IC Safety from Protective Insurance Company
March 2013 An exclusive publication for Protective's independent contractors
The facts about food and nutrition
While on the road, drivers often have to grab quick meals at fast food restaurants. Unfortunately what's most convenient for you isn't always what's healthiest.
We turned to Carolyn Burdsall, a registered clinical dietitian with 24 years of experience at Hendricks Regional Health in Indiana, for advice on how you can make healthy food choices while on the road.
Protective Insurance Company: How can drivers eat healthy while on the road? What are some healthy meal and snack options?
Carolyn Burdsall: The current model for healthy eating is the "Plate Method," based on a standard nine-inch dinner plate. Fill a quarter of the plate with meat, a quarter with starch and half with veggies. Add a glass of low fat milk and fruit for dessert and you've got a well-balanced meal!
If we use this guide for packing a cooler to keep in your cab, stock up on raw veggies, fresh fruit or unsweetened individual fruit cups. Add a sandwich on whole grain bread or a pita made with lean meat such as deli ham or turkey. Go light on the condiments. If you want a crunchy snack, try a handful of pretzels, dry whole grain cereal or snack mix instead of chips which have a lot of fat, salt and calories without a lot of nutritional value.
PIC: What advice do you have for making healthy choices at fast food restaurants and truck stops?
CB: Whenever possible, avoid the fried choices. Go with a grilled chicken sandwich or more basic burger, ideally on a whole grain bun. Ask for the mayo on the side or skip it altogether. Instead of fries, many restaurants offer small side salads or fruit. Don't use too much salad dressing though! Grilled snack wraps light on the sauces, chili and basic tacos are also good choices.
PIC: Why is it important to complement eating right with being physically active?
CB: Imagine weight management as a teeter totter. On one side are the calories we bring in (food) and on the other side are the calories we burn up in the course of the day. If we eat more than we burn, we will gain weight.
PIC: What does it mean to "budget calories" and how many calories should drivers eat a day?
CB: There are a certain number of calories that each of us requires to meet our needs and that number varies from person to person based on a variety of factors such as age, gender and activity level. Most of us exceed this target. If we want to stay within our calorie target, we have to adjust our food choices to do this. If we know one particular meal or food item will cost us more calories, we have to purposely try to "spend" fewer calories at other meals or on other food items.
Determining a person's calorie needs is not an exact science, but a reasonable starting point for most people is 10 – 12 calories per pound. That means a person weighing 200 pounds should shoot for about 2,000 – 2,400 calories per day.
Free download: "Nutrition Labels" handout
The secret to healthy eating isn't a secret if you know where to look. Download our free handout that explains the meaning of different terms found on nutrition labels. Download handout >>


Join the WellCard Savings program for more health resources
Protective offers you the opportunity to participate in the WellCard Savings program. This free program helps offset the cost of medical expenses and includes access to an online health library with resources for dieting, exercising and overall wellness. Learn more and enroll >>