Easy to Pack Healthy Snacks for Truck Drivers
Healthy snacks for truck drivers that are easy to pack!
Packing your own travel snacks as a driver can be a challenge when it comes to things like storage space, food spoilage, and not to mention where to replace the yummy delicious snacks you have eaten and now need more.
But the good news is, as a truck driver, healthy trucker food doesn’t have to be complicated to find, pack and eat. Everyone else may be telling you you have to cook elaborate meals on the truck to “eat healthy over the road,” but I’m telling you that you can eat healthy in small bites, and even those small snacks count!
Why pack healthy snacks?
Packing healthy snacks can and will help you resist the temptation to buy those unhealthy, greasy, sugary foods at the truck stop that are starting back at you when you walk in. And truth be told, those foods are not going away anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy them every time you walk in.
Part of the challenge is many drivers and travelers walk into the truckstop hungry, better yet, hangry, and then make decisions they would otherwise have more self-control from.
You can do this. And the key to avoiding the junk food trap is to have healthy snacks on your truck ready when you need them. Healthy snacks for truck drivers to pack won’t take a lot of time or even prep when you know what you are looking for.
Ideas for Healthy Snacks for Truck Drivers and Travelers
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts, unsalted, or low salted nuts. Look for almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or mixed nuts. Oh, and I love an occasional bag of edamame, crunchy and so good. Yes, there are a few extra packages to throw away, but if you struggle with portion control, consider buying the snack size or travel size bags of nuts or pre-bag your nuts at home before heading out on the road. Rule of thumb an ounce or 28 grams of nuts per day. That’s about as much as what fits in the palm of your hand. And they can be a mixture of nuts or a handful of one kind, like almonds. Add a small dose of dried fruit (small because dried fruit is high in sugar) for a sweet, nutty mixture.
And if you haven’t yet ventured into the wonderful world of seeds I want to encourage you to do so. Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and even apricot are packed with minerals (such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, plant iron, and zinc),
vitamins B1, B2, B3, and vitamin E, and protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Now mix your seeds, nuts, and a small handful of dried fruit along with some yummy dark chocolate chips and you have yourself a yummy heart-healthy snack! Don’t forget to bag your mix-up into individual baggies before you get hungry because too much of anything is too much.
Fresh fruit is a great travel snack idea for any driver. Although it doesn’t keep for very long, your body will thank you for the delicious fuel in the time you have. Consider fruits like oranges (large oranges, cuties, or tangerines), grapefruits, apples, plums, bananas, but eat them before they go brown because, in brown bananas, the resistant starch has almost completely transformed into simple sugars. When you eat a brown banana, your blood sugar spikes more quickly than a green one, which means it has a higher glycemic index. Have a designated basket or container to store this fruit in so it doesn’t get bruised. Consider 2-3 servings of fruit per day, and fruit is best eaten on an empty stomach.
Chips Popcorn or Pretzels?
If you require a crunchy snack and are thinking pretzels are better, you might want to think again. Potato chips have a nutritional advantage over pretzels when it comes to sodium content. And potato chips and popcorn are not only lower in salt than pretzels, but they also contain more potassium than pretzels. These snacks are a perfect example of never judge a book by its cover. Studies have shown that eating salt triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical messenger that controls your brain’s pleasure center. Once your brain gets that first reward hit, it starts craving more. This is why you can’t stop when the big back is open for business.
Consider the following:
Look for pretzels that are sprouted or made from ancient grains. There are even pretzels made out of sweet potatoes and cauliflower and taste pretty dang good.
Look for popcorn that is low salt (sea salt) and does not have extra flavoring put onto it, those are often loaded with additives and excitotoxins, which keep your body wanting more, and you can’t figure out why. I love Skinny Pop when I’m on the go, and best of all, most truck stops carry this brand. Just remember not to eat the entire bag in one sitting.
Look for chips that are low sodium, and there are even some amazing brands that now make grain-free chips that, in my opinion, are better than grain-based chips like Siete tortilla chips, or bare sea salt carrot chips, chips made from cauliflower, and of course sweet potatoes and root vegetable chips.
I have been eating rice cakes since I was a little kid. My parents were tight on cash most of my growing up years, and my mom made rice cakes so much fun to eat. Rice cakes are low fat, low sodium, and the crunch you have been looking for. Try a rice cake, peanut butter (or almond butter), and homemade jam for a sweet treat. Add a slice of banana on top for a full-on crunchy dessert. Put a thin layer of mustard and then sliced avocado on top, and you have a simple lunch. Dunk them in your soup for an alternative to saltines.
Still need that salty crunch, consider kale chips. You can make them at home with a dehydrator or in your oven or you can buy them for a quick salty delicious snack packed with kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and calcium, as well as B vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium. Kale chips keep well when kept in a sealed container so crunch away. Plus you can crumble them on top of a salad for extra added flavor and nutrition.
Jerky is rich in protein and a great travel snack, even a quick on-the-go meal when you don’t need to bulk up on calories. But beware most jerky brands are loaded with sugar and sodium. And you can get jerky of all kinds: beef, bison, venison (in Wisconsin we love making our own), chicken, turkey, and my personal favorite salmon! The best part is jerky is an easy to pack healthy trucker snack that you can get just about anywhere. Just remember to read the label and added ingredients that might be snuck in.
Granola or Oatmeal
Making your own granola is super simple, but if you don’t have time and want a crunch of a bit of sweet, granola is a great grab for a snack on the go. But when buying granola consider the following: look for NON-GMO verified brands and if possible organic. Because remember you are eating whatever has been sprayed on those oats, and more brands are going NON-GMO. And when you flip the bag over check the added sugar content, look at the amount of fat per serving. And most importantly, look at the ingredients being used. Many have hidden colors or flavor additives, as well as unhealthy oils.
And when it comes to oatmeal, consider overnight oats or steel-cut oats versus instant oats. You can easily use your RoadPro crockpot to cook them while you drive. Oatmeal is heart-healthy and if I had to choose sugary cereal or a greasy fast food breakfast sandwich I’d choose oatmeal.
Protein Balls VS Protein Bars
Often times truckers and travelers talk to me about protein bars as their go-to while traveling and I do eat them, but they should be eaten sparingly and not used to regularly replace real food. When choosing a protein bar read the ingredients, many are made with soy, laced with excitotoxins (additives, artificial colors, and flavors), and can be loaded with sugar. And remember protein bulks, and when you fill up on protein yes it will help keep you full longer, but a high intake of protein does require you to be active because protein builds muscle. And you are oftentimes better off with a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts. But here are a few of my favorite brands.
These are all easy to pack snacks for truck drivers and don’t be overwhelmed, the first step is to just choose one to buy and incorporate into your next trip. And don’t forget to make sure you get in your water each day and get enough sleep and movement, and of course, don’t forget to eat REAL FOOD. If you aren’t sure where to start join our Mother Trucker Yoga Family.
The next time you are wondering what to pack, remember Mother Trucker Yoga’s favorite snacks!
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