Driving a truck is not typically thought of as being the healthiest profession. You are sitting for long periods of time, not getting many opportunities for exercising and often eating less-than-healthy foods from convenience stores and truck stops. However, just because there are challenges to being a truck driver doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
First, you can hop out of your cab to get some rigorous exercise every day. Second, you can choose some better meals and drinks. If you’ve ever looked up tips on nutrition for truckers, you may have found plenty of tips on healthy food and recipes. However, it can be harder to find useful information about what you should and should not be drinking.
What Unhealthy Drinks You Should Avoid
When it comes to beverages, staying healthy is as much about what you shouldn’t drink as what you should. These are some examples of what you will want to avoid on the road:
- Energy Drinks: Most of these are loaded with sugar, caffeine and other energy-boosting ingredients. This is probably the worst choice of drink for a pick-me-up. Any claims of health benefits are dubious at best. The harm, conversely, is well-established. Just skip these drinks.
- Soda: In a similar vein to energy drinks, soda is something you should skip. They are calorie-dense and filled with sugar. Even diet sodas are associated with diabetes and weight gain. These will also make you crash while you are driving.
- Alcohol: Obviously, you shouldn’t be drinking any alcohol when you are driving. However, it is a good idea to avoid it even when you are stopped for the night. While there is nothing wrong with relaxing with a cold one, moderation is essential. Overconsumption is bad for your health and can be dangerous if you are driving hungover.
What You Should Drink
There are a handful of drinks that you should strongly consider drinking while on the road. If you are thirsty, these should be your top options:
- Water: H2O is probably the single most important beverage to drink. You need water to stay healthy. It is very easy to get dehydrated on the road and you may not notice right away. Proper hydration can help you stay alert and focused. If you need a drink, this should be your go-to.
- Carbonated Water: Consider drinking a little carbonated water with your meals. This is a good way to feel a little fuller while eating less. Although not quite as good as still water, this is substantially better than soda.
- Milk: Having a glass of milk every day can help you get potassium, protein, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. If you find that dairy doesn’t sit well, consider reaching for some lactose-free milk.
- Tea: If you need a caffeinated beverage, tea is the best option. It has less caffeine than energy drinks or coffee. Brew some for yourself with no added sugar for the best possible benefits.
What You Should Moderate
Of course, not every drink choice is black and white. There are some you can enjoy in moderation. These are a few drinks that you can enjoy but shouldn’t overindulge in:
- Coffee: When you need to stay awake for your drive, coffee is the obvious choice. It is okay to drink a little, especially if you skip the sugar or sweetener. However, try to limit yourself to 400 milligrams of coffee per day (there’s a little under 100 mg in a standard cup of coffee).
- Juice: Many people think that fruit juice should be super healthy. However, it has a lot of sugar and many of the nutrients are lost in the juicing process. This is a much better choice than soda or other artificial flavored drinks, however it should be enjoyed in moderation.
- Smoothies: If you are struggling to get enough fruits and vegetables, a smoothie may seem like the obvious choice. However, if you have too many sweet add-ons, you can quickly negate the positive benefits. Again, try to limit these and make them yourself, if possible. Homemade is almost always healthier.
- Sports Drinks: The electrolytes and sugar in sports drinks can be helpful for athletes when they have been training hard. However, they are not so helpful for truck drivers. Unless you are working up a serious sweat, you are most likely just adding sugar to your diet unnecessarily. Drinking one occasionally is okay but keep them limited.
Managing Your Drink Choices
To help ensure that you reach for the right drinks, stock your cab with plenty of water. Consider getting some appliances you can run on your auxiliary power to make tea, smoothies and other healthier options. It is much easier to make the right choices in beverages when you make the healthy ones as convenient as possible. Stocking your cab right is the key to nutrition for truckers!