It can be difficult for long-haul truck drivers to maintain a healthy diet. With tight time constraints and long hours on the road, truck drivers usually resort to getting cheap fast food from roadside stops or turnpike service plazas. While these eating habits are easy on the wallet, they encourage unhealthy choices which not only lead to personal problems down the road but can also negatively impact driver performance in the short-term. Sugary, salty, and fatty foods provide a short immediate boost of energy but this effect quickly wears off and your body is often left feeling more drained than before the meal.
Smart Swaps: Healthy Fast-Food Choices
Fortunately, nearly every fast food establishment has healthy eating options available, it just takes a little nutritional knowledge to recognize the right meal.
In order to stay healthy and keep alert and energized behind the wheel, truck drivers should follow these tips when it comes to eating fast food:
Order from the kid’s menu – When you are unsure what to order, the kids menu provides a lot of healthier choices and smaller portions that the regular menu. By ordering smaller portions, truck drivers are less likely to overeat. Kid’s menus also typically offer healthier sides such as fruit and yogurt.
Hold the mayo – Mayonnaise typically has a high fat content and a high calorie count. By passing on the mayo that is usually given in ample amounts at fast food places, truck drivers can eliminate more than 100 calories from their meal.
Cut out extra carbs – Carbs don’t provide a lot of energy or nutrition and passing up on a biscuit, a roll, or those croutons on the salad can save truck drivers unnecessary calories. A healthy solution would be to ask for fruit or another side instead of the bread.
Be wary of salad dressing – Though salads are often a healthier alternative to the burgers or fried chicken common at fast food restaurants, salad dressing is deceptively unhealthy. High in fat, sugar, and calories, most salad dressings should be used sparingly. Truck drivers should try using only half the package of salad dressing that the restaurant provides.
Order grilled, not fried – The “crispy” before the chicken means that is fried and is therefore higher in fat and calorie count than the grilled alternative. By order grilled instead of fried, truck drivers can cut down on a lot of the unhealthy aspects of eating fast food.
Drink water – Even though fast food establishments provide a variety of tasty soft drinks, these sugary and often caffeinated beverages are a bad choice for a truck driver who needs to stay attentive behind the wheel for long periods at a time. These drinks can boost energy in the short-term but do a lot more to drain energy throughout the day. Instead of a soft drink, choose water. It will save you money and help keep you more alert.
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