We drivers are now required to take a mandatory 30 minute meal break sometime between five and eight hours of driving. Sometimes this is difficult to do, especially when we start our shift at night and have difficulty finding parking. All too often, we end up grabbing fast food at a truck stop and wolfing it down on the fuel island. We watch the minutes tick away towards the magic 30, hoping we can get away with blocking the fuel island for that long. Sometimes we have to park at a rest area with no food available. Worse yet, we take the break at a shipper or receiver. That is when planning ahead for a healthy lunch is a very good idea.
Since I began my healthy eating plan, I pack salads for a week and store them in my refrigerator. I put a base of lettuce, usually the packaged spring mix, in a plastic container. Make sure that the lettuce is as dry as possible (moisture helps it deteriorate more quickly). On top of that goes a mixture of chopped vegetables like carrots, radishes, green onions, red and yellow peppers, celery, or anything else I fancy. Sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes complete the salad. My salads will keep for a week.
You can also make a healthy vegetable soup with most of the ingredients above (minus the lettuce), and heat it in your microwave or Burton cooker.
Sandwiches can be tossed together quickly, if you have planned and brought along the ingredients. Anything to avoid the roller dog! Don’t forget salad dressing, mayonnaise, and mustard, if you use them. Add pickles too, whatever kind you like.
Be sure to bring along an assortment of fresh fruit, especially fruits like apples and tangerines that travel well and can be eaten easily.
The reason so many of us drivers put on so much weight has many factors. Certainly the stress of our jobs, the odd sleeping hours, and sedentary time behind the wheel don’t help. However, our diet is such a huge factor. The trick to getting healthy is to give our bodies the most nutrition for the least amount of calories. Leafy greens, really all vegetables, pack the most bang for the calories. Fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds closely follow.
At first, it is hard to change our eating habits from hamburgers and hot dogs with French fries chased down with sugary sodas and candy to what many folks used to call “rabbit food”. It is difficult because many of us are literally addicted to the super sweet (or salty) and fatty diet we are used to.
However, the struggle is well worth it. The benefits of a healthy diet are enormous. The change in diet to eating healthier foods has been known to reverse diabetes, improve heart health, lower cholesterol, and help with numerous other problems. You might even toss away that CPAP and be able to see your shoes again.
Happy, healthy lunching!
, Trucking Life