You need your trucking fleet or company to run like a well-oiled machine. You want all your deliveries to arrive on time, and you don’t want any major accidents to slow you down. However, only your drivers have control over what happens out on the road. They make the decisions that keep shipments and vehicles safe.
In order for your drivers to perform their best, they need to stay healthy. But between truck stop cuisine and hours of driving, they may have a hard time maintaining their health. Use these tips to keep your drivers healthy and alert as they travel from place to place.
1. Avoid sugary drinks.
That energy or fountain drink delivers a fast punch of energy in the mornings. Unfortunately, it brings some undesirable consequences along with it. Since a truck driver spends most of his or her time behind the wheel, their body doesn’t use up the energy and stores it as fat instead.
This happens with any sugary food, but since soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks often turn into a mealtime staple, the empty calories contribute more to bad health than other foods.
2. Eat healthy sugars instead.
Cookies, doughnuts, and other energy-boosting foods have sucrose. To get the same boost without eating unhealthy foods, your drivers should eat fructose instead. Fructose comes in fruits and other natural foods, including:
- Parfaits (with Greek yogurt)
- Energy/granola bars
- Dark chocolate
However, because these foods have sugar, drivers should still eat them in moderation.
3. Choose the right foods at truck stops.
Truck stop food often has about as much nutrition as fast food, but that doesn’t mean that your drivers have to consign themselves to salty, sugary, greasy, or fatty meals. Most truck stops carry these healthy foods in addition to their normal selection:
- Low-fat string cheese
- Nuts, sunflower seeds, mini pretzels, and trail mix
- Beef jerky
- Chicken or turkey sandwiches
- Tuna salad
Any food can keep drivers healthy if eaten in moderation. But since your drivers will have to eat truck stop or restaurant food several times a day as they travel, they should try to stick to healthier options.
4. Keep healthy snacks in the car.
Light, low-calorie snacks not only keep hunger pangs at bay, but they prevent overeating as well. At the end of a long day of driving, anyone would want to have a hearty, satisfying meal, but a large meal late at night often leads to weight gain. And weight gain comes with its own set of consequences.
These small, filling snacks will prevent the need for large meals:
- Precooked brown rice
- Whole wheat rolls
- Spinach, kale, lettuce, and other leafy greens
- Precooked beans
- Peanut butter
Any other fruits, vegetables, and sources of light protein make great snacks. Just remember to eat only a few snacks at a time.
5. Practice portion control.
As mentioned before, drivers must eat the things they want in moderation. Everyone has to practice portion control, but people who spend most of their days sitting have to eat even more carefully. An entire meal shouldn’t look bigger than two fists.
Drivers should also try to eat bigger meals for breakfast and lunch and a smaller meal for dinner. Sleep slows the metabolism, so any undigested dinner will store as fat instead of turning into energy. If drivers eat a smaller meal at dinner, they’ll stay fitter.
6. Avoid truck stop food and restaurant food entirely.
Depending on the length of the drive, truck drivers could pack their own food in a cooler and eat that instead. Homemade food tends to have fewer calories than restaurant food—and it doesn’t cost nearly as much either.
7. Exercise regularly.
A healthy diet wins only half the battle. Exercise conquers the other half. But since truck drivers have a very busy schedule, they may skip on exercise so they can sleep. Exercise doesn’t have to take very long though. These activities take only a few minutes:
- Bicycling: Folding bicycles fit nicely in the cab of a semi, and drivers can unfold them and bike around for a few minutes at rest stops.
- Weight lifting: Drivers can lift weights at rest stops or along empty stretches of road. As long as they keep their eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel, they could exercise the other arm.
- Running/walking: Even a short walk will help drivers burn calories and stay a little healthier. They could even walk around the truck stop.
As long as your drivers follow all these tips, they’ll stay healthy and alert on the road, leading to higher efficiency for your business. Even if you already have an efficient business, bring your drivers to the next performance level: use these tips to keep your drivers happier, healthier, and more effective than ever.