Preparing Meals on the Road and Saving Money

Jim McCormack

Continually eating at a truck stop cannot only be expensive but after while many truckers feel that the food always tastes the same.  As a result, many make do by having appliances on hand that will heat, freeze, and cool food.

If a Coleman propane single or double burner stove is being considered it should never be used inside a truck.  Not only is there danger from carbon monoxide but there is chance of a fire as well.  Charcoal grills are also mentioned but both must be used outside the truck in an open area or at a terminal.

One trucker suggested the best thing for heating something up is a ' lunch box oven', which is available at Walmart stores.   He states that although it is a little slow it is possible to reheat casseroles, make hot dogs, and even bake cookies.

For freezing, there are a number of options.  If there is a fridge in the truck, it can sometimes be turned down low enough to freeze things.   For a Columbia or freightliner century, Walmart store offers a 12v Cooler/fridge in their catalog that works beautifully in these trucks and may be applicable to others.  This fits conveniently behind the driver's seat.

Truckers in the know do not recommend TV dinners, even if you have a freezer unit, as they lose their flavor.  Canned goods are easily stored and can be used whenever desired with no danger of becoming ill from food poisoning.   Columbia's and Classic's have an inverter as standard equipment, which provides a place to plug in a small fridge/freezer.  A microwave can also be plugged in.

However, all companies do not have an inverter or only allow a certain amount of wattage to be used.  When contemplating purchasing a fridge/ freezer it is a good idea to check out the required power needed prior to purchase.   Most of the newer vehicles have a built-in fridge, which eliminates this problem.

Many truckers have found that fixing something to eat has a number of advantages.  First, they can choose what they want to eat.  This makes it possible to have a healthy menu that is enjoyable and helps them maintain a decent weight.  Second, they are saving money at the same time.

If the difference between what is prepared and the cost of a truck-stop meal is put aside, it will not be long until a sizeable amount of cash is accumulated.  This is especially important for people who are new to the trucking business.