Fit for the Road

Updated Aug 12, 2014

Healthy Eats for the Road

Roadcookin’ authors Pam Whitfield and Don Jacobson give tips for taking control of your diet

How can drivers who are hoping to eat healthier on the road prepare themselves?

One way to avoid this is to begin cooking for yourself. Preparing your food allows you to control how much you eat, what ingredients you use and, best of all, the cost. Cooking gear can range from a simple lunch box oven you plug into an accessory port to an APU- or inverter-driven Foreman grill, electric fry pan or microwave. An ice chest can store food for two or three days. Sleeper berth setups can include apartment-size fridge/freezers.

Name some quick, easy tips for eating healthy on the road.

Eat 3 meals a day. Eating regularly keeps blood sugar in line, and you will be less likely to go “face-down” in the buffet for your one huge meal. … [Whether] cooking for yourself or eating in a restaurant, watch portion sizes. Eat a variety of foods (healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats). Avoid foods with “empty” calories like soda pop. Get enough sleep. … Sleep apnea is a problem for a lot of drivers and being overweight can contribute to sleep apnea. If you are exhausted, you might end up eating more to try to get more energy.

Three important things to remember in order to eat healthy in a truckstop?

86% — Percentage of OTR drivers who are overweight

[First], check the menu food vocab. Avoid or limit meat sauce, gravy, fried, breaded, crispy, cream sauce, cheese sauce, sautéed in butter, “get an extra steak for just $X.XX.” Replace with marinara, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, roasted, egg substitute, egg whites, four-ounce protein portions and a to-go bag! [Second], if it is not on the menu (e.g., grilled chicken breast), ask for it. You are the customer. Take control of your meal. [Finally], do not clean your plate. Restaurants offer fulfillment of perceived value. If your plate has two chicken breasts (usually around 6 ounces each), eat one of them. Be prepared to throw away some food or see if you can get a better price on a sensible portion of food.

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How can drivers balance the demands of driving with the demands of living healthy?

55% — Percentage of OTR drivers who are obese

There really should be no need to balance or compromise. You eat breakfast before you begin to roll. If you cannot stop for lunch, build a sandwich and accompany it with a piece of fruit and maybe a yogurt. Make dinner at the end of your driving shift. Space in a couple of healthy snacks. If your employer doesn’t “allow” you to live as well as work, you should consider moving to another company that appreciates its manpower.

Pam Whitfield and Don Jacobson can be heard on “The Lockridge Report” on Sirius 147/XM 171 and can be reached through their website, On Facebook, all drivers are encouraged to join the Roadcookin’ group to discuss driver health and nutrition. Truckers News readers receive a special discount on orders by using code “TNEWS.”


To read more of Truckers News’ interview with Don and Pam, including tips for cooking in your cab, visit


Steer clear of the premium subs and shoot for the low-fat menu

Good choice: 6-inch Turkey Breast and Ham

Bad Choice: 6-inch Chicken and Bacon Ranch

The Difference: The Turkey Breast and Ham sub has 290 calories and 4g of fat. The Chicken and Bacon Ranch sub has nearly twice the amount of calories (570) and 28g of fat, seven times the amount in the Turkey Breast and Ham. The Chicken and Bacon Ranch also has nearly four times the amount of cholesterol as the Turkey Breast and Ham.

Choosing Subway over a quick burger is never a bad option, but being picky in Subway itself has its advantages as well. Next time, opt for Subway’s low-fat, lower-calorie sandwich line.

Driver health tip

“My biggest health tip would be for smokers to quit.

I smoked heavy for 27 years, been quit 13 years as of April. I cannot describe how good I felt even after a few days. [On food], I often eat the buffet, but I always eat a big salad along with the main course. And then there is that famous quote, ‘All things in moderation.’ Apply this to one’s eating habits, and one can pretty much eat anything (in moderation).”

— Bill Baker, owner-operator leased to Karr Transportation, Smyrna, Tenn.