Think of a truckie and a dietician and you probably wouldn’t expect this odd couple to have much in common. The Aussie truckie renders a pretty iconic image – one of a beer-bellied, blue singlet and stubby shorts-wearing, iced-coffee slugging, pie-eating larrikin. The character is as Aussie as a Chiko Roll, and I should know – I’m married to one (a truckie that is, not a Chiko Roll). Except that MY truckie doesn’t quite fit the mould of the stereotype I’ve cast above… well, except maybe the larrikin part!
See, my truckie and I have a couple of things in common – we both cover a LOT of kilometres on some pretty remote South Australian highways, and we both like to eat as healthily as possible. But spending so much time in the car and truck, means we do a lot of eating on the road. As a dietitian, I try to pre-prepare foods and take a water bottle from home, and up in the truck cab, we try to keep a stockpile of nutritious food that can be eaten with one hand on the wheel. We know that the best foods to keep us feeling alert and refreshed on a drive are fresh, wholefoods, proteins and high fibre options, not sugary energy drinks or greasy, fried foods.
But until now, I’ve known that if I need to stop for a snack, the chance of finding healthy food to eat will be slim to none. And when hubby does an overnight trip and needs a meal, healthy options are limited. (Picture the rural truck stop with a glowing pile of hours-old fried chicken and dim sims). I have to admit when stopping for a quick bite on the road, it’s hard not to be tempted to grab a can from the fridge, ice cream out the freezer and choc bar off the counter. Especially now that I’m also a busy mum, impulse buying when I’m hungry can be very enticing and very dangerous! It leaves you feeling pretty sluggish soon after, which is the total opposite effect eating food should have before getting back behind the wheel.
Now, I know there are some fantastic things happening in the world of health and nutrition to help steer busy families towards healthy choices, but when I’m driving through the eastern Murraylands, Mallee and Coorong regions of South Australia and I want to know exactly what options there are in my region. And then I heard about Coorong Healthy Highways. It might be a little dry and dusty along our roads out this way, but more and more I’m seeing fresh fruit, milk smoothies and dried fruit and nut mixes inside our shops and servos. Gone are the days of stopping for fuel and having a choice of chips or lollies for lunch. Thanks to Coorong Healthy Highways (CHH), I can jump onto a phone app to find the nearest place to find a healthy offering – sushi, wraps, amazing! Not only do they taste great, they’ll keep us happier and fuller for longer.
To make the most of the new CHH options, hubby and I will be checking the app and ringing ahead to place meal and drink orders when we need to keep moving. Or, as often as possible the preferred option will be to break up long drives and take five minutes to order, stretch our legs, enjoy eating then hit the road again. I love that the app doesn’t just tell me where I can find a CHH outlet, it also shows me specifically where I can find healthy snacks, healthy mains and healthy drinks. And for people who are spending hours and hours on the road like my hubby, there are coffee deal outlets where we can buy a CHH travel mugs in one store and present this to other outlets involved in the program for a complimentary upgrade from small to medium!
It’s fair to say when you set out for a country drive, you don’t expect to be treated to rest breaks and fuel stops with healthy food options on the menu. It’s exciting to see our rural road houses moving with the times to offer real, healthy food options. I’m not sure those blue singlets and stubby shorts are going anywhere soon though!