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Healthy Eating for Truckers

author image Stephanie M. Beaudette MEd., RDN
Based in Colorado, Stephanie M. Beaudette has been a registered dietitian/nutritionist for over 18 years providing nutrition education and training to healthcare providers and the public. She received her Master of Education in nutrition sciences from the University of Cincinnati. Beaudette has extensive experience in prenatal nutrition, women's health, weight management and promoting overall health and wellness.
Healthy Eating for Truckers
Semi trucks lined up at a truck stop. Photo Credit vitpho/iStock/Getty Images

Over-the-road truckers and even those who deliver goods on a daily basis can be challenged to eat a healthy diet and by the monotony of fast food. Diners, truck stops, convenience and fast food options are often higher in calories, fat and sodium derailing the best of intentions when it comes to healthy eating. Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily to balance calories and nutrients when meal choices are limited.

Good Options for Quick Meals

Foods that are high in fiber can leave you feeling fuller for longer and yet are often lower in calories and fat. Oatmeal and other high-fiber breakfast cereals paired with nonfat or low-fat milk and fresh fruit are quick and easy breakfast options that can be prepared while on the road. Broth-based soups such as vegetable or chicken noodle along with salads are always good meal starters for lunch or dinner, as they help fill your stomach yet can be low in calories and fat depending on your choices. When dining out, limit creamy sauces and select baked or grilled meats to cut back on fat and calories.

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Eating for Truckers
Fresh fruit, high-fiber snack bars and pre-washed and cut veggies are easy-to-eat, nutritious snack choices. Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

Having a well-stocked cab with healthy snack choices minimizes the need to grab fast food when hunger strikes and you don't have time to stop for a meal. Keep foods that travel well under any condition such as apples, oranges, unsalted mixed nuts, whole-grain crackers and individual servings of natural peanut butter for snacks that provide nutrients, protein and fiber for fullness. If you have a portable fridge, items like higher-protein Greek yogurt mixed with berries, precut veggies like celery and carrots and string cheese or other natural cheeses make great snack options.

Making Your Own Meals

Making your own meals allows you to control the fat, calorie and salt content of your food. Specialty appliances like portable coolers, mini slow cookers and lunchbox cookers can provide truckers with the freedom to store and cook their own meals in the comfort of their cabs simply by plugging into a 12-volt outlet. A small pot roast with red potatoes and baby carrots can be a delicious and satisfying meal that cooks while you drive. Slow cooker liners can make cleanup easier.

Watch Your Beverages

Healthy Eating for Truckers
People often eat when they are actually thirsty, so drink water first before reaching for another snack. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Eat your calories; don't drink them. Calories from drinks like soft drinks, sweetened teas, sports drinks and even juice can add up and easily put you over your daily needs. Calories from beverages do little to curb your hunger, but an extra 100 calories per day contributes to 10 pounds of weight gain annually. Drinking diet or artificially sweetened drinks may leave you craving other sweets and other foods, so stick to water or unsweetened coffee or tea to quench your thirst.

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