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Truck Driver Cooking Equipment: From Your Cab to the Kitchen

Maintaining a healthy and cost effective diet as a truck driver is not difficult. This article illustrates how to save money and stay healthy.

By

Joey Rizzolo
September 16, 2022
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Key Takeaway:

Truck driver's cooking equipment is essential to eating healthy and saving money while on the road. Modern-era semi trucks are typically equipped with essentials like power, sinks, and storage. However, cooking equipment such as portable stoves, cookware, and utensils are required to cook in the cabin of a semi truck.

Can You Cook in a Semi Truck?

Truck driver cooking equipment creates an opportunity so that you can cook in a semi truck! Or you can even cook outside the vehicle. Most long-haul semi trucks have a sink, electrical outlets, cigarette lighters, refrigerators, and dry storage.

These features make it ideal for supplying your vehicle with the ability to turn your cab into a portable kitchen. Most truck drivers who cook for themselves have a portable refrigerator, dry storage, utensil kit, portable microwave, and some form of a cooktop.

Cooking in a semi truck is a snap as long as you secure all the required equipment you will need to cook hot meals. You must also prioritize preparation and storage.

Creating and executing the proper plan for cooking food on your trip can be easy if you have the proper equipment.

Truck Driver Cooking Equipment

truck driver cooking equipment mini fridge storage

While making an easy pit stop at a truck stop, diner, or fast food establishment might seem easy. It is not very cost-effective for your wallet or your personal health. Although, in a pinch, these options can serve you well as long as they are not the norm. 

Fortunately, there is an alternative that is not only more cost-effective but a healthier option of cooking for you, the driver. This option revolves around you preparing and cooking your own meals. Knowing what equipment you will need to cook food on long hauls is critical for this option. 

There are many types of cooking equipment that you can use in your semi-truck. Here is a list of some examples of compact cooking equipment that is very popular among drivers today.

  1. George Foreman Grill: A hot press for cooking chicken, steaks, burgers, etc.
  1. Portable Electric Skillet: A portable flat top that distributes heat evenly throughout its surface area.
  1. Portable Stove: A portable burner that you can use with a frying pan or pot.
  1. Portable Slow Cooker: A slimmed-down version of a full-blown crock pot. Great for making soups, chili, stew, etc.
  1. Portable Hot Pot: Slowly cooks meats and vegetables in a heated broth over time.
  1. Portable Oven: Similar to a conventional oven, just in a much smaller size but still can reach temperatures greater than 300 degrees.
  1. Portable Microwave: A device great for cooking frozen individual meals, soups, or coffee.
  1. Portable Mini fridge: A storage device that is great for keeping perishables like milk, vegetables, and fruit that is safe for consumption.
  1. Portable Freezer: A storage device that is great for keeping frozen food items and ice for long road trips.
  1. Portable Coffee Maker: Makes coffee on the go in a small form factor.
  1. Travel Coffee Pot: Stores and keeps brewed coffee hot.
  1. Portable Blender: Prepares soups, smoothies, and other food items.
  1. Frying Pan: Used for cooking food on a portable stove.
  1. Food Prep Cutting Board: A flat surface for cutting meat and produce.
  1. Travel Utensil Kit: Tools for cooking, like spatulas, tongs, draining spoons, etc.
  1. Plastic Silverware: Disposable utensils that are used for eating and then thrown away.
  1. Food Container Kit: Plastic containers that are used to store prepared food or leftovers.
  1. Ziploc Bags: Disposable storage for prepared or leftover food.
  1. Tin Foil: Used in food preparation, cooking, and storage.
  1. Sanitation Wipes: Cleans utensils, cooking areas, and storage items and keeps everything safe from pollutants or bacteria.

For some, it might seem crazy to have all of these examples as “stowed equipment” for your time on the road. However, implementing a few of these items will certainly go a long way.

From making your own breakfast and coffee to preparing easy-to-eat lunches while driving or even making a portable home-cooked meal, having this truck driver cooking equipment on hand is a game changer. Cooking for yourself means that you will not only save money but almost certainly have a wide variety of meals to choose from.

Types of Foods Commonly Cooked by Truck Drivers

cup of baked beans

There is a wide variety of food commonly cooked or created by truck drivers for the daily trips made all over the country. The easiest way to break this down is to categorize the time of day related to the meal.

Some of these examples require a more extended preparation or cooking time than others. Some meals require no cooking - just preparation. And some you can just eat straight out of the bag, like trail mix.

Here are some categories and meal types commonly prepared by truck drivers using the various tools listed above:

Breakfast:

  1. Cereal
  2. Eggs, Bacon, and Toast
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Yogurt with Granola and Fruit

Lunch:

  1. Soups
  2. Salads
  3. Wraps
  4. Subs

Dinner:

  1. Chicken
  2. Hamburger
  3. Hotdog
  4. Steak
  5. Porkchops

Snacks:

  1. Tail Mix
  2. Granola Bars
  3. Chips
  4. Fruit Snacks

Typically, truck drivers work very busy schedules, often missing holidays, family gatherings, and other events where people gather around good home cooked food. With that said, truck drivers can often succumb to depression because they lack that interconnectedness of family.

That is why making good home cooked meals while on the road is so important. Eating healthy and hearty is one of the most essential aspects of over the road trucking. Home cooked meals can be done either inside or outside the cab.

Where Do Drivers Usually Cook?

truck drivers portable kitchen

In the past, truck drivers would use ingenuity to cook while on the road. They would use the engines of their semi truck to heat up food wrapped in foil, like hamburgers. Fortunately, this is no longer the case in the modern era of truck driving.

Truck drivers commonly cook either inside the cab or outside when using a small portable grill. It is very common to see truck drivers using a cutting board for food prep and a singular device like a slow cooker or an electric oven to cook their meals.

You can perform food preparation and cooking in the comfort of the rear cab of your semi truck. With that in mind, maximizing the use of storage while cleaning/wiping everything down with disinfectant wipes is crucial.

Equipment Used to Store and Prepare Food

Food storage container

There is a variety of equipment that you can use to both store and prepare food. When cooking on the road, you will need practical storage and prep solutions in order to cook effectively. As far as storage is concerned, the first question is: are the ingredients perishable?

If you attempt to store perishable goods, there are two options at your disposal. One is a portable refrigerator, and the other is a portable freezer. The portable refrigerator will hold cool temperatures, while the portable freezer will hold extremely cold temperatures while keeping your goods safe.

These two pieces of equipment are ideal for storing meat, vegetables, dairy, and a host of other items. Preparation can be done in several ways and while using multiple storage options. You can prep veggies and put them in your portable fridge or freezer. 

Food preparation is accomplished by using a cutting board and a knife on a flat surface, then bagging the cut portions of meat or vegetables and storing them in either cold storage option. Using either option will guarantee food safety and freshness.

ABCO Equips You With Tools For Success

Staying happy and healthy while truck driving is not an easy task. Fortunately, creating a plan to cook for yourself will keep your stomach and your wallet happy. Although initially, it will take some out of pocket cost to set up your mini kitchen for success, in the long run, it is worth it.

As we have outlined in this article, there is a large number of food items that you can prepare to cover any meal of the day. From breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks in between your journey to a happier and healthier truck driver diet starts now.

With the help of cooking equipment, you can turn your cab into a fully functioning kitchen that will work for you. At ABCO, our drivers are given the best tools in the industry to succeed, along with competitive wages, benefits, and flexible scheduling.

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