In a previous post on TheTrucker.com, we began a four-part series about staying healthy while working as an over-the-road driver. In that column, we explored Step 1 on the road to better health: Getting good-quality sleep.
This week, we’ll take a look at Step 2, proper nutrition. Good nutrition is the No. 1 key to maintaining your health, both on the road and at home.
Ensuring you provide your body with proper nutrition is just like making sure you are taking all the correct steps in technology and aerodynamics to improve your truck’s fuel economy. Shouldn’t we apply that same principle to our own body engines? It’s time to start putting better “fuel” into our bodies in an effort to produce better health outcomes, such as better “mileage” and a longer, healthier life.
Look, we know certain foods are bad for us. These foods produce unwanted weight gain and create health issues, which equals extra stress, especially when you as a professional driver start to prepare for upcoming DOT recertification exams.
So, why do we put bad “fuel” in our body’s engine? We wouldn’t run bad fuel in our trucks. Well, there are several factors that impact our food choices, and that’s a whole topic to discuss another time.
For now, here are the top reasons I hear from drivers: Fast food is convenient and cheap. It relieves the stress of finding something to eat. As a driver, I feel deprived because I’m away from home, so I feel entitled to finding something easy and tasty to eat, even if it’s not that healthy.
When I coach drivers, I ask them to make good nutritional decisions at least 50% of the time. It’s about taking small steps to equal big results. Try these simple steps to improve nutritional input.
- Eliminate one bottle of soda per day; most have about 240 calories with 65 grams sugar.
- Eliminate one high-sodium food each day. This will reduce your sodium intake by about 800 mg, which adds up to 292,000 mg a year. This drastically reduces your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Examples of high-sodium foods include soups and gravies, soy sauce and other sauces, salad dressings, salami, bacon and other cured meats, pretzels, cheese puffs, popcorn, chips and other snacks, pickled foods, fast foods, table salt, etc.
- Add one high-fiber food per day. This will reduce your risk of diabetes, help control blood sugar, assist in weight control, clean out your digestive tract, reduce your risk of stroke, help prevent IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) issues and heal skin problems. Here are a few high-fiber options: Beans, peas and legumes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, 100% whole-grain products, apples and pears, and berries.
- Try to include a good source of protein in your morning meal. This will help “fill” you up while providing you good fuel to start the day.
For more nutrition ideas, download the Fit to Pass App in the Apple Store or Google Play, or visit www.fittopass.com.
Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going “curbside” through a national truck stop tour.
Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.