As a delivery driver, it can be easy to get complacent about your health and fitness. The long hours and short breaks can leave you reaching for convenient packaged meals and snacks with a lot of time spent sitting in your van. In fact, a recent study stated that one of the most significant health risks to drivers is obesity, with over 50% of career drivers being obese and more than 73% overweight.
This doesn’t have to be the case though, and with a few simple lifestyle changes, you can make a big difference to your health. So, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stay healthy on the road, from advice on making smarter choices to nutritious meal ideas – we’ve got you covered!
Make smarter choices
When you are on the road, it is easy to stop at a local shop or service station to grab something quick and easy so that you can get back to making your deliveries. This may seem convenient, but in reality, this is not only expensive, but the majority of choices on offer are often high in calories and offer very little nutritional value.
That being said, there are some simple ways to ensure you are making the right decisions, even if you do need to grab something now and then while you are on your lunch break.
- Choose grilled foods rather than fried foods. Not only are they more nutritious, but they will also help you to avoid that sluggish feeling after eating fast food.
- Be sparing with dips, sauces and dressings as they can quickly add a lot of salt, sugar and calories to a meal.
- Drink water rather than fizzy drinks, or go for the sugar-free alternatives.
- Be aware of your portion sizes. Quite often, we eat a lot more than we need to and ignore our body when it is telling us that we are full.
- Snack on healthier foods such as yoghurts, hummus and vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cooked meats, or bits of dark chocolate. This may also help to reduce your portion size for your main meals as you will be fuller for longer.
- When drinking coffee, limit your consumption to two cups per day and avoid adding sugary syrups and creams.
While making smarter choices on the go can help keep you on track with a healthier lifestyle, the best way to ensure you are making better choices is to be prepared. Making meals at home to take with you in the van will not only lead you to make healthier, more sustainable choices, it can also save you a lot of money. After all, those meal deals and fast-food orders can all quickly add up, both in calorie content and on your bank statements.
As the old saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Eating breakfast increases your blood sugar which allows your body the energy needed to start your day. It is also the easiest meal to promote a healthy eating lifestyle; after all, if you start your day right, you are much more likely to keep it going for the rest of the day. Here is a list of healthy breakfast choices that are not only delicious but will keep you full and sustained until your next meal.
- Instant Oatmeal is a filling breakfast that is quick to make. Better yet, it only requires hot water, so whether you eat it before you start your working day or prefer breakfast a little later in the morning, it takes no time at all. If you’re in the van, simply take a flask of hot water and enjoy your breakfast at a time that suits you. Add a Banana or some berries for some added sweetness without the guilt.
- Egg Muffin Cups can be made the night before with very little prep; better yet, you can batch cook them so that they last for a few days. Bulk them out with veggies, sausage and bacon to keep you fuller for longer.
- Scrambled Egg on Toast is a quick, easy and filling breakfast to have before you leave for work taking just 5 minutes to make.
- Breakfast Burritos are a tasty way to start the day; packed with delicious filling ingredients, they will keep you full until your next meal.
- Overnight Oats are very simple to prepare the night before; you can add lots of different flavours and then simply grab them to go in the morning.
- Fruit and Natural Yoghurt is a way to start your day if you like a bit of a sweet treat in the morning.
- Whole Peanut Butter on Toast is full of protein which keeps you fuller for longer.
- Homemade breakfast muffins are a great meal to batch prepare in advance as they last a few days. Better yet, they usually contain cheap ingredients that are often already in your cupboard.
Lunch tends to be the hardest meal of the day for delivery drivers to maintain a healthy diet. This is usually attributed to the short on-the-go breaks where the quickest, most convenient options tend to be unhealthy choices such as fast food or pre-packaged items from a petrol or service station. That is why being prepared is key; a healthy homemade lunch prepared in the morning or on the night before can make all the difference to your health, and you may also find it saves you quite a bit of money too. Here is a list of convenient, quick-to-prepare lunch ideas.
- Sandwiches, yes, that’s right, bread doesn’t need to be off the table if you are eating healthily. Be mindful of your portion sizes, fillings and eat in moderation, and there is no reason you can’t eat a sandwich for lunch.
- Now stay with me here; salads don’t need to be boring. A mix of salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, cooked meats and a low-fat dressing will fill you up with nutritious ingredients and healthy protein sources that keep you fuller for longer.
- Homemade wraps are a versatile choice for any meal; whether you go for the traditional tortilla wrap or cut down on carbs but using a lettuce or turkey wrap, there are so many choices of filling this is a meal that can be used again and again.
- Pitta breads are a hearty way to create a filling lunch; again, pair with a healthy filling, and you’ve got yourself a delicious lunch while you’re on the go.
- Pasta Salads. Get the right balance of pasta and salad, and this becomes a nutritious meal that is an excellent source of energy.
- Coronation Chicken can be paired with pasta, rice, or a salad and packs a lot of flavour into a meal.
- Pair couscous with some seasoned cooked meat.
A nice filling dinner can be something to look forward to after a long day of deliveries. This list of healthy and flavourful foods will help to keep you full in a nutritious way.
- A stir fry is a great way to get lots of nutritious ingredients into your dinner. Use low sodium soy sauce to make it even healthier.
- Chilli will warm your cockles after a long, hard day at work. Chilli is easy to prepare in a slow cooker in advance, and it can be frozen into portions so that it is quick to get on the table at the end of a long day.
- Grilled Chicken is a lean protein that can be added to pasta, rice, or to makes delicious gyros.
- Quesadillas are a great dinner option as tortillas are a low-calorie alternative to bulky breads. Add meat, vegetables and cheese, and you’ll be packing your dinner with a variety of nutrients.
- Tacos are a quick meal to prepare and can remain a low-calorie dinner if eaten in the appropriate portion size.
- Jacket Potatoes. Pair with various toppings, and you’ve got a quick and delicious meal that is perfect after a long day.
No matter how healthy you eat, if you reach for convenient snacks between meals, you could be surprised at how quickly the calories pile up. There are many quick and tasty snacks that you can choose instead that can satisfy a peckish moment while you are out on deliveries.
- Popcorn – try to go for the low salt and low butter varieties
- Pasta Salad
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Veggie Sticks
Getting More Exercise
While you will potentially be getting in and out of your van a lot through the day to make deliveries, there is also a lot of time where you will be sat in your van driving. It is important to allow time in your day for exercise to keep you fit and conscious of your health. On your lunch break, try to get out of the van for a bit and go on a walk; the fresh air and exercise will also do wonders for your mental health. Finding as little as 15 minutes each day to work out can make all the difference; whether this is before work, during your lunch break, in between deliveries or when you get home, finding time to focus on your health is vital.
It is easy to take our health for granted but taking control of our health and fitness doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Staying prepared, getting more exercise and being conscious of your eating habits are all simple steps you can take to stay healthy as a delivery driver.