Life on the road is lonely and challenging. There’s not a whole lot a trucker can do to gain a quick mood boost.
Except eat. Eating is one of the few comforts truckers actually have some freedom with.
Unfortunately, with ample access to fast food joints, that comfort can be taken to an extreme.
As a result, truckers’ overall health takes a big hit, impacting everything from their blood pressure to the number on the scale.
In fact, truckers have more health problems, compared to U.S. averages. Around 70 percent of truck drivers are obese and at high risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Many in the trucking industry worry that the poor health of drivers is posing a big threat to the industry.
There’s been a shortage of drivers and that partially has to do with trucker health. One transportation industry report shows 21 percent of drivers who left the field in recent years did so for health reasons.
While trucking is often thought of as one of the unhealthiest occupations, establishing healthy eating and fitness habits OTR is possible.
The good news is, you don’t have to go to extremes and follow the latest fad diets. Simply be realistic about what you can do to change your daily habits and you’ll become a fit, healthy and happy trucker in no time. Here are five tips to help you:
- Portion it
Portion size plays a huge role in healthy eating. By eating a large, yet healthy breakfast, you’ll be less likely to snack throughout the day. For lunch and dinner, your meals should get smaller. For energy, have protein with every meal, but think outside the burger box: fish, chicken, eggs, spinach and split pea or lentil soup will help you power up.
- Ditch the Soda
One of the easiest ways to lose weight quickly is to swap soda for water. Soda is all sugar and will do nothing to make you feel full. Your body will “think” it is still hungry. But by switching from soda to water, you’ll hone your stomach’s ability to distinguish fullness vs. hunger. As a result, you’ll be able to make wise food choices throughout the day.
- Be a Planner
Last minute planning will set you up for poor meal choices. Healthy eating only happens if you are open to planning and preparing your food in advance. A slow-cooker is a must-have if you want to do that. Place the ingredients in the pot and turn it on in the morning. By dinnertime, your meal will be hot and ready. Then, you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Find some recipes that look good to you and buy the ingredients you need from the supermarket before you head out on your next trip.
- Know Your Weaknesses
Is snacking your weakness? The most important part of developing healthy eating habits is to know your weaknesses and be prepared for when they strike. For example, instead of stocking your cab with snacks like chips, crackers and cookies, stock it with nuts, yoghurt, energy bars, fruit or other quick, yet healthy choices.
- Get Moving
When you can, do short bursts of exercise to boost your metabolism. Some truckers even bring workout DVDs with them. Ten to 15 minutes a day of quality exercise (think: challenge yourself, break a sweat and get your heart rate up) is all you need.
If you’re struggling to eat right and stay fit OTR, these minor lifestyle tweaks could make a life-changing difference in your health, weight and your well-being.
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