I realize that most truck drivers aren’t stopping at grocery stores to get their food for the day.  It’s not convenient.  But there is a lot that can be said for buying more of your food from a store than from the gas station.  To the credit of truck stops, they are attempting to bring healthier food into their stores, but even this is usually only some fruit by the cashier.  I think you’ll find that if you are able to stop at the grocery store for the bulk of your food, even every couple of days, you’ll save calories, time, and most importantly, money!  That being said, here are some tips for getting through the grocery store without a bunch of things you don’t need. 

I think we’ve all had this experience.  We pull into our crowded parking spot at the grocery store, get out of the car, and are immediately ambushed by amazing aromas.  You might smell flowers, but the biggest ones for me are roasted chicken and fresh bread.  My mouth starts to water.  I walk in the entrance and right in my face is bread straight from the oven, bags of chips, sports drinks, and fresh fruit.  My stomach starts to growl.  Straight ahead of me are aisles and aisles of prepackaged, ready to eat foods that now look so good, I can’t remember why I came in, and grocery store’s marketing departments everywhere are patting themselves on the back for a job well done. 

Most people don’t realize what is really going on at a grocery store and how strategically the food is placed.  The staples, like milk and bread, are all the way at the back of the store, so that you have to pass a bunch of things you didn’t need five minutes ago to get to them.  At eye level, for most of us, about 5 ½ ft from the floor, are the most expensive items for easy grabbing, while generic brands are high above or low below.  The ends of the aisles hold deals for things where you can buy two for a discount, which clearly is better than just the one you came in to buy!   With more than 30,000 food products lining the shelves, supermarkets can be a huge drain on your wallet. 

Tip #1.  NEVER GO HUNGRY!  Reason flies out the window when you’re hungry at a grocery store.  Eat before you go and you won’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need, saving you money.

Tip #2.  Make a list organized by category.  Put all the fruits and veggies in one column, dairy in one, and breads in another.  This will ensure that you don’t run in circles, saving you time.

Tip #3.  Stay around the perimeter.  Studies show that in most grocery stores, the healthier food is around the outside of the aisles.   Try to do a lot of buying in the produce section, saving you calories.

Tip #4.  Only buy what you came for.  A sale is only good if you really need that product.  $0.50 off a $3.00 product is great, but it’s $2.50 wasted if you don’t need it.  This saves you calories and money!

Tip #5.   Buy things that you can portion into easy to grab bags and containers.  Bulk is great for things that don’t spoil.  You can start each day by putting healthy snacks divided into the proper portions like fruit, veggies, nuts, chips or crackers and cheese somewhere near your seat that is easy to reach and doesn’t compromise your safety. Perhaps a cooler on the front seat or in between your front seats?

Drivers can’t always choose what’s in between their stops, but when you see a grocery store, fill up for a few days.  You might even find something special to the region you’re in to try.  This is just another way for you to enjoy your world, not avoid it!
 
 

Read These Next...

LIVE Smart

LIVE Smart

What is Your Marathon?

July 13, 2017

LIVE Smart

Brace for Re-Entry!

July 11, 2017

Comment ()


These are some good ideas.

June 04, 2016 22:24:12 PM

Great article !!
I leave home well stocked, 2 fresh single serving supper meals and with 5 frozen single serving supper meals. After eating the 1st supper, take one out of the freezer to slowly thaw. Lots of good healthy snacks.

April 05, 2016 0:43:40 AM

I also by the whole roasted chickens in the bag.You can stretch it pretty far.

April 20, 2014 19:17:55 PM

This is a great article, and very well thought out! Excellent strategies (that I really should practice myself). I always buy things that are on sale even when I don't need them! Great advice!

April 11, 2014 9:51:44 AM

GREAT ADVISE!!

April 08, 2014 20:41:02 PM

Rice cooker! Crock Pot! And a George Forman grill! Life is good!

October 29, 2012 7:16:31 AM

great article and some good ideas.Thanks more the infor.

October 28, 2012 7:37:41 AM

Rice cooker, if you all don't know what it is, it is probably the single most important thing I have in regards to cooking on the road. I can cook rice (really healthy by the way), steam vegetables, and mine even can fry a little before going into a simmer mode to make chilis and stews. Make it all on a good break, store it in containers, enjoy all week long!

September 20, 2012 21:41:02 PM

love the article informative and thoughtful

September 02, 2012 8:47:58 AM

I love my crockpot! You can make healthy meals full of vegtables easily and have leftovers for later. They are a bit of a pain to clean up, but the health benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

September 02, 2012 8:03:51 AM

thanks for the advice. I don't like to carry propane in the truck, I do carry a butane stove that works well, have not tried a full meal yet but small stuff works great.
http://www.rei.com/product/824173/camp-chef-butane-single-burner-stove

September 01, 2012 20:11:40 PM

Cleanup for me is easy. I carry a utensil that can be found in any Walmart, grocery store or even a hardware store for $2-$4. It has a scrubby pad at one end and holds a considerable amount of dish washing soap in its handle. All I need is water. If a sink is available it's that much easier. Be fair to others. Clean as much of the "stuff" off of what you're cleaning first so you don't clog someone's sink. If a sink isn't handy I always have a couple gallons of drinking water in the truck. Hint; When not in use store it in a plastic bag or container because the scrub head the water will leak after you use it.

August 31, 2012 14:22:25 PM

CLEAN UP IS EASY!

Just like camping. I carried a camping stove in truck - any size you prefer (smaller the better for me), for example REI has big selection --

http://www.rei.com/gear/feature/search/Google/camp%20stoves?s_kwcid=TC|13029|camp%20stove||S|p|16149867725&gclid=CJehqrbyh7ICFYW8Kgod8XcAFw

and a large pot. Fill it with water - bring it to boil, add dish washing liquid and you can sanitize anything.

August 27, 2012 7:24:23 AM

While this is all great, why is it no one addresses the clean up? I can find what to eat, where to eat, how to cook it, and how to buy it. But no one ever talks about the clean up. While sitting in a truck stop, this may not be a problem, pop it all in a bag and haul it in to the rest room/shower but how about when sitting in a lot with no facilities, shippers dock, a closed rest stop or a corn field?

August 25, 2012 10:16:33 AM

We carry a VitaMix while on the road. It is very easy to wash as it washes itself. I put in a little water as soon as I am done making a smoothy or hot soup and a dash of soap and it cleans itself

August 24, 2012 6:12:25 AM

I am fortunate to only go out for 5-7 days at a time. I buy and prepare foods before leaving home home and reheat in the truck. No junk food in truck. Just berries, fruit, veggies and green tea. I have lost 55 pounds while still driving 130,000 - 150,000 miles per year. It's difficult to change old bad habits but it can be done if you want it badly enough.

August 20, 2012 22:25:28 PM

Carissa, you have again caused me to pause and ponder. I am always hungry when I shop.

August 19, 2012 15:30:07 PM

Now this is just me talking - my opinion...I am 63 years old and I have never intentionally washed produce and I eat a lot of it. Lettuce, berries from AZ and CA, grapes from Chile, potatoes from ID, etc, etc, I do not care. I figure what’s the use? Much of it is washed before and after it gets to the shelf. I cannot remember ever getting sick from produce. I have been sick a lot more from bad food at restaurants. Further, I cannot recall ever getting sick from something I cooked. In fact I have eaten farmed salmon twice a week (on the average) for 28 years and supposedly it is full of mercury.
I am still kicking. I think Americans are overly cautious with food. We live a lot more dangerously than we eat – cell phones, texting and alcohol for instance.
I have never had kids around and I am only speaking for myself.

August 16, 2012 8:24:23 AM

Great article. I have used the shopping around the perimeter metod of shopping and have found it works very well.

August 16, 2012 7:05:23 AM

The biggest problem I have with buying produce out on the road is not having the ability to wash it before consuming it. There are too many articles and documentaries out there that have just given me the "heebie-jeebies" when it comes to not washing your produce. I mean sure, you can pour a couple bottles of water over your produce, but I'm not talking about knocking the dust off them, I'm talking about washing them. Cleaning them from their long journey from picker to stocker and all the little hands perusing over them at the grocery store. It drives me absolutely crazy when I see parents letting their kids run their little booger pickers over all the produce at the grocery store. Plus, you want to wash off any residual pesticides that are still on there.

The next problem I have is using a juicer out on the road. Okay, my problem is not using the juicer, but cleaning up after each juicing. What a nightmare! I'm not sure if you have ever tried cleaning a juicer after using it, but it takes quite a bit of water to get it all clean, and may the trucking gods be with you if you ever let that mess dry before you get it cleaned. I'm pretty sure I would rather throw it away and buy a new juicer if that ever happens again. And you can't just juice a bunch of fruits and veggies and put it in the cooler/reefer for later because within 20 mins your vitamins and minerals start "dying" off. It needs to be fresh if you want the full benefit from your juice. Hmm, what to do, what to do.

Anyway, Carissa, great article! Keep'em coming!!

August 16, 2012 6:37:19 AM

Bryan, I don't know much about Whey protein. Maybe I should do an article on it so that I can learn more! Anyone else?

August 15, 2012 14:51:22 PM

I always try to use a basket instead of a shopping cart. The result is usually smaller & fresher foods being purchased!

August 15, 2012 13:40:17 PM

Such good info. I just need to figure out how to portion the food better. Should Wey protein be included to supplement meals?

August 15, 2012 12:22:54 PM

Good point! There are studies that show a direct proportion between size of shopping carts and the amount of goods purchased. Look at old photographs of shoppers in the '30's and you can see them carrying small sacks or nothing but what they can carry in their arms

Thank you, Sylvan Goldman! Interesting story at:

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/shopcart.htm

One night, in 1936, Goldman sat in his office wondering how customers might move more groceries. He stared idly at a wooden folding chair. Put a basket on the seat, wheels on the legs. . . Wait a minute. Goldman and a mechanic, Fred Young, began tinkering. Their first shopping cart was a metal frame that held two wire baskets. Since they were inspired by the folding chair, Goldman called his carts "folding basket carriers".

That is what we call progress!

August 15, 2012 7:38:14 AM

Good point! There are studies that show a direct proportion between size of shopping carts and the amount of goods purchased. Look at old photographs of shoppers in the '30's and you can see them carrying small sacks or nothing but what they can carry in their arms

Thank you, Sylvan Goldman! Interesting story at:

http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/shopcart.htm

One night, in 1936, Goldman sat in his office wondering how customers might move more groceries. He stared idly at a wooden folding chair. Put a basket on the seat, wheels on the legs. . . Wait a minute. Goldman and a mechanic, Fred Young, began tinkering. Their first shopping cart was a metal frame that held two wire baskets. Since they were inspired by the folding chair, Goldman called his carts "folding basket carriers".

That is what we call progress!

August 15, 2012 7:38:14 AM

One thing I like to do to keep spending down is not get a cart or basket. I am typically only picking up a couple of items and I really don’t need one. Without a way to carry more stuff, I only get what I need.

August 14, 2012 17:25:34 PM

I like the whole roasted chicken!. It is only $5.00 at CostCo and that is chicken feed - so to speak!

August 14, 2012 14:17:33 PM

The nice thing about driving a truck is we have to use portion control due to not much storage room. One thing I am always reminded of is that a truck brings the food to the grocery store so there is always room for us to get in... even if we are immediatly kicked out.... The new GPS's have made it much easier to find grocery stores in all of the strange cities where we end up and this has helped a lot.

August 14, 2012 14:00:22 PM

I'm planning right now for a road trip from CO to WI later this week and am trying out a few things to help me make sure that I can eat well on the road. It'll probably change my whole perspective on this article... I'll post again next week to say what worked and what didn't!

August 14, 2012 13:24:42 PM

Smaller meals tend to be easier and they do say that eating every 3 hours or so helps keep your metabolism up, but throwing some lean lunch meat into your cooler can make for more substantial snacks or meals if you need them. Grab some wraps or high fiber breads and you won't need much to keep you going. I generally shoot for three meals with at least one veggie, and then a piece of fruit with something else like cheese, nuts, or a package of Florida's Natural Nuggets fruit snacks (that you can find at Walmart or Target) in between the meals. Following those guidelines assures that you will get the necessary fruits/veggies in for the day and keeps you fuller longer.

August 14, 2012 13:22:37 PM

Great Tips! Portion control is key for all of us!

August 14, 2012 12:48:44 PM

Carissa, great article. Should I try to eat a lot of smaller meals when I'm on the road (snacks, protein bars, fruit, etc.) or should I have a bigger meal with less food in-between?

August 14, 2012 10:54:13 AM

Carissa, great article. Should I try to eat a lot of smaller meals when I'm on the road (snacks, protein bars, fruit, etc.) or should I have a bigger meal with less food in-between?

August 14, 2012 10:54:12 AM

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to get the latest trucking tips and tricks!

ADD ME

Ask a question

ASK A QUESTION

Post a question to our forum and a Pro will answer as well as our community members!

GO TO THE LIVE Smart FORUM

Keep Reading LIVE Smart Articles

LIVE Smart

LIVE Smart

What is Your Marathon?

July 13, 2017

LIVE Smart

Brace for Re-Entry!

July 11, 2017

About Carissa Berres

As a person who has lost 60 lbs...twice...I've learned a lot about the little things it takes to not only lose weight, but live a healthy balanced life. I enjoy staying active and after tackling a 100 mile bike ride that I completed in June 2012, I am currently training to do a Triathlon! I love learning more about food and exercise.

View Full Bio and All Posts by Carissa Berres