It's not a particularly well-kept secret that truckers don't have the healthiest diets. Fast food, candy, chips, coffee and soda aren't exactly part of a balanced meal plan, but in the catch-as-catch-can world of rest stops and diners, you take what you can get.
The good news is that even with the limited options drivers sometimes face, there are still many ways to eat healthy.
DO: Find better snacks
Again, packaged foodsare usually the most common options at rest stops, but there are plenty of other good ones available, according to Apex CDL Institute. Choosing to snack on peanuts, jerky, protein bars, fresh fruits and so on will all provide better nutrition without sacrificing much of the taste.
In addition, more truck stops also offer a wider variety of healthy treats these days, so be sure to check those out as well.
DON'T: Eat one or two big meals
While truckers are always crunched for time, it's not good for your body to eat a ton of food once or twice a day, Apex added. Instead, planning to have a few smaller meals throughout the day, whether it's a burger at a diner or a tuna sandwich from a cooler in the passenger's seat, will help your body digest everything in a healthy manner.
DO: Snack when you need it
Eating well is an important part of staying alert behind the wheel, and that's critical for any trucker, according to CDL Life. As such, despite fears of going over a calorie goal, if you're feeling hungry, you should at least eat a little something whenever you need. If you have those healthy snacks on hand, you can do so guilt-free.
DON'T: Rely on diet soda
Diet soda has no calories so it's much safer and better to drink than regular soda, but that doesn't mean it's good for you or a serviceable alternative, CDL Life advised. The reason for this is simple: Diet soda still contains artificial sweeteners, which tell your body to release insulin. That hormone makes the body start storing more fat.
With that in mind, instead of using soda - or worse, energy drinks - to keep yourself alert behind the wheel, it's usually a better idea to rely on unsweetened tea and coffee.
DO: Always have water on hand
Water may not have the same flavor or give you as much pep as other beverages, but it's crucial to staying healthy, according to Knight Transportation. That's because it actually does provide a little energy boost thanks to the amount of hydration it provides, and also helps fuel proper digestion. Moreover, drinking a lot of water will also help you feel full and reduce the urge to snack, cutting back even more on calories.
With that in mind, you should always have a good-sized, durable, refillable bottle on hand so you can sip from it throughout the day.
Eating right is about using your best judgment and self-control. It's not always easy, but it's key to avoiding the health concerns that regularly crop up with a life on the road.
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