A recent survey by the RAC found that, out of 500 businesses surveyed, more than 40 per cent reported that their drivers doing haulage work wanted to eat healthier food. So the question is: what’s stopping them?
Well, as we all know, finding healthy eating options out on the road can be easier said than done. A recent report by Transport Focus, an independent transport user watchdog, found that the basic needs of drivers doing haulage work are not being met. The problem is at its worst, according to the report, on the country’s A roads. Most roadside vans offer a limited menu of fried food and almost everything comes with chips on the side.
But there are signs that things may be changing, slowly. The BBC recently published an article on roadside vendors on the A10 which found that one enterprising young couple near Kings Lynn had started selling healthy food out of their layby catering van, and business was booming.
It seems that the desire is there amongst those doing haulage work to improve the way they eat, and so improve their general health and fitness. But it can be difficult to find healthy food and fit healthy eating into their busy daily schedule.
To help tackle the problem we’ve put together our top tips for healthy eating behind the wheel.
1. Take time to research which roadside food sellers offer healthy options.
It might seem like extra work, but if you know of a food chain that offers healthy food you like, or you’ve been recommended one by a fellow driver, make sure you aim to stop there rather than pushing on and then finding your options limited.
2. Think about portion size.
I know our parents taught us to eat everything on our plate, but this might not be such a good idea if you’re faced with a huge mountain of chips. Find out how much food you should be eating in a day and try not to ‘over eat’ just because some outlets offer big portions. Most cafés will be more than happy to give you a half portion if you can’t resist the temptation.
3. There’s nothing wrong with snacking.
There’s nothing wrong with snacking, as long as you snack on healthy options like fruit, vegetable sticks, nuts and whole grains. Snacking can actually be good for you as it keeps your hunger and energy levels steady, which stops you from craving sweet, calorie-rich foods.
4. Drink plenty of water.
Often when we think we are hungry, what we are actually doing is misreading our body’s signals for thirst. Many of us do not drink enough fluids in the day, leaving our bodies dehydrated. So when you think you’re feeling a bit peckish, try having some water instead.
5. Fill up on fibre.
Foods with a high fibre description, like many whole grains and leafy vegetables, can help you to feel fuller for longer as they take the body longer to digest. Try eating porridge for breakfast, wholemeal bread with sandwiches and rolls, and substitute salad for chips.
It can be hard to eat healthily while out on the road doing haulage work, but with a bit of preplanning and a range of healthy snacks, you too can reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.