On the road to better health

Nutrition team

If we said "Lorry Driver", what image would that conjure up? To any lorry drivers out there we apologise for stereotyping, but it would probably be a big, hairy, over-weight bloke, in a road-side cafe, sitting in front of an enormous, greasy fry-up.

Well, this image may soon be a thing of the past. New EU rules state that drivers will have to undergo regular health checks, including cholesterol and blood pressure tests, before being allowed to drive on the continent. They will also have to undertake a 420-hour course that will offer advice on how to maintain their own bodies and their vehicles.

Does this mean we will see lorry drivers stopping at regular intervals to do push-ups and sits ups at the side of the M1?

Or power walking in circles round their monstrous vehicles?

Will they be found perusing the local farmers market for fresh fruit and vegetables instead of the sweet and crisp counters in the 24-hour garage shop?

Will they stage strikes in front of road-side cafes to demand healthier menu choices?

Whatever the outcome of these new laws, it is likely that they will certainly have to forego their traditional "fry-ups" if they want to be healthy enough to drive over-seas. A spokesman for the Road Haulage Association suggested however, that "muesli and salad" would be an unpopular choice with drivers who had been "on the road" all day.

Maybe all drivers including taxi and van drivers and even those that have to face a long commute every day should also look at what they eat while braving the traffic and never-ending motorways.

We have therefore come up with a few more realistic tips for drivers.

1. So you love your fry-ups? You don’t have to give it up, just switch to a mixed grill and limit the number of times you have it each week to no more than two or three.

2. Buy a stash of healthy snacks to take with you so you don't end up stopping for sweets and crisps. Fresh and dried fruit is handy, pretzels and crackers or bread sticks are also low in fat. Fig rolls are a pretty good option if you like biscuits.

3. Aim to reach 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. You can boost this by drinking fruit juice instead of fizzy drinks on the road.

4. Make your life easy and choose low-fat alternatives like low-fat spread or semi-skimmed milk wherever possible. That way you reduce your fat intake without even noticing!

5. Vary the kinds of food that you eat as much as possible. That way you are more likely to get the right balance of nutrients to keep your body healthy. Try not to eat meat at every meal, look for vegetarian and fish options on the menu and choose rice or pasta with your meal instead of chips.

6. Get as much exercise as you possibly can while you are traveling. While it may sound a bit ridiculous, doing bum clenches or stomach clenches while you are stopped at traffic lights will help keep your rear and your abs more toned. When you stop to eat, get in the habit of making time for a 10-minute walk.

It will clear your head as well as revving up your metabolism. You can use the time on the ferry to do a few laps of the deck as well. It is definitely hard to exercise while you are working, so it's really important that you use your time off to get as active as you possibly can.

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.