We get it; eating healthy food cheaply is HARD while on the road. Thankfully there are some awesome tools now that can make life a LOT easier... using a Crock Pot! If you want to save money and try some healthy recipes that don't taste like cardboard, read on for our tips on using a slow cooker in your truck!
Get The Right Equipment
First, you've got to get the right equipment. Some OTR drivers prefer using their home crock pot with an inverter, but it is probably best to invest a little money in an appliance that is actually designed for use on a truck. This 12V model is available on Amazon (and if you have Prime you can get it through 2-day shipping) for less than $35 currently. We love that this model is designed for 12 volt and has a locking lid which will prevent your delicious stew from getting all over your cab. We also love that this is a small crock pot that allows you to cook smaller amounts. You can use any crock pot recipe with a smaller crock pot, you just need to downside the recipe, but keep the cook time about the same.
Prep Your Meals When You're At Home or On Break
Cooking in your cab isn't hard and it isn't time consuming, but you DO have to plan ahead a little. One of the things we found when we were researching was that there are a lot of great slow cooker meals that can be prepped ahead of time. Plan to do your shopping and chopping when you are home and then put your ready-to-cook meals in gallon size Ziploc bags in your cab's fridge. Then all you have to do is pop the ingredients in the slow cooker and in a few hours you'll be eating like a king or queen!
How to Avoid the Mess
Crock pot liners are one of the best inventions in the world. They are a heat-safe plastic liner that allows you to pop out the mess and throw it away when you are done cooking. No scrubbing required! These are available in most major grocery stores, but here is a link from Amazon.
Another way to avoid a mess is to make sure you set the crock pot on a flat surface where it will be less likely to spill or tip over. Keep it in a heat resistant box (to contain the mess if a cooking disaster happens) and place something heat resistant over the top of the glass lid to ensure the lid doesn't come undone when you hit a bump. The nice thing about the crock pot listed above is that it comes with a locking lid!
Start With What You Like
One of the biggest problems we all face when dieting is that we try to change everything at once. If your current struggle with your health is that you enjoy eating comfort foods and are lured in by the Love's sign, you might want to start your cab-cooking adventure with some healthier versions of comfort food. The bonus is that this can save you money over a buffet AND you will likely have leftovers that you can heat up at your next stop. Baby steps!
1.5 Quart Crock Pot Recipe Ideas
Cheesy Salsa Chicken (try it over salad to fill you up faster and get extra nutrients)
- Sesame Chicken
- Salsa Chicken
- Mojo Chicken
- Barbecue Pulled Pork
- Smothered Porkchops
- Meatball Marinara
Food.com Healthy Crock Pot Recipes (change the portion size to 1-2 for a 1.5 quart slow cooker and it will automatically adjust the recipe for you!)
We hope that these owner operator tips (that are for ALL drivers, really) help you to make your cab a true home away from home; complete with healthy meals! If you have more recipes to add, or if you want to report on recipes you have tried, please comment!
Looking for work closer to home? We have that too! Contact K&J Trucking today to find out more about our regional, intermediate and long-haul trucking jobs!