The trucker lifestyle is an exciting one. You have the freedom of the road, and you’re able to see the whole country. However, the truck driver lifestyle also comes with some challenges. So far, we’ve discussed sleep habits, time management, and staying in touch with loved ones. Today we want to talk about healthy eating.
Did you know that obesity is one of the most common truck driver health problems? And research shows that your diet can have an impact on your mental health! That’s why it’s so important to eat healthily. But what do long-haul truckers eat to stay healthy?
We know eating healthy when you’re driving long shifts without access to a kitchen is tough. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of healthy snacks that you can grab and eat anywhere.
Why Do Truck Drivers Have So Many Health Problems?
Truckers face physical and mental health issues because of the nature of the trucking lifestyle. Even though you’re always on the go, the trucker lifestyle is relatively sedentary because you are sitting down for long periods of the day.
And the isolation of being away from family and friends can lead to depression and other mental health concerns. Some health risks identified in a 2019 study include:
- Sedentary activity levels
- Sleep apnea
- Stress-related illness
- Tobacco use
- Leg pain and sciatica
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
A lot of these problems are in part caused by the fast-food diet that many truckers live on. As a trucker, you know there aren’t many healthy options when you’re on the road. The problem is that fast food can cause many health issues and make you feel terrible!
And many of the health issues mentioned are tied to fast food—for example, obesity-related sleep apnea and diabetes. Often, people who are just starting out in the industry don’t think about these risks. So let’s look at some statistics to show how prevalent they are for truckers.
Truck Driver Health Statistics
These statistics help us identify the main health concerns for truckers to help mitigate them through education! Obesity and cigarette use are twice as common in long-haul truckers than in the general US population.
When it comes to sleep, truckers only average about five hours of sleep per night. That’s three hours less than the recommended! Most people know that sleep can have a significant impact on mental health and concentration. But did you know when you’re sleep-deprived, your body craves unhealthy food and more food than you need because it’s looking for other sources of energy?
And we’ve already mentioned that diabetes is a common health risk in truckers. But it’s so common that truckers are impacted by diabetes 50% more than the rest of Americans.
Trucking is a hard job, so it’s important to feel your best. Plus, getting your health risks under control means a better quality of life. Now we’ve discussed the health risks, let’s talk about how to erase these risks with the right diet.
Healthy Snacks for the Trucker Lifestyle
Staying healthy on the road is a challenge because you constantly find yourself faced with salty, sweet, and harmful snack options. That’s why knowing the right snacks to pick and having them on hand, so they’re convenient for you to grab anytime, is so essential.
Here are some easy-to-eat, healthy snacks you can bring with you anywhere. And some are even available at truck stops!
If you like nuts, they are a fantastic snack to have on hand while trucking. They are full of nutrients that you need, like Omega-3s and protein, but they also are super tasty.
Avoid flavored and salted nuts, as these often come with a lot of extra calories and sodium. If you’re craving something salty, choose a low-salt option from the salted nuts.
Fruit is a simple snack full of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. Berries are known for containing important antioxidants, while citrus will give you a great vitamin C boost.
Fresh fruit is ideal, but if you can’t find any dried or frozen fruit is just as nutritious. The CDC recommends eating 1.5 to 2 cups of fresh fruit per day.
Vegetables are another easy snack that takes little time to prepare. A bag of baby carrots is a ready-to-go snack. Or cut up your own cucumber and cauliflower for a quick snack.
Many grocery stores sell vegetable plates with precut vegetables, so if you spot them, stock up! Vegetables are full of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. As a rule of thumb, the darker the vegetable, the more nutritionally dense it is.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have a lot of nutrients and protein in them. However, most people don’t get a lot of them in their diet.
Hummus is an easy way to incorporate more chickpeas into your diet! You can buy it at the store, but it’s also very easy to make, so you can control the salt content. And hummus makes a great dip for your vegetables.
Guacamole, made from avocado, is an easy-to-eat favorite snack for almost anyone. You can eat this with low-sodium corn chips or sliced vegetables.
Avocado is high in healthy monounsaturated fat, making it a filling but cholesterol-friendly option. Plus, it actually has more potassium than bananas!
Did you know greek yogurt is high in protein? When it comes to snacks that satisfy hunger cravings and meet your daily protein needs, you can’t go wrong here.
Greek yogurt is easy to eat while you’re trucking and customizable with simple additions. Try adding fruit, oats, or cereal to your yogurt to make it a well-rounded small meal.
Jerky has been a popular snack among truckers for years, but not all jerky is healthy. If you’re
grabbing your jerky at the cash register when you fuel up, you might want to consider changing brands.
Avoid jerky that is high in sodium or has a lot of added sugars. Instead, opt for jerky with natural ingredients you can pronounce, with minimal added salt and sugar. You’ll find these options at the grocery store.
Protein is an essential part of a meal or snack because it helps you feel full faster and stay full longer. Protein bars come in low-calorie options with high amounts of protein and other nutrients.
Many options out there have added vitamins, like calcium or vitamin B6, so check the nutrition label when choosing your brand. Just look out for excess sugar.
We’re not suggesting you eat a ton of cheese every day, as it’s pretty high in fat. But small amounts of cheese can help you meet your daily needs for calcium, protein, zinc, and vitamins A and B12.
Grab some cheese sticks at the grocery store, or portion it out yourself. Just be sure not to overdo it.
Popcorn is an excellent alternative when you’re craving chips. It’s crunchy and salty but has significantly fewer calories and fat than regular chips.
While there are many varieties of popcorn out there, go for one that has low-fat and low-sodium levels. Some are even popped in healthy olive or coconut oil!
Take Care of Yourself Like You Take Care of Your Truck
A trucker lifestyle doesn’t have to include unhealthy eating habits. While fast food is perfectly fine once in a while, you don’t want to rely on it as your main meal while you’re on the road. Follow our healthy snack tips so you can feel better and get healthier!
Whether you need a new part for your semi, a quick service check, or a large repair, contact Kelly’s Truck at 1-800-793-9282. We offer roadside assistance when you need a hand, and you can make parts requests and get service quotes online for your convenience.
Take care of yourself and your truck with Kelly’s Truck.