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Feeding our Nations Truckers

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Everything we can buy is brought to the public by our nations truckers. Some practically live in their trucks while others still work extra long hours in a demanding, and stressful work environment. Practically everything you own was at one time carried by truck from one place to another before making it into your home. I know this from personal experience as I am a trucker as well as a nutrition and fitness author.

As a trucker myself, I work about 60 hours per week hauling construction and industrial supplies to stores owned by our company. I transport my freight in a 53 foot trailer, which I also unload by myself. It is hard stressful work, which must be carried out no matter the weather and road conditions. I have driven through severe thunderstorms and have seen a few tornadoes in the Kansas prairie from the cab of my truck. Driving in white out blizzard conditions are also a hazard we truckers face in the winter months.

These working conditions make it imperative that we are able to stay on top of keeping our bodies healthy, yet food choices on the road can be outright deplorable. As a result, many truckers become unable to pass our bi-annual Department of Transportation physicals. Poor food choices for truckers on the road leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other metabolic ailments. It should terrify you that many truckers on the road are a heart attack waiting to happen.

This can only be expected when you consider a lot of them are fueling their bodies with energy drinks, highly caffeinated coffee, and junk foods loaded with tons of added sugars and other simple carbohydrates to provide quick jolts of energy. A double shot espresso drink coupled with a package or two of Pop Tarts can wake a trucker up enough to add several more miles over the road before they have to take a legally mandated break.

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Eating on the Road

My lovely wife and I took a trip this last week to Colorado from our home in Kansas. She quickly learned that out on the high prairie between Kansas City and Denver there are not a lot of good places to eat while on the road. She was appalled with the abundance of poor road food choices that can be found at any truck stop of your choosing. Of course there are some that have sit down restaurants, but most of these only serve fast foods. When it comes to finding food on the road, there are few choices available for our truckers to attain healthy food choices.

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When a trucker enters a truck stop, the first thing they usually see is the coffee bar which is always surrounded by junk foods. There will be hotdogs, pizza, chips, cookies, soda pop, ice cream and a whole slew of high calorie, low nutrition foods. If the driver wants healthier choices, they will have to look around for it. Usually, there might be a small area in an aisle where you might find a salad, boiled eggs, cheese and a small few other options. Protein drinks can be found in the coolers, as well as protein bars close to the cookies. But it is hard to actually find these items which are not loaded up in sugar.

An instance that really woke my wife up to the realities of road food for truckers came in a truck stop at Limon, Colorado. At the fuel counter where truckers pay for their fuel, this particular truck stop had hot pizza of several varieties right beside the cash register. She watched as an obese trucker left the fuel counter with four very large slices of pizza, a large fountain, and other junk foods in his arms.

Knowing that truckers have to pass physicals in order to drive commercial vehicles, it was eye opening to her to see first hand how out of shape not only this trucker was, but a great many she saw in each of the stops we made while on the road. She knows that one of the first signs of diabetes is the individual can have a heart attack, or simply pass out. The horror of knowing that a diabetic driver could lose consciousness while driving an 80,000 pound truck is terrifying. As a trucker myself, I refuse to team with diabetic drivers who I know do not properly manage their diabetes. I will not risk my life in this way.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

With a little careful pre-planning, we truckers can eat healthy while on the road. Modern semi trucks have electrical inverters where small refrigerators can be plugged in to keep foods from spoiling. If we so choose, we can also cook in our trucks too. Our food choices do not have to be limited to what we can purchase at truck stops on the road. When I am on the road, I pack healthy foods that have been weighed and measures. I ensure that I have a good mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.  You will never find sugary junk foods in my truck for any reason. I also make it a point to exercise my body when I am not on the road. It is imperative that I remain in good health. I cannot imagine losing my commercial drivers license for my health, yet this happens to many truckers each and every day. For more about this topic read my article below.  

Eating on the Road

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