustion. How do you stay healthy on the road? Let us know in the comments!
1. Know What Is Available
Making conscious healthier eating choices doesn’t have to be complicated. AllTrucking.com advises to create a rough plan for meals and snacks a few days before your trip so you can get what you need from the grocery store and pack everything securely. This minimizes the amount of money you need to spend at truck stops, where convenience items are often much more expensive.
If you are relying on truck stops, look past the typically advertised deals on soda, candy, and other sweet treats. Not only are these snacks typically high in carbohydrates and sugar which lead to weight-gain, the high levels of sugar will also cause your energy levels to spike then drop off quickly causing exhaustion. Opt for pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurts, or frozen burritos instead.
2. Start Your Day Off Right
You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s especially important for truck drivers who need their energy levels to stay up for long periods of time on the road.
Eating breakfast every morning is a good decision that keeps on giving. In addition to increased energy levels, you will also be less inclined to snack non-stop throughout the day, and less likely to be overweight (Rush.edu). Try hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, cottage cheese, or whole grain bread with peanut butter, which are all delicious and nutritious options when on-the-go.
3. Stock Up
There are many portable appliances available that truck drivers can use to improve their eating habits including refrigerator, portable stove, crock pot, hot pot, and even a blender!
Meal planning (see point #1) is a great way to eat well and save money on food expenses instead of relying on truck stops and diners. Be sure to have a mini-fridge in your truck and keep it stocked with your prepped meals, snacks, and plenty of beverages.
4. Choose Water Over Soda
One simple and easy change truckers can make is to swap out soda for water. It is critical that truckers remember to drink water and stay hydrated while on the road - without enough water, you may run the risk of dizziness, fatigue or tiredness, and dizziness.
Start by drinking one water per day in place of a fruit drink or soda. Then, increase to two waters per day. Keep doing this until you phase out soda almost completely. If you crave something more exciting than water, try a carbonated water or a flavored water powder from Propel or Gatorade, among others.
Another great way to stay hydrated and healthy and cut back on your caloric intake is to drink one 8 oz. glass of water before every meal. Oftentimes when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty. By chugging a glass of water, you’re filling up your belly which will help avoid overeating that can lead to fatigue.
5. Remember, Habit Forming Takes Time
Last but not least, be kind to yourself while making the change to a more healthy lifestyle. The process of forming new habits and changing old habits doesn’t happen overnight.
According to a study done by University College London, it takes approximately 66 days to form a new habit. That means in one year you could form up to five new habits! We recommend focusing on changing one new habit at a time so you avoid having too much on your plate at one time (pun intended!).
Some days you may fall off the wagon and have a Coke when you told yourself you would only drink water. Don’t get discouraged! Just keep actively focusing on making good decisions daily. The more practice you get, the better you will become at incorporating healthy habits into your everyday trucker lifestyle!