Let’s be real — truck stops are filled with tempting sweets and salty snacks. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found one in four U.S. truck stops has limited healthy selections. NIOSH also reports truckers are twice as likely to be obese compared to other workers and are more likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
A packaged snack is convenient, but likely full of sugar, carbs and sodium, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, ultimately slowing your metabolism. According to HealthyTrucker.com, you can keep from gaining unhealthy pounds with a few steps to support your metabolism.
Metabolism is the rate your body burns calories and uses energy from food. The quicker your metabolism, the more calories you burn. Check out some quick tips for keeping your metabolism revved while on the road.
Healthy Tip 1: Eat More Frequently
You may find yourself eating one meal at the end of the day to get in as much road time as possible, but one big meal can be a downer for your metabolism! Nutritionists recommend eating every few hours.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Kick off your day with a good mix of protein, carbs and healthy fat, such as a hard-boiled egg and fruit or yogurt and a granola bar made with whole grains.
- Eat meals and snacks at regular intervals and have a snack before you snooze if you’re still hungry. An ounce of cheese or a handful of almonds will boost your metabolism as you sleep.
- If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid drastically cutting calories. While it may work at first, eventually your metabolism will slow down as your body adjusts to fewer calories.
Healthy Tip 2: Make Mindful Choices
Most of your calories should come from foods without a lot of added salt, sugar or hard-to-pronounce ingredients — think baby carrots, apple slices, nuts, vegetables and healthy protein sources.
- Stop at a grocery store or find a truck stop with a refrigerated section offering fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure your meals have a healthy mix of protein, carbs and fat. Lean meat and dairy are great sources of protein. Supplement on the road with low-sugar protein powders.
- Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs carbs for energy, and an extremely low-carb diet may create fatigue. Berries or bananas can be packed and eaten on the go. Sweet potatoes and brown rice are good restaurant options.
- You can get healthy fat from avocados or nuts. Try to avoid highly processed fats in many packaged snacks.
Healthy Tip 3: Preparation is Key
The goal is to prepare yourself with readily available choices and the knowledge of the best food to grab on the go.
- Prep meals at home or make use of your cooler or cab’s refrigerator to load up on healthy snacks and water.
- Quick meal prep options include jar salads, wraps and sandwiches. Check out this list of healthy meal and snack ideas from CDL.com.
- You can equip your truck with a microwave, crockpot or hot plate! You could even purchase a small oven, about the size of a tackle box, and heat up meals in your cab.
If you want to drastically change your diet, see a nutritionist or physician before you make any major change. TVC Pro-Driver’s WellCard Health Program saves you up to 50% on physician visits and other healthcare within the WellCard network.