If you’re a truck driver, life on the road can make maintaining healthy habits challenging. Oftentimes, convenience is prioritized over health, and truck-stop snacks make up the largest section of the food pyramid. Follow the practical meal prep ideas for truck drivers below to boost your nutrition, save time and money and cultivate a healthier relationship with food.
Devote Time to Meal and Snack Prep
Spending even a small amount of time preparing for the week ahead can make a big difference. Before your workweek starts, sit down and create a grocery list. Even if you just write down a few grab-and-go snack items that would be helpful to have on hand (e.g. nuts, string cheese, oatmeal, fruit, etc.), this exercise can help focus your trip to the grocery store. This brings us to our next tip…
Visit the Grocery Store
Don’t sacrifice your health for convenience. Taking a mindful trip to the grocery store once a week or every other week can save you from last-resort visits to the truck-stop food warmer. Set aside time to go to the grocery store and stock up on your favorites before you load into your truck, so you can have healthy and affordable options when you’re low on time.
One of the biggest meal prep pitfalls is trying to change too much too quickly. Instead of trying to change all your habits at once, start small. Pick a single recipe to meal prep that combines protein, grains and veggies, rather than selecting multiple recipes. Another option is to focus on one meal to start. For example, you could meal prep your breakfast for a week and keep your other meals the same. Bottom line: focusing on achieving small, manageable goals at the start will help motivate you to continue making healthy changes.
Go With What You Like
Go with options you know you like, and you know you’re more likely to eat. Too often when people start their on-the-road meal prep journey, they choose options they think they should be eating. Then, when cravings strike, they are less likely to be satisfied with what they have on hand. Instead, stock up on your preferred foods, so that you can satisfy your hunger pangs with your trusted favorites.
Opt for Convenience
Starting small and simple can also apply to how you approach your food choices at the grocery store. Opting for convenient, pre-packaged food options can be a lifesaver, especially in the beginning stages of healthy meal prep for truck drivers. For example, you can buy sandwich supplies and pre-packaged salad kits for fast and simple, affordable options that are easy to prepare in your cab.
Invest in Quality Containers
Space and storage are key, especially when you’re operating in the confined space of a truck cab. Investing in a set of stackable food containers is an investment that will keep giving. Before you spend the money, make sure to do your research and consider how you will be using the containers and whether they need to be microwave- or freezer-safe.
Set Aside Snacks
One of the best ways to combat unhealthy cravings is to set aside portioned snacks for your future self. Package individual servings of snacks like nuts, popcorn and granola in plastic bags, so that when the cravings kick in, you’ll have something to snack on, but you won’t go overboard on your portions.
Keep Spices and Condiments on Hand
Condiments and spices can make or break a dish. That’s why it’s important to keep your favorites on hand. Not only do they have a long shelf life, but spices also tend to take up a small amount of space, which makes them ideal for storing in your truck.
Cut up Fruits and Veggies at Home
Save time by cutting your fruits and veggies in batches at home, before you head out on the road. Pick colorful veggies that pair well with dips such as nut butter or hummus. Cutting veggies ahead of time can also help you more easily prepare meals in your cab with less cleanup.
Look Before You Stop
Of course, meal prep on the road isn’t always possible, and there are times when stopping at travel centers or truck stops for food is the only option. When this happens, it’s good to know your options and keep your health and nutrition top of mind. Do some research into places along your route with fresh grab-and-go options. Many leading travel centers like our partner, Pilot Flying J, offer fast and fresh food options for drivers that are designed to be healthy, nutritious and filling for long hours in the driver’s seat.
Looking for ways to save money on the road? With a fuel card from RTS, you get an average of 25 cents off per gallon at over 2,000 fuel stations nationwide. Sign up today!