Healthy Eating on the Road – A Work in Progress
If you know me, you know I love food. A lot. Nothing makes me happier than cooking a great meal for my friends and family. If you know the work we do, you also know that we spend a lot of time on the road, which can make healthy eating a challenge. While I am a firm believer that the post-fieldwork wing night is one of the finer things in life, I also know that I won’t show up to work as my best self if I don’t give my body the nutrients it needs. Some of my favorite tips are below:
- Prepare a few meals before you hit the road – If you can, take some time and prepare a few homemade meals. Chili, potato-lentil soup and grilled chicken and veggies can all be made ahead of time, frozen and packed in a cooler. Even when I am not working on the road, I’ll make a few extra servings of a meal to freeze so that when I do have to hit the road, I have a freezer full of options waiting for me to grab and go.
- Capitalize on the healthy options at truck stops – Gone are the days when truck stops only served mountains of fried foods. You can almost always find a decently healthy option at any truck stop these days. Some of my personal favorites are hummus and carrots, protein milk, almonds, apples, and beef jerky for when I need a shot of salt and protein.
- Take stock of your hotel’s amenities – Many hotels have mini fridges, microwaves, and a communal barbeque to make use of. If your hotel doesn’t have a minifridge, try the front desk – some hotels have minifridges you can request that they will bring to your room during your stay. Some of my go-to road meals are homemade chili and a salad or pre-made chicken and salad on a whole wheat wrap. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll grill up some meat and bake a potato with a side salad.
- Bring protein powder on the road – I find it difficult to eat enough while I am working so I almost always bring protein powder on the road. I’ll make a shake while I am fueling up and hit the road.
- Hydrate – This one goes without explanation. Your body is around 60% water, but you will be 100% miserable if you are dehydrated. Water is best, but you may need to add in an electrolyte drink if you are losing a lot of fluid to sweat or exerting yourself.
- Don’t forget the variety – Everyone has their go-to snack for the road, but don’t forget to switch it up. In addition to diversifying the nutrients you consume; you will also make sure you don’t get sick of your options. For example, 2021 was the year of pre-packaged cheeses for me and I still shudder at the thought.
- Give yourself some credit – Life is busy and sometimes all you can do is just make it through the day. The fact that you are trying is huge and you should take that win any day.
Remember, healthy eating is a journey and it’s personal. The tips above work for me – find what works for you. And don’t forget to enjoy the occasional wing night!
For more ideas:
Nutrition Tips for Shift Workers on the Road
How to Take your Healthy Diet on the Road