High-protein snacks for when you’re on the road
Most truck drivers are very conscience of fuel for their trucks and keeping their trucks running at peak efficiency to get the most mileage out of every gallon. Too often, truckers don’t show the same diligence when it comes to fuel for their bodies. Truck driving is not an easy job. Long hours, hard work, and little sleep will take a toll on your body – especially if you are not eating right.
Truck Drivers Health Study
Did you know that nearly 1,700 long-haul truck drivers showed signs of ‘chronic disease risk factors’ in long-haul drivers, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and sleep duration? 88 percent of the drivers surveyed said they had at least one risk factor — high-blood pressure, smoking, obesity, etc. — for chronic disease, compared to 54 percent of the general U.S. adult working population.
A total of 1670 long-haul drivers were surveyed for the study at truck stops around the country. Of those, 64.5 percent reported being company drivers, while 35.5 reported being owner-operators. More than 60 percent were between the ages of 40 and 59, and 17 percent were between 30-39. Another 14.8 percent were between 60 and 69.
Understanding the challenges and making healthy choices
Eating healthy on the road can be a real challenge. Access to good restaurants and healthy food choices at rest stops can be limited. Planning ahead and packing healthy meals are the best way to stay fit and have energy on the road, but we all know sometimes that is not always possible. So what do you do when you don’t have time to prepare a meal but need that energy to keep going.
MyFitnessPal has some great tools and information to help you stay fit at home or on the road. They provide great recipes and tips on what to eat, plus exercise tips to stay fit. They have easy to use nutrition and exercise apps to help you along the way. They have compiled a list of six Grab-n-go high-protein snacks that are great when you are on the road.
The Power of Protein
Carbohydrates, fat and protein are the three big nutrients (macronutrients) that your body needs. Protein plays a powerful role in your health, particularly for your muscles. As we age, eating protein every day greatly helps to preserve muscle strength and proper function. Simply put, protein fuels our muscles.
Our muscles thrive on getting the nine essential amino acids from protein-rich foods. Our muscles respond best when protein intake is spread out during the day—at each meal—to stimulate muscles adequately, versus protein loading at one time in the day.
Jared Dickinson, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, says “Ideally, 25 to 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals works the best,” That’s about 4½ ounces of lean meat, such as lean cuts of beef like tenderloin or sirloin, pork, turkey, chicken breast or fresh fish like salmon, tuna or halibut. If you choose plant-based proteins, aim to get a combination of soy, beans, nuts and whole grains in adequate amounts throughout the day to ensure that you are giving your body the essential amino acids it needs.
“The average American breakfast has about 12 grams of protein, which isn’t enough to stimulate repair and replacement of muscle proteins. For adults, meals must have at least 30 grams of protein to stimulate building essential muscle protein,” explains Donald K. Layman, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois.
Because of the role of protein in supporting muscle health, protein is important for weight management, he says.
“Most research studies that carefully control calories find that higher protein diets produce greater loss of body fat and body weight than high carbohydrate diets,” Layman says. Eating adequate protein has a greater thermic effect, meaning it takes more calories to burn protein than carbohydrates or fat. “If you eat 100 calories of carbohydrates, you lose 5 calories. But for 100 calories of protein, you lose 15 to 20 calories because of the additional metabolic roles of protein,” Layman says.