Meal prepping 101

Who hasn’t left work late with a growling stomach but little energy to shop and cook? A busy schedule is one of the top reasons why people choose quick takeout meals, which are often calorie-laden and a contributor to expanding waistlines. Now, imagine a different scenario where within a few minutes of walking through the door you have a delicious home-cooked dinner, and perhaps even lunch packed-up for the next day. Amidst hectic weekday schedules, meal prep or meal planning is a great tool to help keep us on a healthy eating track. Although any type of meal prep requires planning, there is no one correct method, as it can differ based on food preferences, cooking ability, schedules, and personal goals.

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Need a meal in a pinch? What to Eat at fast food restaurants

Need a quick bite to eat? Many fast food chains have upped their nutrition game in recent years, making good-for-you choices easy. By introducing more veggie-filled meals like salads and bowls, these restaurants have expanded beyond the typical cheeseburger-and-fries fare. 

In general, load up on as many vegetables as possible, whether it's extra peppers on your pizza, mushrooms on your burger, or salsa in your burrito bowl. Ask for apple slices or a side salad with your meal instead of the usual add-ons. Brush up on each chain's ordering hacks to lighten up your dish even further. For example, request to make your Taco Bell order "fresco" and you'll nix the calorie-laden dressings, cheese, and sour cream, or go straight to its health-conscious Power Menu. Denny's dubs its best choices Fit-Fare, Papa John's calls them Lighter Choices, Dunkin' uses DDSMART, and so on. Getting the low-down on the best menu items before you step up to the register could help you avoid the extra calories, fat, and sodium found in other choices. The next time you're on the road or only have five minutes for lunch, go ahead and order with confidence. These breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices all get the thumbs up from a registered dietitian.

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Popular diet trends

intermittent fasting

Weight loss can be difficult, but could intermittent fasting help? This eating pattern, which features cycles of fasting and eating, is making headlines as research confirms it’s not only what you eat, but when you eat, that matters in the struggle to lose weight. During intermittent fasting, individuals use specific periods of eating — typically within an eight-to-10 hour window — to lose weight. The premise behind intermittent fasting is relatively simple. When our insulin levels go down far enough and for long enough, as they do during a fasting period, we’re able burn off fat. Insulin levels drop when a person is not consuming food. During a period of fasting, decreasing insulin levels cause cells to release stored glucose as energy. Repeating this process regularly, as with intermittent fasting, leads to weight loss. In addition, this type of fasting often results in the consumption of fewer calories overall, which contributes to weight loss.

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Ketogenic diet

 

healthy gas station snacks

When you're on the road for a long period of time, odds are you're going to get hungry at some point. But the further you drive, the fewer eating options you'll notice you have, and when your stomach does start to growl, the nearest gas station may be your only option.

Though gas stations may be famous for their slushies and lukewarm hot dogs, there are actually a number of healthy snacks that they also offer. Lots of registered dietitians spend time on the road for work, so they know the ins and outs of roadside snacking, including which pit stop snacks are worth your time. So whether you're on a road trip, or you need a bite ASAP and a gas station is just what happens to be nearest, these are your nine best snack options, according to R.D.s.

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Grocery Store Cheat Sheet

When hunger strikes out on the open road, make sure you’re prepared by having snacks and meals easily accessible. This is the number one way to keep your diet on track and to make sure your fitness goals aren’t suffering. Print out this form and keep it with you when you go in the store to make sure you’re buying the right type of food for your goals. Side note: When prioritizing what you should buy for weight loss or muscle gain be sure to buy from the proteins, veggies, and fruit columns first. These will help build your body in the right direction. 

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Diabetic Grocery List

Managing diabetes from day to day is up to you. A large part of it is making choices about the foods you eat. Everyone knows that vegetables are healthier than cookies. But there are also best choices within each food group. A best choice is a food that is better for you than other foods in the same group. Best choices are lower in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar and sodium than similar foods.

Begin a healthy eating routine by adding the following foods to your grocery list. Also make sure to follow these steps:

  1.  Avoid regular soda, fruit punch, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks. Choose water and calorie free drinks instead.
  2. Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts such as chips, cookies, cakes and ice cream.
  3. Replace “bad” fats from fatty meats, full fat dairy, lard, butter and sour cream with “good” fats.
  4. Keep portions small.

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Reading and Understanding Food Labels
By Stephanie Hanning, R.D.

As an over the road truck driver it is probably impossible that you won’t rely on some packaged food to get you through your days. The problem that most people have is the lack of understanding on how to read a food label and what all those numbers mean. Understanding and reading food labels is essential to eating for health. It will help you avoid obvious pitfalls such as excessive sugar or sodium consumption and make you more aware what you are putting in your body and how it makes you feel. Knowledge is power and the more you know and understand the food that you are eating the more you are able to make better choices with your nutrition.

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Fast Food
By Stephanie Hanning, R.D.

When you are out on the road and hungry, grabbing a fast food meal may be necessary at times. The problem with fast food is that it normally is loaded with calories, sugar, sodium, and fat. This can be a challenging situation if you are trying to eat healthy but you can make choices that can keep you on track with healthy eating.

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Carbs – the lowdown
By Stephanie Hanning, R.D.

Understanding carbohydrates may be one of the toughest things to do these days. One day the media tells you carbs are bad, the other day they are praised. It becomes really hard to decipher what information is right and wrong. Throw in the obstacles of driving a truck and limited food choices and it seems impossible to choose foods wisely.

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Preventing and Controlling Diabetes
By Stephanie Hanning, R.D.

Diabetes continues to be on the rise and the number one risk factor for the development of the disease is obesity. The significance of this for the trucking industry is statistics from the National Institute of Health indicate that more than 50 percent of truck drivers are obese, compared to the national rate of 26.7 percent. Compared to the general population, the prevalence of diabetes is 50 percent (JOEM 2009) in the trucking industry, and there are 7 million drivers on the road.

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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: A Look at the Facts

Sweetened beverages, sometimes known as sugar-sweetened beverages or SSBs, range from carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks to energy drinks and vitamin and other sweetened waters.

Here are some facts about sugar-sweetened beverages:

  • Approximately one-half of the population 2 years of age and older consumes sugar drinks on any given day
  • Males consume an average of 178 calories from sugar drinks daily, while women consume 103 calories
  • People who drink sodas, juices, and other caloric beverages do not compensate for these calories by consuming fewer calories in food, which is a major factor contributing to overweight and obesity

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How Much Do Bad Habits Cost?

Poor diet

  • To estimate the cost of eating poorly, you must consider the costs associated with developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancer, higher health insurance and life insurance costs, medical expenses, higher food and clothing costs, decreased productivity, and lost wages from missing work.
  • In a study from The George Washington University, researchers found that an overweight man spends $432 a year, and an overweight woman about $524 a year, more than normal weight people. Individuals who are obese, however, have much, much higher costs: $2,646 a year for males and $4,879 for females.

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