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What’s the best diet for truck drivers?

It can be tricky to put much thought ahead to mealtimes for truck drivers; especially when servos are full of quick-grab options like sausage rolls and chips. Whether you’re working long haul, line haul or pickup and delivery, time pressures and just being on the road can make choosing between the healthy or junk options tricky.

The heavy carbohydrate and sugar load of these easy favourites can lead to a slower metabolism and insulin spikes– making you sluggish behind the wheel, affecting your level of alertness, even if you’re only eating once or twice a day. By swapping fried for fresh when you can, you can improve your alertness behind the wheel.

Here are some easy tips to improve your diet, with balance in mind. Be sure to check in with your GP about healthy food options best suited to you.

Eat regularly (3-4 times/day)

On the road, we know your chances to have a good meal are few and far between. In fact, most truck drivers often sacrifice their mealtimes to make better time on the road. While this may seem like a great idea to reduce your waistline, skipping meals means your metabolism slows down, and you’re more likely to choose more calorie-dense meals when you do eat.

By eating more often, like ensuring you are eating two meals and two snacks a day, you maintain your metabolism. This increases your body’s ability to use the energy you’re consuming. This in turn keeps you more alert, energized and ready to work.

Example: Plan your meals ahead of time and make the most of your cab fridge/freezer. If you have a smartwatch, you can even set alarms to remind you to have a snack between meals to ensure you’re not famished at the next stop.

Drink water

Humans often confuse hunger for thirst. Due to the similarity of these sensations, it’s easy to see why! This makes it a great idea to always keep a reusable water bottle with you, or stock your cab fridge/freezer with water

When you’re feeling peckish on the road, make sure to drink some water before stopping to eat. This will help you keep your portions realistic to your hunger level, while also keeping your body hydrated.

Be sure to check in with your GP about how much water is suitable for your body and lifestyle.

Example: If you love the feel of fizzy drinks, swap your Coke for a lightly flavoured sparkling water. Hydration and flavour in one, without the energy slump!

Minimise refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates from foods like breads, biscuits, pastries, and pasta can cause unwanted insulin spikes, which can make you tired and sluggish behind the wheel.

When you’re on the road, try to avoid these types of foods, and instead opt to get your carbs from veggies, legumes and whole grains instead. Make sure to team these with some lean protein and a little healthy fat, and you’ll be fuller for longer and alert on the road.

Example: Swap a sausage roll for a chicken and avocado salad sandwich.

Maximise your fruit and veggies

We all know the food pyramid and know we can always eat more vegetables. In reality, it can be hard to put that into motion, especially when you’re on the road and your choices are limited. Fruits and veggies give us fibre, carbs, micro and macro nutrients to keep us going long-term.

This is where canned or frozen veggies come in handy – they are often just as nutritious as fresh but are able to travel with you.

Visit LiveLighter for some handy tips to increase your intake here.

Example: Get creative with your meals and snacks. Pack a jar of peanut butter, some pre-cut celery and apple for a delicious, filling snack on the go. Keep some mixed nuts around the cab to stop those chip cravings. Pop some rolled oats in some milk with your favourite berries (fresh or frozen!) in a tub for an easy breakky.

Want some more tips for a healthy lifestyle?

Check out our Fuel Your Body campaign here!

Find out how you can improve your overall fitness and help keep you in your own home for longer by moving your body.