One of the best ways to keep your diet healthy and to save money when you’re on the road is to plan ahead when it comes to food and meals. Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated or take you a lot of time. It can be as simple as stocking your truck with healthy snacks, freezing meals to bring with you on the road and knowing where you can find a quality grocery store or restaurant that is on your route. Cooking on your truck doesn’t mean you have to compromise on flavor or taste, either. 

Check out these tips from fellow truckers on planning your meals for when you’re on the road.  

Do Some Meal Prep Ahead of Time

“You’ve really got to have a plan when it comes to food because food is what’s most expensive when you’re talking about trucking,” says Tennessee-based dry van trucker Sara Buggs. “I do a lot of meal planning and meal prep at home. I will vacuum seal my food and meat, and put my food in my refrigerator in my truck.”

Doing meal prep and meal planning ahead of time means you don’t have to get out of your truck to eat. The time lost for stopping to order and get food easily can take 30 minutes or more, and 30 minutes when you’re on an 11-hour drive clock on a 14-hour shift clock can mean the difference between you getting to your stop on time or being late. According to Sara, meal planning also makes your day less stressful.

“Vacuum-sealing my food and putting it on the truck ahead of time keeps me from stressing out over where I’m going, how long it’s going to take and what I’m going to get,” added Sara.  

“Vacuum-sealing my food and putting it on the truck ahead of time keeps me from stressing out over where I’m going, how long it’s going to take and what I’m going to get.”

Have the Right Tools and Appliances on Hand

When you’re on your truck, space is tight, so you have to choose your appliances and cooking tools wisely. Depending on what you like to cook and the size of your sleeper, you may want to bring some essential kitchen accessories with you out on the road. 

“In my truck, I have a regular truck refrigerator, but I also have an Allpicool portable freezer,” said owner operator Gerald Johnson, a 28-year veteran of the industry whose wife travels with him on the road. “We keep that fully stocked and we do a lot of cooking on the truck, which saves us a lot of money. It’s a lot healthier because you know what’s going into your food.”

“In my truck, I have a regular truck refrigerator, but I also have an Allpicool portable freezer,” said owner operator Gerald Johnson, a 28-year veteran of the industry whose wife travels with him on the road. “We keep that fully stocked and we do a lot of cooking on the truck, which saves us a lot of money. It’s a lot healthier because you know what’s going into your food.”

You also may want to consider investing in a small microwave and/or an electric skillet for quickly heating up food on your truck when you’re on your breaks. Other tools you might bring with you on the road include a blender, hot pot/multicooker, pod coffee machine or a two-burner electric stove. 

Don’t Skimp on Taste

According to owner operator Travis Griffin, if you have the right tools and preparation, you can eat very well when you’re on the road as a trucker. He should know. Travis attended culinary arts schools when he was stationed at McChord Air Force base. As someone who grew up cooking with his parents and grandmother, he’s always loved cooking — and that didn’t stop when he went into trucking after leaving the military. Today, Travis is sharing his recipes for cooking on the road via his YouTube and Instagram accounts. 

“I want to show everyone that you can make and eat a five-start meal on the truck for a little money,” says Travis. “You don’t have to go out to big restaurants to make yourself feel special. You also can eat healthy that way. I’ve cooked for most of the subscribers on my YouTube channel. When I grill in the parking lot, everyone wants some!”

“I want to show everyone that you can make and eat a five-start meal on the truck for a little money,” says Travis. “You don’t have to go out to big restaurants to make yourself feel special. You also can eat healthy that way. I’ve cooked for most of the subscribers on my YouTube channel. When I grill in the parking lot, everyone wants some!”

Travis also reports that he uses Trucker Tools’ free driver app when he’s on (and off) the road to find stores off his routes where he can quickly stock up on groceries. Check out this clip of Travis cooking his favorite beef ribs recipe

Focus on Versatility When Food Shopping

Let’s face it: you sit a lot as a trucker and work long days, so fitting exercise into your day can be difficult. Since she finds it hard to find time to exercise, enclosed car hauler Jacinda Duran focuses on cooking healthy meals on her truck. Jacinda says healthy eating starts with what you buy at the grocery store. 

Making good food selections is everything,” reports Jacinda. “If you’re not going to run two miles tonight, then eat something lighter instead of a number two and a large Coke. If there’s no way you’re going to burn a third of the calories in food like that, then food selection is really important.”

Jacinda tries to buy ingredients that are versatile and easy to combine together in different recipes. Some of her favorites include chicken and turkey patties, chili beans, vegetable based macaroni and cheese, fruit, salads and vegetables. She also avoids complex carbohydrates and makes sure to drink lots of water when she’s on the road. 

What are some of your favorite meal planning tips? Share them with us on the Trucker Tools Facebook page

Learn why Trucker Tools’ all-in-one free driver app should be your number one tool on the road. Read Five Ways Trucker Tools’ Driver App Saves Time and Money — with Trucker Travis Griffin. To download Trucker Tools’ free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/