Frugal Meal Plan Ideas for Truckers
have an extensive food
and recipes section on our site. But what about frugal meal
ideas for truckers, especially for those drivers who want to lose
It is a bit difficult for long-haul professional
drivers to stick to an eating schedule because of varying
schedules. Furthermore, it can be difficult to find time to cook. We
know and understand. We've been there.
However, you can eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
(if this is your goal)
still lose weight while being a trucker.
Your choice of a meal plan depends on whether you
to be more free-wheeling with regard to your food choices or you prefer
more rigidity and scheduling.
First, let's address the free-wheeling plans.
We have personally had success in losing weight on
road by following the advice of Dr. Howard Shapiro in his excellent
Then there are paid
diet meal plans such as Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig,
etc. It may come as a
bit of a surprise to some folks that Nutrisystem does not include all
of the food that a consumer will be eating. He or she must supplement
what comes pre-packaged with fruit and vegetables.
However, you don't have to sign up for Nutrisystem's
program to get the benefit of how their system works. On this page of their site, they
describe "The Science Behind the System." An image describes:
"Low GI + Portion Control + Frequent Eating Times =
The "Low GI" refers to foods that are low on the
Glycemic Index. The "Frequent Eating Times" refer to eating 5 to 6
times a day (three meals plus snacks).
of the foods available through these
diet meal plans are
- Nutrisystem (see foods listed
under tabs for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Desserts & Snacks
for the Basic, Silver, Diabetic and Vegetarian plans) and
Craig (see foods listed under links for Breakfast, Lunch,
Dinner, and Desserts & Snacks)
Weight Watchers has a Filling Foods List.
With a bit of ingenuity, you can make your own cloned foods,
thereby saving money and still lose weight.
And you can even lose weight the same way Jared did by
exercising while being on the "Subway Diet." Don't forget to
check out Subway's Menu
and Nutrition information.
We also have a page devoted to physical
For professional truck drivers who have varying
schedules, you know it is impossible to plan on having some meals at a
certain time of the day or night. There have been numerous days when
we've had to sacrifice a sit-down meal and quickly eat a
bar and piece of fruit.
However, there are times when you can plan better meals.
A couple of different scenarios exist:
- Eat pre-packaged meals (either
those that are
out ahead of time by your home
support team or adding hot water to a pouch of freeze dried
food, like the Mountain
House Beef Stew)
- Prepare a meal (whether from
scratch or mostly from
To help you prepare your meal plan, we are providing for
- a Meal
Selection list with many of our favorite or
- a blank Meal
Plan Chart that lets you plan a month's worth of
meals at a time (just print and fill in for whichever month you want
your meal plan to cover).
Here's how we would use the Meal Plan Chart:
||There is room at the top of
the chart for
the month and year. Under that, there is a listing of the days of the
We've taken a screen capture of the first day under Wednesday as
Each day has a group of five cells to fill in:
1: The date of the month;
2: Any special designations like an event or holiday;
3. Breakfast meal items;
4. Lunch meal items;
5. Dinner/supper meal items.
||Assuming that Wednesday is
the fourth day of the month on one chart, here's how we might fill it
in with selected foods of our choice if there were no special events:
Breakfast: Oatmeal, fruit, yogurt;
Lunch: Sandwich, apple
Dinner: Hamburger w/works, potato salad.
|Here is the meal plan chart
that we prepared for ourselves for December 2004. You will see some
fields highlighted in pink. Those were meals that we ate out. We also
gave ourselves flexibility in our eating when we traveled to Florida
over Christmas break that year.
It is a good idea when setting up your meal plan to
build in some
flexibility. For example, if you think you're going to have time for an
hour-long meal but you only have 15 minutes, you may have to switch
from fixing pizza for dinner to getting a sandwich on the run.
But if you have a schedule and you are prepared to stick
schedule, you will find that you can incorporate a good bit of variety
(so you won't get bored) and you can save a lot of money by not eating
restaurant meals all the time.
One of the things that we found most beneficial
for making a meal plan for Mike when he was solo as a regional driver
and going out for a week or two at a time was packing meals in small
plastic containers (partly for food
storage purposes and partly for portion control).
|After cooking a large batch
of boneless skinless chicken breasts and rice, Vicki portioned them out
as evenly as she could in plastic bowls. She would put the lids on and
put them in the freezer until Mike was ready to take them with him.
He would pack enough of the pre-packaged foods -- to
last for all
his dinners during his estimated time out -- in a large sealed plastic
that was down inside his ice chest
(so they wouldn't risk getting water logged). When he was ready to eat
one, he would microwave
or otherwise re-heat it. Very convenient!
At left are two rib eye steaks (a luxury for us) that Mike wrapped in
plastic wrap and labeled. The close-up view of the label above reveals
the type of meat, the thickness, the date on which it was wrapped and
the number in the series.
It works better if all foods that are portioned out have labels,
especially so that you can rotate stock, eat it in a timely manner and
keep up with the quantity.
|Here are two stacks of
portion controlled meals. On the left is some kind of chicken dish and
on the right is spaghetti with sauce and cheese.
It is so convenient
when making a meal plan to just rummage through the freezer for a
variety of pre-portioned foodstuffs. Just supplement with the foods of
your choice (such as a salad or hot green vegetable to go with the
Of course, you will need to keep the foods cold until
you eat them. Even when stored on ice in an ice
chest, after a few days, most freezer-kept foods were thawed
enough to warm up fairly quickly.
If you're stumped on where to begin regarding cooking
ahead and freezing meals, you may choose a resource such as one of
|Don't Panic - Dinner's in the
Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead
||Frozen Assets: Cook for a
Day, Eat for a Month
The only drawback to cooking large amounts of food is
that you need a suitable place to store all of it. If you are limited
to the space of a freezer above your refrigerator, you may want to plan
less than the largest amount possible. Still, it is quite convenient to
have pre-packaged meals at your disposal.
Money saving tip:
Numerous are the joys of being able to eat home-cooked meals for a
fraction of what you would pay in a restaurant or
buy in the refrigerated or frozen foods sections of your local grocery
only will meal plan ideas allow you to save money but also eat more
Even if your meal plan consists of rotating
through a series of canned foods, having the plan in place allows you
to remain committed to your savings plan.
In fact, Vicki has often
asked Mike as we sat down to eat a meal, "How much do you think a meal
like this would cost in a truck
stop restaurant?" If we were to take the money that we would
have spent on all those meals and put it into savings: Wow! What a lot
have saved by the end of the year.
Customize your own meal plan to meet your needs.
fat, low salt, low carb, high protein -- you name it. Set a goal and
aim to reach it. You can do it.
Return from Frugal Meal Plan Ideas for Truckers to our Meal Preparation page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.