How can I fit three meals in the day?

In three simple lifestyle-changing steps:

1.  Get up a few minutes early and eat a healthy breakfast.
2.  Pack an easy-to-carry lunch that you can eat in the cab.
3.   Eat a healthy dinner at the end of your shift.

Why do I have to eat?

We can binge without even realizing it. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get
the message from down around the beltline to the brain that something is in
the tummy.  So, just imagine all that you could eat in 20 minutes if you were
famished!  Key message:  

Equally important:  three-meals-a-day will keep your blood sugar better
controlled. Everybody…not just type 2 diabetics… needs to watch portion
sizes and eat regularly. It would be better to have 4-6 smaller meals each
day than to have one large meal at the end of the day.

But won't one big meal each day help me lose weight?

NO! In fact, it may lead to weight gain, due to the high risk of binging!

I have high blood pressure. My doctor tells me I should cut down on
salt. How can I do that?

The American diet is loaded with salt.  Ideally we should take in no more
than 2,400mg of salt-per-day (about 1 teaspoon).
Most of us get 2-3 times that much!.  Most foods have salt in them already.  
Look at the nutrition label on the package.  Then you can do the math!  
Want to start changing right now?  Here are a few tips…

1.  Keep your hands off the saltshaker. (In fact, you may want to hide it!  We
talked to one truck stop restaurant…and they did just that!)  If you are using
salt for flavor, try a substitute product like Mrs. Dash.

2.  When cooking, avoid adding extra salt until you have tasted the foods
you are preparing. Too many people assume a dish needs salt when it may
be just fine without any extra.  This may require some “tongue training”.

3.   Read nutrition labels to see how much sodium (salt) is in one serving.
Convenience, pre-packaged foods tend to have a lot of salt in them.

4.   Smoked and aged foods like sausage and cheese tend to have a lot of
salt, too; watch the portion sizes.

Remember, we need only about 2400mg of sodium each day.  Keep track!

My doctor has given me my cholesterol numbers, but there are so
many of them. What do they mean?

Lab results can be confusing.  When your doctor takes blood for cholesterol
labs, he wants to evaluate one of your risk factors for heart disease.
Cholesterol is a substance we produce naturally and also take in when we
eat animal-based foods.  Too much cholesterol in your bloodstream over a
period of time can clog up your arteries.

Let’s go to the numbers:

Total cholesterol is not the most meaningful figure, but it's the one most of
us know! This number should be under 200, or better yet under 175.

LDL (low density lipoprotein) is often called "the bad cholesterol". LDL
carries blood cholesterol throughout your body, making deliveries along the
way. The more that is carried, the more buildup of plaque you have along
the route, and so, the higher your risk of heart disease. You want this
number to be under 100.

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is "the good cholesterol." The higher the
number, the better it is for you.  When HDL is over 60, it can help reduce
heart disease. Most men and older women have numbers considerably
lower. HDL's job is to pick up extra cholesterol for removal from the body.
That's why it's considered so "good." You want this number to be as high as

Triglycerides are fats; in fact they're the main form of fat in the body. When
that number is high, your risk for heart disease goes up. You want your
triglyceride level to be under 150.

How do I lower my "bad" cholesterol (LDL)?

First, limit high saturated fat foods, i.e. fried foods (if it’s got batter on it, it’s
fried!), fatty meats (prime rib, steak), whole milk (work your way down to non-
fat), pastries (donuts, fritters, hush puppies).    Also, stay clear of foods with
trans fats in them (see the nutrition label).  Finally, lose excess body weight

How can I raise my "good" cholesterol (HDL)?

Get moving! Physical activity will get that number up.  Lose some of those
extra pounds. (This may happen as you exercise more.)
Quit smoking.

What makes triglycerides go up and stay high?

1. Eating too much on a regular basis
2. Eating t
oo many high sugar foods    
3. Consuming
too much alcohol

What's the common phrase here? Too much! Go for moderation!

To lower triglycerides:

Get to a healthy weight.
Stay physically active.
Live moderately, whether it's food portion sizes, sugars, or alcohol.

Diabetics have to count carbohydrates. I thought all carbs were bad
for you. What's the real story?

Your body uses carbs as its primary energy source. Your brain runs on
carbs. Most people (diabetic or not) should have a diet in which about half
of the calories come from carbs. Problem is that many Americans get their
carbohydrates from sources like candy and soda pop.  Lots of calories…
empty calories…and little else.  And, many carbs in the American diet are
packed into foods that bring a lot of sodium and fat along for the ride.  If you
exclude carbs from your diet, your body is forced to generate energy in
other ways…like converting protein. Does it work? Sort of, but it's kind of
like using water for windshield washer fluid. It may get the job done, but not
like the real thing.

The big sources for carbs are fruit, dairy, and grains.  

For diabetics, the carbs are even more essential, because they help to
keep blood sugar balanced. Too few carbohydrates and you may get
hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); too many and you may wind up with
hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).  Most diabetics are on a diet that calls for
between 4 and 5 carb servings per meal.  And, a serving of carbs is 15
grams.  Again, food labels will help.

What are empty calories and why are they a problem?

Empty calories have little to no nutritional value. A good example is high-test
soda pop. It's loaded with sugar and not much else: no vitamins, no
minerals, no protein, just sugar. And these empty calories can add up fast.
One driver told us he drank 4 1-liter bottles of soda pop daily. That's 11,000
calories each week, almost three pounds of weight with no benefit to the
body's operation.   

Is a multivitamin every day a good idea?

The best source of vitamins and minerals is almost always from food itself,
especially fruits & veggies.  BUT- if you think you may not be getting all that
you need, one multivitamin every day is a good backstop.  Purchase the
vitamins from a company that you trust, and don't take more than one
vitamin unless instructed to do so by your doctor. A few vitamins, like
vitamins A and D, can be toxic when taken in larger quantities.  More is not
generally better!

Will supplements I see on the Internet and at the C-store help me
lose weight?

Only if your wallet weighs a lot. The best way to lose weight is to increase
physical activity and eat less.  Supplements that make outrageous weight
loss claims are typically unregulated by the FDA.  You just don’t know what’
s in them.  Would you buy diesel from a guy with a bunch of cans in his
trunk?  On top of that, these claims are rarely supported by peer-reviewed
scientific research.

You want to lose weight? You need to burn more calories than you
consume. With 3500 calories in one pound, a 500-calorie deficit each day
will result in a one-pound weight loss each week. Slow and easy is the way
to go.

Why should I keep a food diary?

Most of us gain weight because we have no idea what we eat every day or
how much. Keeping a food diary builds our awareness, the first step to
making a change.

You have to list everything you eat and drink: the amounts, where you were
at the time, whether you were eating alone or with others, and any
emotional factors that may impact your decisions on the foods you choose.  
Were you stressed out? Were you lonely? Bored? Or were you actually
hungry?  As you go through this process, you are likely to see some
patterns that are leading to overeating.  

Some people get depressed when they see the amount of food they eat.  
Then they quit the diary to avoid the pain. Stick with it!  The purpose of the
diary is to get your mind around your food intake.  When you know that,you
can make changes!

You've asked us to post a file for your use when recording your
food intake.  Here's a food diary form you can download in either a
hard or soft copy.  Just click the link.

Food Diary Form (WORD Document)

How much protein do I need every day?

Most Americans eat much more protein than they need. On average, if you
tilt the scales at 200 pounds, you need between 73-90g of protein each day.

An 8-ounce serving of non-fat milk or yogurt has 8g of protein.  (BTW:  
whole milk packs the same protein and calcium- it’s just the fat that
changes!) One ounce of meat has 7g of protein.

Over an entire day, three servings of dairy would provide 24g of protein. 8
ounces of meat, chicken, or fish would have 56g. (Figure 4 ounces at lunch
and 4 ounces at dinner.) That's 80g of the 90g right there, and we haven't
even considered the smaller amounts of protein found in breads, cereals,
and vegetables.

I really need to lose a lot of weight, over 100 pounds. What's the
best way to lose those pounds?

Two words: diet and exercise.

First, you want to build a meal plan that's based on moderation. Watch the
portion sizes, eat a variety of foods, and be sure to include your favorite
foods in smaller sizes. If you restrict yourself heavily, you won’t stick to the
plan. Then, burn more calories than you consume. A healthy weight loss
goal: 2-4 pounds per month. You may lose more in the beginning, but slow
and steady keeps the weight off over the long haul.

The weight was put on over a long period.  It will take time to come off…and
stay off!

Where can I find more information?

Here are some of our favorite “hot links”

Healthy Eating & Nutrition Websites

American Heart Association

Gatorade Sports Science

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health

Nutrition Navigator

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Portion Distortion

Food Preparation and Planning Websites

Hopkins Technology

Meals for You

Health News

CNN Health

Industry Groups

National Association of Truck Stop Operators

Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association

National Private Truck Council