You love the truck life, from the long days cruising down the highway to the simple joy of dropping off a load. Your health may not love that life as much as you do, though. Many find meals for truck drivers challenging.
Trucking tends to be hard on your health for several reasons. You’re sitting in the same seat for hours on end and putting in long shifts each day. You’re always on the move, so fast food is more accessible than healthier, home-cooked meals.
There are ways to stay healthy as an OTR driver. Start with these tips such as sleep and healthy meal prep that are easy to fit into your routine.
Prioritize Your Sleep
Sleep is the unsung hero when it comes to your health for truck drivers and over-the-road trucking alike. It deserves a spot at the head of the table. On top of a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you need to get plenty of sleep.
Schedule your sleep time and stick to your truck life schedule. Remember to expect some wind-down time between getting off the road and falling asleep. For example, if you want to get eight hours of sleep, plan for at least nine hours off the road.
Healthy Snack Stash and Meal Prep
What usually happens when you’re hungry for a snack meal? You have to find somewhere along your route to grab food, whether it’s a gas station, convenience store, or a fast-food joint. Regardless, if you’re hungry and surrounded by unhealthy options, it’s easy to fall to temptation.
Instead, keep a well-stocked stash of healthy snacks on hand at all times. Include choices that fit any craving you might have: sweet or salty, crunchy or soft, and so on. Bentos are great options for meal prep and you can make them hundreds of ways. This way, you can avoid the temptation of an unhealthy snack altogether and save yourself a stop.
Join the Right Gym
It’s difficult to work out on the road because you’re in a different city every hour. To make it easier, join a large chain of gyms that has plenty of locations along your route. Make sure your membership allows you to go to any location.
This allows you the convenience of stopping off for a workout break whenever you choose. Great options for meals for truck drivers are smoothies as well. These are perfect for after a tough workout. Get to know the locations nearest to your route so you can plan your workout regimen accordingly.
Have a Go-To Water Container
Staying hydrated is critical to your health. If you aren’t making a conscious effort to drink enough water, you’re probably not giving your body what it needs.
To make it easy, set a goal for the amount of water you should drink each day. Then, get a water bottle that makes it simple to keep track. For instance, if you want to drink 64 ounces per day, get a 32-ounce water bottle so you know to drink two per day.
Three Square Meals for Truck Drivers
Getting a healthy, balanced meal isn’t easy as with an over-the-road trucking lifestyle. If you “wing it” and pick up whatever you’re craving when mealtime hits, you’re setting yourself up for a struggle.
Instead of choosing food while you’re hungry, lay out a meal plan for each day. Decide when you want to eat, look at the options near that part of your route, and choose a healthy meal. This takes the temptation out of the equation, and it also allows you to plan your nutrition and make sure you’re getting everything your body needs.
Have a Workout Bag
It’s difficult to find time to work out as an OTR driver, so the easier you can make it, the better. On top of having a multi-location gym membership, you want a way to work out anytime, anywhere.
One way to do that is to have a workout bag with portable equipment that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. It could include dumbbells, resistance bands, a jump rope, or other small items. Pull into a parking lot and break out a few quick reps.
Log Meals for Truck Drivers Daily
Sometimes we don’t realize how unhealthy our health for truck drivers habits are until we look at them in black and white. You can do that by keeping a daily log of what you eat, what you drink, and how much you exercise. On top of showing you your routine, this journaling strategy also discourages mindless snacking because you know you’ll have to report it in your meals for truck life journal.
To make it easier, there are countless health apps available that you can use. Many of them will also break down your diet into macronutrients and micronutrients so you can see if your body is getting what it needs.
Set Incremental Goals
Having a broad, large-scale goal like “live a healthier lifestyle” makes it easy for you to get off track. Instead, break it down into smaller, more incremental goals so you can celebrate your accomplishments with a reward system.
For example, let’s say you have a set of criteria that you deem a “healthy day.” It may include staying under a certain calorie limit, eating three balanced meals for truck drivers, drinking a certain amount of water, and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise.
Set a reward for yourself after you’ve hit a certain number of “healthy days.” You can buy yourself something fun from a custom trucker shop after you hit 20 healthy days, for instance.
Wean Yourself Off Bad Health for Truck Driver Habits
Most of us have at least one bad health habit, and it’s tough to quit them cold turkey. Try using the step-down method for healthier and better meals for truck driver life.
Let’s say you want to cut out sodas but you’re drinking three sodas every day. For the first week, cut it down to two sodas per day. Go to one per day for the following week, then one every three days, then stop drinking soda entirely.
Protecting Your Health as an OTR Driver
Health for Truck Drivers Wrap Up
Many careers have potential health hazards, and the career of an OTR driver is no exception. The good news is that many of these risks are easy to avoid if you establish healthy habits and make your health a priority.
The tips above can help you give your body what it needs without sacrificing your job performance. In fact, routines like bringing your own snacks can save time and money, too.
For items to make your over-the-road trucking life easier, start shopping for interior truck accessories and more. Stop by any of our locations for truck parts and accessories from seats to items for your dashboard.