Exercise and Nutrition for
Nutrition for over-the-road (OTR) truckers depends on their health needs. Sitting for hours at a time, stress from constant driving and watching out for distracted drivers, little or no physical exercise, and an unhealthy diet can affect the health of professional over-the-road truck drivers. Included in this article are suggestions on ways to incorporate easy-to-do 15-minute workouts and slow cooker recipes you can make inside the truck.
The trucker cannot drive if DOT exams are not passed. No driving means no bills paid. This adds to his (or her – more women are becoming truck drivers) stress.
Nutrition becomes complicated when an individual has more than one physical condition that requires a particular diet. Medicines can keep certain medical situations under control, such as past blood clot or high blood pressure. Sitting for extended hours with no time for working out, however, may cause an OTR driver to put on extra pounds. When combining weight gain, a hike in blood pressure, unhealthy food, and no exercise, the conditions for staying healthy become more complicated.
Chain truck stops have improved the type of foods made available. Now it is common to find boiled eggs, salads, and a variety of fruit. You’ll also see the not-so-healthy options like pizza and Cinnabons (though they are tempting and do taste delish). But for the health-conscious driver who has to closely watch intake of Vitamin K due to being on Coumadin/Warfarin or packaged foods loaded with sodium because of blood pressure problems, it is necessary to maintain a consistently healthy diet.
What can you, the driver, do to manage nutrition and keep healthy? The two obvious actions are exercise and eat right. Not easy. More than likely, OTR truckers are not nutrition experts. The exact amount of vitamins and minerals needed for their particular diets are probably low on the daily driving priority list.
It does make things less complicated, though, if truckers can network with other drivers to find out what works for them. Finding healthy recipes online is also a plus.
Listed below are four links to websites and/or videos that offer exercises for truckers. Try these out when you stop for a break or for the night. They are simple, easy, and can fit into your schedule.
When you get out of the truck to walk to the truck stop, stretch, then set your timer for 15-20 minutes. Walk to the truck stop and back to the truck or around the parking lot. If you do this in the morning and in the evening, you’ll get in 30-40 minutes of walking every day. You just have to include that time in your daily schedule.
The parking lots at some truck stops are so large that it takes at least five minutes to walk to the store from the truck. Do that walk back and forth a couple of times and you’ve got your walking in.
It’s really not hard to fit an exercise plan into your daily regime. You have to schedule it.
You’ve heard of 12v slow cookers, the kind you see at truck stops? There are pros and cons about them. According to many reviews, the plug melts. Other reports say that the heating elements go bad. Purchase a regular slow cooker, and install a power inverter in your truck or ask your company to do it for you.
Which size slow cooker should you purchase for the truck? There are many sizes to choose from, even a tiny one for heating cheese dip. But for a meal, choose a 2-1/2 quart or 4-quart cooker if it’s just for you. Cooking for two or planning to store leftovers in your fridge? At least, get a 4-quart size. It’s small and won’t take up as much space as the larger ones. However, if space isn’t an issue and you don’t want to cook but once a week, then you might want to consider purchasing a larger one like the 5-quart or 6-quart slow cooker. Look for one that has the handle to keep the lid in place, helpful for cooking in a bouncing truck (otherwise, use a non-skid mat). You can find a portable slow cooker in stores or online with straps that latch onto the handles and help prevent spills.
Slow Cooker Recipe Ideas
Meals for the trucker will probably be for one person (unless you’re team driving or you’re wife is traveling with you). Listed below five possibilities for one-pot meals in your slow cooker.
- roast, red potatoes, carrots, onions
- chicken and rice
- rib eye steak
- barbecued sausage links
- potato soup
Roast cooked all day in a slow cooker tastes wonderful! It falls apart. Tastes amazing! Prepare it with vegetables, or make sandwiches. It’s all good. See the recipe below.
Cook chicken with rice, by itself, or with any of your favorite vegetables.
The rib eye steak turns out great in a slow cooker when wrapped in foil. Juicy. Tender. You can also add vegetables underneath the steak.
Barbecue sausage links (or chicken, beef…anything is good barbecued!!).
Soups are great in slow cookers. Make all kinds. It’s fall, a great time for hearty soups.
Slow Cooker Roast Recipe
This roast recipe will work great as a trucker’s slow cooker meal. It makes enough for two people or two servings (unless you haven’t eaten all day and you’ve got a HUGE appetite).
Slow Cooker Shredded Roast with Vegetables
- 1 Beef shoulder clod roast
- 4 Tablespoons Santa Fe Seasons Six Seasoning (a salt-free seasoning)
- 1/2 stick butter
- 4 small red potatoes, quartered
- 2 cups shredded carrots, or 1 small bag
- 1 small sweet onion, cut in 8 pieces
- 1/2 jar Flamin' Pineapple Salsa (by Santa Fe Seasons)
- Place cut and shredded vegetables in bottom of crockpot.
- Add 2 tablespoons of seasoning and salsa.
- Top with butter.
- Season the roast with 2 tablespoons of Six Seasoning.
- Place the roast in foil, and seal the foil on top and on the ends.
- Turn the slow cooker on high.
- Cook for 8 hours.
- If you are cooking at home or in your big rig, take the meat out of the foil and let it cook on top of the vegetables the last two or three hours.
The roast is cooked enough that you could eat it after about three hours. But after eight hours, the roast falls apart. It would make a great open-faced sandwich with the shredded meat and natural juice from the meat.
I used pre-shredded carrots pre-packaged. There are two ways the trucker can plan slow cooker meals. Do your grocery shopping at home or when you stop at a Wal-mart on the road. Options for the roast and vegetable meal can include any of the following (or other veggies you might prefer):
- one bag of The Little Potato Company’s Dynamic Duo (These are mini red and creamer potatoes.) or
- four to six small red potatoes
- one sweet onion – quartered, cut in 8 pieces, or cut in slices, or
- red, yellow, or white onion cut as you prefer
- one or two bags of mini carrots, or
- three or four medium carrots, whole or cut
You can also change up the vegetables and cook green beans and sweet potatoes. Add fresh garlic, or use your favorite seasoning.
Keep foil and slow cooking bags in the truck. They come in handy for slow cooker meals to wrap meat in and prevent messy cleanups.
Seal the meat, place it on top of the veggies, put the lid on, and turn the slow cooker on high. Now you can drive and cook at the same time. You could cook your food in the slow cooker while you sleep, but the aroma may not let you sleep.
Enjoy experimenting with slow cooker meals in your big rig. If you try a new recipe, check back with Kitchen Southern Hospitality to share.