Bar Chow: Maintaining a Healthy Diet While Trucking

Strong Tie Insurance July 20, 2020 StrongtieInsurance

There are a variety of issues that truckers deal with on a daily basis: planning the best route, finding cheap commercial insurance, getting the cargo delivered on time, staying safe, and more. Sadly, one area that should concern everyone behind the wheel of a big rig is often overlooked: maintaining a healthy diet.

Eating on The Road

Truckers don’t have the same control over what they eat on the road as they do when they’re at home. While you can pack anything you want, nothing beats the access of a full kitchen. Since driving doesn’t burn a lot of calories, truck drivers need to pay even more attention to their diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It therefore comes as no surprise that many truck drivers have problems with their weight. Contrary to popular belief though, most truckers don’t just spend their time on the road stuffing their faces with snacks. While that might be how non-truckers like to pass the time on road trips, professionals know this isn’t good for them. 

In fact, many truckers have a calorie deficit compared to their resting metabolic rate. Even though these drivers are eating fewer calories, they may still continue to gain weight.

The Myth of Calories

One of the most common understandings of weight gain and loss revolves around calories. The idea is that calories are like a bank account. You deposit into the account by eating and you withdraw from the account through spending or burning calories. You lose weight by spending more than what’s in your account. That is to say, if you use more calories than you eat, you should lose weight.

At its base-level, the idea of calories in and calories out has merit. We all know someone who ate less during meals and lost weight. The reality is, though, that healthy weight loss is a lot more complicated than just counting calories. 

Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates all require different amounts of energy to break them down. Processed foods often have significantly lower thermal effects than the same meal in a non-processed form (whole foods). That means our bodies react differently to the various types of food that we eat.

The idea of dieting based on calories can actually cause our metabolism to slow down, which triggers the body to store more fat. Reducing calories can produce an initial weight loss, but will eventually plateau as metabolism slows.

Another factor to consider is how our hormones respond to the food we eat. When someone eats large portions of carbs or foods high in sugar, it causes an insulin spike in our bodies. Over time, these continued spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol, and hypertension.

The reality is that calories do not fully dictate healthy weight loss or a healthy diet. A trucker who eats a smaller number of calories made up of energy drinks and pizza won’t healthily compare to a trucker who eats more calories of higher-quality foods.

4 Steps to a Better Diet on the Road

Healthy drivers are as good for business as finding cheap commercial insurance. Whether you are an actual driver or employ drivers, take some time to familiarize yourself with these four steps to maintaining a healthy diet while driving.

1. Reduce Refined Carbs

Do your best to avoid foods full of refined carbohydrates. This list contains things like bread, pasta, cookies, soda. You’ll also want to limit starchy foods like potatoes and white rice. Refined carbs have almost no fiber and turn into sugars when they enter the bloodstream.

Carbohydrates that come from veggies and legumes are great. If you really can’t go without something with carbs in it like bread for a sandwich, stick with whole grains.

2. Avoid Fad Diets

There are tons of diet programs out there that claim to lead to healthy weight loss and healthier eating habits. Some of the most popular fads are the Atkins or Paleo diets. These programs recommend high-animal protein along with low carbs. While reducing the number of carbs is excellent, too much animal protein can lead to a variety of complications.

3. Eat Three to Four Times Per Day

If you’re eating healthy, non-processed, and low-carb meals, you can eat several times a day. This plan could be two meals and two snacks, two meals and one snack, etc. If, however, you know you’re going to be eating something less healthy with more carbs, feel free to skip one of your normal meals.

The easiest way to ensure you’re getting good food is to prep your meals or snacks in advance. Snacks like celery or apples with peanut butter, a cup of mixed nuts, or fresh carrots are easy to prepare. Plan what kinds of meals you eat if you stop at a restaurant, so you’re not tempted by unhealthy, but appetizing-looking foods.

While truck stops are conveniently located and often have numerous amenities to help life on the road, they don’t necessarily promote healthy eating. Most of the deals and promotions are on supersize candy, high-calorie and high carb meals, etc.

4. Go a Few Days Without Meat

Eating a plant-based diet has various benefits like lower cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, and inflammation. You don’t have to give up the animal-based food that you love, you just need to throw in a few days where you stick to plant-based eating. This simple change will make a massive difference in your overall health.

Offset Healthy Eating Costs with Cheap Commercial Insurance

One of the biggest concerns truckers have when deciding to eat healthier is that junk food is often on sale and is typically easier to find than healthy options. It often seems like getting a value meal is much more cost-effective than eating a well-balanced option, but the long-term health costs certainly tip the scale.

If you’re worried about spending more on eating better, it might be time to find other areas in your budget to cut. While you can’t completely eliminate trucking insurance, you can find cheap commercial insurance that will improve your bottom line. Even if you’re already maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the road, it never hurts to find quality insurance at an affordable price.