A Burger is No Place for Your Money
As an overnight regional OTR hauler, the opportunities to eat regular, healthy meals is a constant challenge.
Over the past several years, I've seen more and more professional drivers resorting to driving at night. It not only decreases the number of motorists we are forced to deal with, but it also decreases the availability of healthy, inexpensive meal choices. Combined with updated regulations on driver health and welfare, and ever-changing HOS legislation, it’s imperative that we find better eating solutions.
Rising prepared food costs and inflation outpacing driver pay increases has made eating in a restaurant impractical. And the health issues that are often attributed to such poor eating choices are killing us at an ever-increasing rate.
With my most recent truck purchase, I have incorporated a Dometic built in Fridge/Freezer, an 1800W non-sine wave inverter, an older 1100w microwave, and a Keurig single cup coffee maker.
These ‘tools’ alone don’t make eating on the road cheap, healthy or regular. But in combination with the appliances, my wife’s love of coupon'ing has provided me with frozen and preserved meals, items such as Healthy Choice steamers, VH steamers, Kellogg flat bread breakfast sandwiches, Campbell’s Soup to Go, Stagg chili, etcetera, etcetera. Combined with better snack choices, I have noticed a marked increase in energy and a decrease in stress because I'm not trying to find meals when hungry. While I don’t have health issues that require constant monitoring of sugar levels, I know many of you do. I have also noticed a decrease in my weight.
With winter here, and the increase in road closures due to accidents, and highway maintenance, I have the ability to ‘survive’ for several days without having to stop at stores or restaurants; staying in the truck for several days without need to get out may not be ideal, but being stuck in a road closure miles from a town and no ability to get back to said town is less desirable.
Health care professionals are constantly bombarding us with the need to better monitor our caloric intake, and maintain healthy portion control. While prepared meals may not be the best choice, combined with vitamin supplements, proper exercise, and less stress, my overall health is better than it was in the past.
Recent economic hardships in Canada and in the trucking industry are making it an absolute must for drivers to control expenses. The main expense for the average OTR driver is food.
On average, I am able to feed myself all in — coffee, drinks, snacks, and meals — for far less than would be required to eat in restaurants. My wife, with coupons, can pick up complete meals from $0-2; it is common to come home from a week on the road having spent nothing out of pocket.
While it’s important to get out of the truck just for the mental health aspect of managing the stresses of the profession, it’s just as important to live within our means and there are a lot more important things for me to spend my money on than a high calorie burger at the local greasy spoon.
I’m not so arrogant to believe that there aren’t better ways to maintain a healthier diet, but neither am I so naïve as to think that the only way to make proper diet choices has to lack taste or cost a fortune. I love chocolate, potato chips, and microwave popcorn. I’m by no means a frail wallflower, I’m 6’5”, 245 lbs. and it’s no small task to feed me — I NEED sustenance!
But I don’t need to be lectured on healthy eating choices, just a reasonable, tasty alternative to the questionable culinary offerings that can be found at many restaurants in North America.
Dan Dickey is an owner-operator and helps run this great forum for BC Truckers.