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Truck Driver Diet- Advice Please!

Ok so my Dad drives a truck for a living, and he said yesterday to me:

“Hey Anj, since you’re into this nutrition and healthy stuff, I want some advice. Assuming I can resupply at a grocery store or super walmart once a week, what should I get?”

This is HUGE guys. I really am trying to figure out an easy sensible nutrition plan for him, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a good answer. The one thing I told him for sure is that he would have to start eating more than once a day. He only eats one meal a day, in the evening when he stops his truck for the night.

He also smokes, and does not do any sort of physical activity aside from unloading freight. (the job he’s on right now actually is quite demanding, he moves a lot of weight every day so he’s getting enough for right now) I can’t see getting him to actually start lifting or training in any sort of way, but he is thinking about quitting smoking again.

He drinks coffee all day until he eats dinner. He says the reason he hates eating earlier is it makes him feel groggy and tired, which is bad on the road. I know it’s just because he loves eating a lot of carbs and if he ate more sensibly his energy levels wouldn’t dip like that.

His current diet for the past year or so has been usually a footlong subway sandwich and a bag of chips for dinner every day (this is actually an improvement over previously- he used to eat more burger fast food type stuff), and he’s not that fat, only a little chubby, as he’s probably lost 30 lbs. in the last year from eating more Subway. (insert Jared joke here, lol)

Considerations:
-He has a small mini-fridge in his truck.
-Most truck stops have microwaves you can use, but rest areas and warehouse delivery places he stays parked in sometimes do not have any microwaves for him to use. So heating food is not really an option.
-He is simple and does not mind repetition eating the same foods over again.
-Food prep time should be kept to a minimum- simple things like making a sandwich.

Getting him to eat more than 3 times a day will be next to impossible. I did get him to agree to eat breakfast. I’m working on lunch.

I have ideas, but I’m willing to bet that you guys would have better ideas about what to tell him. He’s looking for a specific grocery list, and basically a daily plan of what to eat and when to eat it, that he can repeat every day while out on the road. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to get veggies in there, and what he could eat during the day that wouldn’t make him feel sleepy.

Any suggestions you guys have would be MUCH appreciated. I would like to help him actually meet his nutritional needs and be healthier, so I’m not rushing to answer him before I’ve really thought it through. He fully intends to implement whatever nutritional plan I come up with for him. This is kind-of exciting!

I’m going on a mini-road trip for the next couple days but I’ll respond to this thread as soon as I can. Thanks in advance!

salad with chicken strips can be left in the mini fridge. Every pick n’ save that I know of has a salad bar.

It isn’t necessary or benificial to eat multiple meals per day. 2-3 is just as good as 6-8.

If you want him to stick to a healthy diet then you must make sure it works WITH his lifestyle, not against it.

I know how it feels to be coming up with diets for your folks. This year, I got my father’s blood pressure normalized by altering his diet, it’s a great feeling.

So here’s my 2 schillings

Basically, meat, fruit and vegetables. The further away it goes from meat, fruit and vegetables, the worse it is.

  • But realistically, subway sandwiches are pretty good for truck drivers, who have limited choices. One of the plus sides is that the sandwich(or part of it) can be left for later. The bread is the only problem, so he should choose the darkest bread available. Or go for wraps, if they’ve got em.

  • Avoid grains, breads & chips as much as he can. Put vegetables there instead.

  • Avoid sweets and packaged yogurts or syrupy fruit etc.

  • I don’t know whether he has a slow metabolism, but if he’s feeling hungry he should eat, instead of waiting for an opportunity. A trail mix or something.


To sum it up, he can have eggs and some side salad for breakfast(if applicable). Keep a CeasarChicken salad, some fruit(like apples, peaches, pears) and trail mix in the fridge. And finish off with a Subway sandwich with the darkest/thinnest amount of bread they’ve got(and tons of meat and vegs). No chips, pancakes, frenchtoast…get another sandwich instead and leave 3/4 or half for tomorrow.

And before anyone starts complaining, it’s a simple and easy to follow plan that’s more nutritious than most people eat. All you can top it off with is flavored fish oil.

Good Luck

Can he not put a small microwave in his rig? That alone would go a long way to help. Also, don’t be afraid to have him use some MRPs.

How’s peanut butter and nut butters work for him? Use them with whole grain bread. What about dairy? A little bit of whole milk should be fine with that nut butter sandwich. He can also eat yogurt instead of drinking milk if he wants. Cheeses (especially Cottage Cheese) would be good too.

As for fruits and vegetables I usually get big bags of apples, oranges, grapes, salad greens, boxes of berries (all kinds) and get individual “pieces” of my favorite fruits and vegetables. This should work well for your dad too. At Wal-Mart Supercenters they usually have some fresh vegetables in the produce section that are already cut and are stored in water. Unfortunately they don’t last long (a day or so), but better than nothing.

Hormel has some pretty good deli meats that would be helpful too. I forget the product name at the moment (Hormel Naturals I think), but it doesn’t have the nitrates/nitrites in it and a modest amount of sodium from sea salt. They come in Ham, Roast Beef, Chicken and a couple of styles of Turkey.

Check out http://www.cbass.com/success_stories11.htm (Success Stories 11, A Truck Drivers Story) for more help.

Beef jerkey is readily available at pretty much every rest stop I’ve ever been to. Tell him to find the bag that’s the got the least amount of sugar in it, and there’s a quick, easy, tasty source of protein.

He can also get Turkey jerky.

Bags of salted peanuts, instead of a snickers bar would be good.

Water, water, water, water, water. Crystal light is a low-calorie tasty way to beat the blandness of drinking water all day long.

If he puts milk/cream and sugar in his coffee, try to get him to drink black coffee, or give him Spike so he might not need coffee (and thus reducing bad cals from milk/sugar.)

Metabolic Drive protein bars?

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Beef jerkey is readily available at pretty much every rest stop I’ve ever been to. Tell him to find the bag that’s the got the least amount of sugar in it, and there’s a quick, easy, tasty source of protein.

He can also get Turkey jerky.

Bags of salted peanuts, instead of a snickers bar would be good.

Water, water, water, water, water. Crystal light is a low-calorie tasty way to beat the blandness of drinking water all day long.

If he puts milk/cream and sugar in his coffee, try to get him to drink black coffee, or give him Spike so he might not need coffee (and thus reducing bad cals from milk/sugar.)

Metabolic Drive protein bars?[/quote]

I don’t think water is such a good idea for a truck driver. At least not with my experience of drinking water and peeing all day.

This sounds a lot like my situation, I’m a trucker by trade myself and have the same issues with lack of energy after a meal. Look into the Warrior Diet, it may work better than trying to force him to eat more often. I’ve just started it myself and while it’s too early to judge results I have to say that it’s the only diet I’ve found that fits into an OTR drivers lifestyle (and yes, OTR trucking is a lifestyle not just a job).

My favorite on the road “meal”: Beef jerky, almonds, and an apple.

I think you’re on the right track. If he’s been eating once a day for a long time, just getting him to eat breakfast will be important and challenging.

Check into ostrim jerky as jerky has been mentioned, that along with a piece of fruit would be a decent idea.

Even a protein shake with a piece of fruit would a step in the right direction.

If he likes Subway, he can get another sub when he stops for dinner, without the condiments to prevent mushiness, and munch on that during the day. He can add his own when he’s ready to eat. The aformentioned nuts, jerky, and fruit would be good, as well as some string cheese.

Gots to have the string cheese.

If he really loves subways, he could easily get double steak salads to put in his mini-fridge, just a thought.

[quote]theAnj wrote:
Ok so my Dad drives a truck for a living, and he said yesterday to me:

“Hey Anj, since you’re into this nutrition and healthy stuff, I want some advice. Assuming I can resupply at a grocery store or super walmart once a week, what should I get?”

This is HUGE guys. I really am trying to figure out an easy sensible nutrition plan for him, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a good answer. The one thing I told him for sure is that he would have to start eating more than once a day. He only eats one meal a day, in the evening when he stops his truck for the night.

He also smokes, and does not do any sort of physical activity aside from unloading freight. (the job he’s on right now actually is quite demanding, he moves a lot of weight every day so he’s getting enough for right now) I can’t see getting him to actually start lifting or training in any sort of way, but he is thinking about quitting smoking again.

He drinks coffee all day until he eats dinner. He says the reason he hates eating earlier is it makes him feel groggy and tired, which is bad on the road. I know it’s just because he loves eating a lot of carbs and if he ate more sensibly his energy levels wouldn’t dip like that.

His current diet for the past year or so has been usually a footlong subway sandwich and a bag of chips for dinner every day (this is actually an improvement over previously- he used to eat more burger fast food type stuff), and he’s not that fat, only a little chubby, as he’s probably lost 30 lbs. in the last year from eating more Subway. (insert Jared joke here, lol)

Considerations:
-He has a small mini-fridge in his truck.
-Most truck stops have microwaves you can use, but rest areas and warehouse delivery places he stays parked in sometimes do not have any microwaves for him to use. So heating food is not really an option.
-He is simple and does not mind repetition eating the same foods over again.
-Food prep time should be kept to a minimum- simple things like making a sandwich.

Getting him to eat more than 3 times a day will be next to impossible. I did get him to agree to eat breakfast. I’m working on lunch.

I have ideas, but I’m willing to bet that you guys would have better ideas about what to tell him. He’s looking for a specific grocery list, and basically a daily plan of what to eat and when to eat it, that he can repeat every day while out on the road. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to get veggies in there, and what he could eat during the day that wouldn’t make him feel sleepy.

Any suggestions you guys have would be MUCH appreciated. I would like to help him actually meet his nutritional needs and be healthier, so I’m not rushing to answer him before I’ve really thought it through. He fully intends to implement whatever nutritional plan I come up with for him. This is kind-of exciting!

I’m going on a mini-road trip for the next couple days but I’ll respond to this thread as soon as I can. Thanks in advance!
[/quote]

try to get him to buy some Metabolic Drive complete and some fish oil caps so he can get a drink for breakfast thats not going to make him tired and maybe some regular Metabolic Drive so he can have a shake at night too.

other than that he can continue with the subs just go with the meats and veggies and skip the dressing and butter and mayo and hell be fine !!

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
Gots to have the string cheese.[/quote]

Gotta second this. Wrap like 6-7 slices of lunchmeat around a stick of string cheese.

Hummus on pita is good.

1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1 scoop of protein powder then stir. Once you get used to it, tastes like chocolate pudding.

If he is super dedicated, he could make turkey burgers and keep them in his fridge. Like 30-40 mins before he’s ready to eat, set that shit on the dashboard. Will be warm enough to eat if it’s sunny.

Those pre-made whole chickens at the supermarket would work too, and of course subway isn’t the WORST choice.

I dunno about ya’ll but I can eat bacon/turkey bacon cold (like cooked, then refrigerated, yet still delicious)

Everything already mentioned like nuts, protein bars and shakes, evoo, fish oil, cheeses, pb, fruits, etc.

As for veggies? All that comes to mind is spinach leaves.

the main thing will be just seeing if you can talk him into taking the time to make a change. My dad was an owner-operator while I was young so I basically grew up in a cab. He would not stop for anything because stopping meant money lost. The stress of it almost killed him after enough years and he got out of the business all together. Watching him smoke, eat like crap, and drive for 20 hours straight had me on edge waiting for him to keel over at any time. It is a hard lifestyle, and I don’t think this will be as simple as giving him healthy alternatives

Start with something simple, and just see if you can talk him into pulling off the road for 15 minutes to grab a bite. I’d start with just prepackaged veggies in his fridge. Make little single servings of carrots and red peppers or something like that. He’ll probably want to eat and drive but if you can talk him into putting himself first for just 15 minutes then he’ll be starting towards the lifestyle change he needs.

I would advise against things like beef jerky, nuts etc. because if he is just drinking tons of coffee and not water, his sodium is going to be through the roof. Given the fact that his big meal is probably high saturated fat, and that he is under high stress and he’ll be on a path to heart troubles with that much sodium.

[quote]ronaldo7 wrote:
rrjc5488 wrote:
Beef jerkey is readily available at pretty much every rest stop I’ve ever been to. Tell him to find the bag that’s the got the least amount of sugar in it, and there’s a quick, easy, tasty source of protein.

He can also get Turkey jerky.

Bags of salted peanuts, instead of a snickers bar would be good.

Water, water, water, water, water. Crystal light is a low-calorie tasty way to beat the blandness of drinking water all day long.

If he puts milk/cream and sugar in his coffee, try to get him to drink black coffee, or give him Spike so he might not need coffee (and thus reducing bad cals from milk/sugar.)

Metabolic Drive protein bars?

I don’t think water is such a good idea for a truck driver. At least not with my experience of drinking water and peeing all day.[/quote]
trucker bombs!!!

I have nothing else to add beyond what everyone else has said.
my grandfather drove trucks for a long time
he ate whenever he stopped but it was mainly beef jerky and milk.

he would eat one large meal when he stopped for the night and that normally was at a buffet where he could choose what and how much.
sadly i cant ask him now what he used to eat because hes passed on and no one really knows but him I do know he had arms like popeye and he was a small guy. never breaking about 140-150
we made him pb sandwiches for his trips.tha tI do know for sure

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate it. :smiley: A lot to think about here.

What is his budget? If he can afford it, Metabolic Drive bars/shakes, fish oil, and Superfood would be great helps and make things easier on him.

If he has trouble eating solid veggies during the day, it might be worth thinking about a vegetable juice drink along the lines of V8. Not perfect, but far better than nothing.

A meal option worth looking into is some kind of stew with plenty of meat and veggies (either homemade or one of the healtier pre-packaged kinds). Can be kept in a thermos and heated in a service station microwave if necessary.

http://www.roadtrucker.com/12-volt-cooking/12-volt-cooking.htm

Just a link to let the non-truckers know some of what’s available so they can make suggestions accordingly, I’m sure your father already knows about these.

PS: One coworker of mine would cook pot roasts in the RoadPro 300 Degree Stove shown. Truck stop cooking has come a long way since the days of tying a can of soup to the exhaust manifold with a coat hangar.