An unhealthy diet can lead to obesity as well as increase the likelihood of other health complications. Being on the road can make eating well a hassle, but with a little prep time, you can have ready to eat meals that appeal to your taste buds as well as meet your dietary needs. Eating healthy and getting workouts in when on the road doesn’t have to be a burden anymore. Your diet and health matter and it’s not that much work to ensure both can be where they need to be no matter how often you’re on the road.
What Are Ready To Eat Meals?
In the trucking industry, ready to eat meals are foods requiring little to no prep while on the road. Generally, this means you are doing the meal prep ahead of time. These meals are also ones that can be stored in a cooler or your truck’s fridge or freezer so that you can simply grab them when you need to eat.
Easy Meal Prep Ideas For Truckers
Ensuring you can eat healthy while on the road can be a major hurdle for many truckers. Learn about some easy meal prep ideas so you can have the food you want that works with your diet while you’re on the road.
Whether you want a large portion or something simple to keep you going in the morning, these breakfast options can be made ahead of time and stored properly when you’re on the road to ensure you can always get the right, healthy start to your day.
- Breakfast Burritos, Egg Bakes, and Pre-Made Omelets – These are generally easy to reheat in a microwave.
- Smoothies – Blend up your favorites ahead of time and you have a nutritious grab and go breakfast.
- Oatmeal – Quick, easy, and filling for anyone on the road.
- Muffins – You can make homemade muffins with almost any ingredients that appeal to your taste buds.
- Yogurt and Granola – A combination of yogurt and granola can deliver the balance and nutrition your body needs.
The lunch options for ready to eat meals provide an even wider range of options.
- Sandwiches – There is no shortage of types of sandwiches you can have prepared and ready to go. Keeping the condiments off until you’re ready to eat is a great way to avoid the sandwich becoming soggy when you’re on the move.
- Salads – Getting the protein, produce, and other nutrition you require is easy with the variety of choices you have when it comes to salads. Combine your choice of greens, other vegetables, and proteins ahead of time to keep it simple, but hold off on any bread and dressing until you’re ready to eat it.
- Soup – Soups can be great as you can make a large portion at home and divvy it up for the road. Some truckers may have microwaves in their cab and if not, truck stops will be a great place to eat.
- Buddha Bowls – Generally, a buddha bowl is a one-bowl meal that includes protein, veggies, whole grains, dressing, and healthy additional toppings of your choice.
Ending your day with a filling, nutritious meal is a must and you can keep the variety going with a few great basic ideas.
- Baked Potatoes – Having a pre-baked potato that you simply have to reheat and add the toppings you like to is generally a quick and filling dinner option.
- Skewers – Pre-grilled or baked skewers reheated deliver the protein and veggie source you’re looking for in a dinner. They store well and are easy to eat.
- Meatloaf – Meatloaf is a great dinner option that can be made ahead of time and reheated on the road. Add a veggie side and you’ve got a tasty, balanced meal for dinner on the road.
- Pot Pies – The variety of fillings you can include in a pot pie is nearly endless. Make it ahead of time and reheat it on the road to enjoy the comfort of a homemade meal on the road. You can even make the filling at home and utilize biscuits instead of the traditional pot pie for a change.
- Pasta – Baked pasta such as lasagna or a more traditional route is both easy-to-reheat options that deliver the grains and nutrition you need in the evening. There is no shortage of noodle variety, sauce types, as well protein and veggie additions to ensure you can cover your bases here.
Truck Driver Grocery List With No Prep
Ready to eat meals are great and essential, but they generally do require a bit of prep ahead of time. Know what items you can look for at the grocery store without having to prep anything.
While you can buy most of the following items prepackaged and ready to go, this list does also include items that you can purchase and put together at home to keep it healthier and more cost-effective.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Trail Mix
- Easy to Manage Fruits such as Apples, Bananas, and Berries
- Guacamole and Salsa with Chips
- Hummus with Pre-Cut Vegetables
- Granola/Power/Energy Bars
- Dried Fruit
- Beef Jerky
- Rice Cakes
Produce is a great way to help ensure you’re getting the nutritional balance you need, even when on the road. Knowing what items to look for can make it easier and less time-consuming.
- Cherry or Other Small Variety Tomatoes
- Baby Carrots
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Pre-washed and Mixed Lettuce/Salads
The bakery can provide both sweet and savory options to eat on the go. Whatever your dietary needs are, the bakery is a good place to get some easy grab-and-go items that can fill your body’s need for grains and carbohydrates.
- Loaves of Bread
Most grocery stores will have a deli that can provide pre-cut lunch meats as well as easy meals. These meals will generally be a little healthier than the options you find in the frozen section.
- Lunch Meat, including Chicken and Turkey Varieties. These can Make a Great Snack, but are also Ideal for Sandwiches and Wraps
- Premade Sandwiches and Wraps
- Pre-Packaged Hummus with Crackers
- Pre-Packaged Meat/Cheese/Nuts/Fruit Snack Packs
- Premade Pasta Salads
- Premade Egg, Tuna, and Chicken Salad. Great for Sandwiches or with Crackers.
- Meals Ready to Go, or Available to Reheat. Mac and Cheese, Rotisserie Chicken, Pizza, Soups, Turkey and Gravy, etc.
5 Tips For Healthy Meal Prep
With a little bit of pre-planning, you can still make healthy food choices on the road and it can often help you save a good amount of money.
Meal Prep Before Hitting the Road
Every truck driver will have a different cab and the type of equipment you have inside will vary as well. While most truckers will prefer to have at least a small fridge and microwave, the other types of cooking equipment you have will help determine what type of meals you can make ahead of time. Meal prepping at home, before you are on the road is a great way to ensure you can eat the healthy options your body requires. You certainly don’t need to have even close to a full kitchen on the road, but ensuring you can properly store any premade items and snacks is essential to keep your food safe and ready to eat when you need it.
All it takes is a little extra thought before you need to get on the road to ensure you can have the meals and snacks you need no matter where your truck will take you. Be sure you cook any necessary items ahead of time so you are simply left to reheat it when you’re on the road. This keeps it less time-consuming and of course, leaves you with less of a mess in your truck. Finding meals and snacks that are easy to reheat is essential.
Portion Control Is Key
Portion control is not only key to ensuring you aren’t constantly overeating, but it will help when planning your meals and looking to store multiple days’ worth of food in your cab. The variety of ready to eat meals is ever-growing and you certainly don’t need to get stuck in a rut, but knowing how to portion and store these meals is a must. Utilizing Tupperware and storage containers that are microwave friendly is highly recommended because it simplifies the process and amount of dishes you’ll have.
Keep Spices and Condiments in Your Truck
Some meals will last longer if you add condiments and toppings later on. Having a nice variety of condiments and spices will also help ensure you can enjoy your meals and snacks with the right flavor. Spices and a wide variety of condiments have an incredibly long shelf life and will do fine being stored properly in your truck. Be sure to check the dates before you purchase so you can get the lifespan expected and ease the hassle of dealing with continued expirations.
Buy Shelf Stable Foods
Purchasing shelf stable foods is of course a must when looking to have healthy meal and snack options on the road. You don’t have to limit yourself to just canned goods and non-perishable items, but you do need to make sure you’re aware of the perishable items you do have. Many perishable items will do fine at room temperature or stored properly for a few days which may be all you require. Certain non-perishable foods can be good to have on hand just in case. Having variety on the road is nice, but just make sure you always keep expiration dates and storage in mind.
Making yourself a wider variety of ready to eat meals doesn’t have to be exhausting and can help ensure your health even when you’re on the road for days at a time. When you cook your food, you remain in control and this is a huge factor when you consider your health, no matter what your specific dietary preferences or restrictions may be. You can put what you want in your meals. You can keep it interesting and avoid getting bored with the same foods day after day.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to continue looking up new recipes so you can switch it up as you like. Meal prepping in bulk can help and can be incredibly cost-effective as well. Make a large portion now, put some in Tupperware for the road and freeze some for later. Let your creativity go when it comes to prepping your ready to eat meals and keep your health and happiness at the forefront no matter where you may be.
Get In Control of Your Health and Enjoy What You Eat
It’s no surprise that being on the road for days at a time can be hard on your body, especially when it comes to eating healthy. The trucking industry continues to look at ways to improve the health of drivers and learning more about ready to eat meals is a great way to increase your healthy habits even when you’re on the go. You don’t need to limit yourself to fast food and truck-stop snacks. Meal prepping is a great way to increase your health and happiness on the road and with the turnover rate for truckers seemingly increasing, now is the time to make it matter.
Not all truck drivers will pack their own lunch, but constantly eating out on the road can lead to a very unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Ensuring you have a fridge and proper storage in your cab can help lead to easier and healthier meal options when on the road.
Just because you’re on the go on the road, doesn’t mean your body doesn’t require the balance of a healthy, nutritional diet. A well-balanced diet with the proper servings from each area of the food pyramid is ideal for truckers. Carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein, calcium, and added sugars are all areas of the food pyramid you’ll want to consider when looking for a balanced diet.
Many trucking companies will provide their drivers with per diem pay to cover the cost of meals and other over-the-road costs. Not every driver may be eligible and not all companies will offer this.