For truck drivers, eating at home is a luxury not a daily occurrence. Especially for long-haul drivers. If you consider the cab of your truck as the office, you are basically eating in your office 2-3 meals a day unless you eat out. The problem is, eating out can have a negative impact on your health. Whether you eat at a full-service restaurant, coffee shop or truck stop you are faced with many choices and decisions that can affect the nutritional quality of the meal you eat. What you order, how much you eat, how the food was prepared, the sauces and sides all affect the calories, fat and salt you consume. If you’re not careful you can easily be consuming more than you want or need. Just because you aren’t eating at home doesn’t mean you can’t cook and eat food from home.
Cooking and eating food from home more often can greatly reduce total caloric intake, saturated and trans fat and salt and greatly improve food quality, nutrient intake and total fruits and vegetables consumed. On your days off if you can find the time to cook at home you will benefit from more than just healthy meals.
Benefits of Cooking More Often
Cooking and preparing your own food help create healthy eating habits for you and your family. You will learn new skills and rely less on highly processed foods. Making your own food gives you control of how much seasoning you will use, which ingredients you select and how much sauce you add. You can choose the meals you make and best of all, save money while doing it.
Tips to Make Cooking Faster and Easier
Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy ingredients:
-vegetable or chicken stock for making quick soups
-pre-washed salad greens for easy salads
-pre-cut frozen vegetables to make a quick side dish
-canned fish for easy sandwich fillings
-chickpeas and lentils in a tin for healthy plant proteins ready to add to soups, salads or pasta dishes
Cook Once and Eat Twice
-Cook twice the amount of chicken you need and use the leftovers tomorrow for a chicken sandwich, wrap or in a pasta sauce.
-Brown double the ground turkey or beef for spaghetti sauce, burritos or taco salad the next day
-Make Chili one day and serve it in a whole grain bun for Sloppy Joe’s the next.
-Cooke extra rice, quinoa or pasta to add to meal-in-one salads or reheat for a quick casserole or soup
Make Big Batches
-Cook in bulk and freeze in portion sizes appropriate for one. Casseroles, soups, stews, pasta dishes and pasta sauces all freeze well and can be reheated for a future meal on the road.
Tools to Save Time in the Kitchen
-mini chopper or food processor for dicing onions, garlic and fresh herbs
-pressure cooker to speed cooking time
-hand blender to puree sauces and soups
The more often you cook at home the faster and easier it becomes. Remember, it’s not only lunch and dinner. Try to bring breakfast foods from home too. Avoid the pastries and sugar laden coffees and pack a smoothie from home. Peanut butter and toast, hardboiled eggs and an orange or yogurt and berries are all easy to grab from home and go. Set aside 20 minutes each day to pack your food for the day and you will save time standing in line, ordering and paying for food you would have ordered.
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