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Healthy food (not only) for truck drivers

DHL Freight here reveals why proteins instead of candy help to keep professionals at the wheel moving. Moreover, experts explain what freeway truck stops provide for truck drivers and what should improve.

Getting healthy food is not easy

White bread and lemonade are not part of a healthy nutrition. Most truck drivers know that. Despite that, they often fall into the food trap. These are the reasons:

  • stress, because of tight schedules,
  • monotony, if they are traveling for hours along uniform stretches of road,
  • hard physical work when loading and unloading,
  • loneliness and lethargy if they are away from home for a long time and must spend their free time on parking lots.

The possible consequences include sleep disorders, excess weight, diabetes and circulatory disorders.

Good truck stops are rare, and the food is expensive

People whose work takes them along highways and country roads do not find it easy

  • to recuperate during breaks,
  • to keep healthy and fit.

Sören Heinze from the ACE Auto Club Europa sums up the situation:

  • There are too few approved parking and rest facilities on European highways and country roads. The offers made by freight forwarders cannot fill the gaps.
  • The range offered and the furnishings in Western Europe are significantly better than in South-East Europe.
  • The prices at service stations and truck stops are too high for many truckers – above all in Germany and the Scandinavian countries.
  • Truck drivers from Eastern Europe are often paid only minimum wage from their countries of origin plus expenses. The sanitary facilities and shopping e. g. at German truck stops are too expensive for them.
  • The range of food offered at service stations and truck stops often contains too many calories and carbohydrates.

The corona pandemic has significantly aggravated the situation for truck drivers. Many operators of rest areas and parking facilities in Europe have completely or partially closed their sanitary facilities. The catering offered is restricted.

Clever route planning makes a lot of things easier for truck drivers

Smart planning improves the drivers’ working conditions. It hence reduces the risks of poor nutrition. Well organized routes make an important contribution to that. According to experts this is where to start:

  • If trips are too tightly scheduled, it becomes difficult to get parking spaces for the night.
  • More truck and trailer swaps would at least allow European truckers to spend rest periods with their families more often. Hence the risk of social isolation decreases.
  • Route planning systems should be realistic. That means that they take into consideration the actual traffic conditions and employee requirements.

By the way:the Greenplan start-up financed by DHL provides a powerful algorithm for route optimization. The planning data is cutting-edge, and the routes are realistic. That is why Greenplan enjoys a high level of acceptance by drivers.

Service stations and truck stops: more quality!

A more favorable price-performance ratio and overall better ranges on offer at service stations and truck stops would benefit the health of their users. The following would be helpful:

  • free-of-charge access to showers and toilets,
  • less expensive and well-balanced meals for professional drivers,
  • supply, advice, and fitness offer. Part of the tolls could be invested here.

The app TRANSPark from the International Transport Forum bundles information worldwide. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, locations and services of parking lots and service stations, truck stops and freight forwarding businesses that make their facilities available, are callable and controllable. A route planner is integrated. Four languages are available: English, French, Russian and Turkish.

Healthier food for truck drivers: make better choices

Marc Rohde is a health expert. He compiled nutrition and fitness tips for DAF Trucks Deutschland GmbH. His recommendations for better choices at the truck stop:

Enjoy this only rarelyOf this you can eat more
Curried sausage with fries, boiled sausage in a bread roll or spaghetti carbonara can be eaten now and then. But only once a week, please! Even if it tastes hearty: fatty and sweet foods contain few nutrients and promote overweight. They make you tired and ill.At the truck stop, choose unbreaded items. Choose grilled meat or fish and vegetables without a ready-made sauce. Or a salad. Ask for vinegar and oil to mix the dressing yourself.
Too much sugar and too many carbohydrates are hidden in wheat flour products like rolls, toast, and cookies. Also, lemonade, pure fruit juices, fruit nectars, sauces, ketchup, and mayonnaise, breaded and fried items are full of them.Opt for a pea or lentil stew more often. Proteins satisfy you longer. In addition, legumes have a positive effect on the glucose and cholesterol levels. That helps prevent diabetes type 2.
Simple sugar makes you want even more sugar. Sweet food makes the glucose level rise. It quite quickly triggers a new feeling of hunger. Chocolate and muesli bars are therefore not good snacks between meals.With a completely empty stomach, you pile too much onto your plate. So, drink a glass of water before you go to the bar. Water instead of lemonade also saves calories.

Healthy food, better mood

“People consciously eating healthy food at least three times a week feel better”, says Marc Rohde. Most trucks have a refrigerator on board. And most truck drivers who take breaks or spend the night on parking lots on the highways or country roads, have a camping stove with them. Cooking your own food saves money and passes the time. And what is more: You get more variety on your plate.

Marc Rhode, health expert If you make healthy food choices, you will be fitter and more alert at the wheel – and, also in a better mood.

Marc Rohde, health expert
  • Provide enough proteins and carbohydrates from vegetables and healthy vegetable fats.
  • Before the trip, pack skimmed milk products, fruit, and vegetables into the truck.
  • Peppers, apples, and carrots keep for a long time and are easy to store.
  • In the morning eat eggs (without bread) or unsweetened oatmeal with yoghurt and blueberries/kiwifruits two to three times a week.
  • A raw bell pepper as a snack is always a win.
  • Take a pack of ten hard-boiled eggs or almonds with you. If you get hungry while driving, a handful of almonds or an egg with a little mustard or salt make a super snack!
  • Drink water, tea, or sugar and as far as possible only one or two cups of coffee a day.
  • Choose whole grain instead of white flour products. They satisfy the appetite better and longer.
  • Eat your last meal at the latest two hours before going to bed. The body is meant to regenerate itself and not be busy with digestion.

Exercise also helps to keep you fit and satisfied. Need some ideas? Look, for example, at www.trucker-workout.com.

Healthy food: Why not use the camping stove?
“Strong Kitchen.” The cookbook for more power in life. Shopping takes 15 minutes, cooking 15 minutes“, 60 recipes from Marc Rohde for all those who would like to have more time for adventures. Price: 34.80 via Bodylife Gmbh or here.

You want to learn more about healthy eating? Check out apps, interactive nutrition coaching and customized nutrition programs.

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