Eat Empowered, Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Food Truck Options: Here’s What a Registered Dietitian Orders

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Food trucks are enjoying their moment and we’re totally on board with this. For the most part.

While it’s very easy to get sucked into the land of donut holes and cheese curds, we still want you to Eat Empowered and make great choices while you’re enjoying a nosh on the go. But do healthy food truck options even exist? And if so (spoiler alert: they do!), what are they?

Keri Glassman, our founder and resident Registered Dietitian Nutritionist extraordinaire, shares her top healthy food truck menu picks for some of the most common food trucks you’ll encounter this summer.

Taco or Mexican Food Trucks

Chips, cheese, rice, refried beans—they’re all there for the taking!

But don’t take them!

Instead, opt for lean proteins and fresh ingredients to make your Mexican food truck experience extra delicious—and plenty healthy.

Go for:

  • Soft tacos
  • Pulled chicken or pork, or black beans
  • Salsa or slaw
  • Guacamole or avocado
  • Hot sauce

Avoid: 

  • Tostadas or fried shells
  • Chips
  • Fried fish
  • Cheese

BBQ Food Trucks

Nothing says summer (even in the winter!) more than the smell of BBQ. Thankfully, you can enjoy the smoky, saucy goodness all year round with several smart and healthy menu choices.

Go for:

  • Pulled pork
  • Roasted chicken
  • Corn or green veggies (such as a garden salad), which you can often find on these trucks
  • Coleslaw 

Avoid:

  • Baked beans (usually loaded with sugar)
  • Mac & cheese
  • Potato salad
  • French fries 

Pizza Food Trucks

A great slice of pie is quick, fairly easy to eat, and delicious. Plus, pizza trucks are everywhere and a no-brainer if you’re looking for something the whole family will love. The great news is that you can even visit one and still stay consistent with your healthy eating habits.

Go for:

  • Thin crust (often served as individual pizzas or as squares)
  • Whole wheat crust, if available
  • As many veggie toppings as possible 
  • Grilled chicken or prosciutto for some protein 

Avoid:

  • Deep dish crust
  • Multiple cheeses
  • Meats like pepperoni or sausage

RELATED: Check out the Nutritious Life Pizza Recipe Library

Grilled Cheese Food Trucks

Ooey, gooey, cheesy, and buttery… all the things you think of when you visit a food truck with grilled cheese as the main attraction. And while we won’t claim this to be the healthiest food truck choice, there are cleaner and more nutrient-dense ingredient alternatives to the regular high-fat, processed fare.

Go for:

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (lower in calories and less processed than those uber-yellow cheeses)
  • Added tomatoes 
  • Whole grain or sourdough bread

Avoid:

  • Multiple cheeses 
  • White bread
  • Creamy sauces

Lobster Roll Food Trucks

If you love a good lobster roll, the allure of a specialty lobster roll food truck can be hard to resist. 

Go for Keri’s picks below and be sure to practice mindful eating. You’ll satisfy that seafood siren call and enjoy every last bite. 

Go for:

  • Lobster cocktail
  • A traditional roll, but … (see below)

Avoid:

  • The jumbo rolls
  • Clam chowder
  • Anything fried

Middle Eastern Food Trucks

Bold flavors, sensory-tingling aromas, bright colors, and interesting textures—these are the dreams Middle Eastern food trucks are made of. And since Middle Eastern cuisine is generally quite healthy anyway (with its veggies, grains, spices, seeds, herbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats), you can usually find some super healthy options at these food trucks.

Go for:

  • Chicken gyro salad
  • Tabbouleh
  • Hummus and veggies (skip the pita)
  • Baba ganoush
  • Tomato and cucumber salad

Avoid:

  • Gyros or pita sandwiches
  • Shawarma 
  • Heavy sauces

RELATED: 5 Instagram Salads to Inspire a Week of Healthy Lunches

Healthiest Food Trucks in the U.S.

As you can see, there are loads of healthy food truck options for you, so no matter where you are, you can live your best Nutritious Life and feel empowered as you do it.

If you’re traveling around the U.S., be sure to keep an eye out for some of the healthiest food trucks in America. True, many will be concentrated in major metro areas, but with food truck popularity on the rise, we wouldn’t be surprised to see similar offerings in smaller communities.

Here are just a few of our favorite concepts. You can check out these trucks in particular, or seek out something similar.

GMonkey, Durham, Conn. — Voted #1 Food Truck on the Planet. (And we can see why!) The chefs at GMonkey use local, organic, seasonal ingredients whenever possible to create gourmet vegetarian offerings and what they call “Live & Raw dishes.” 

TaKorean, Washington, D.C. — Korean BBQ meets Mexican fare at this truck based in the U.S. capitol. Not only is the food healthy, delicious, fresh, natural, and affordable, TaKorean donates a portion of its profits back to local environmental and youth-based nonprofit organizations.

Phat Salads and Wraps, Napa, Calif. — If you’re in Wine Country, be sure to seek out this “Pretty Healthy And Tasty” (AKA “phat”) food truck that, not surprisingly, serves up some pretty mean—and delicious—salads and wraps. You’ll find fresh ingredients and the option to add extra protein and “make it phat.”

AJ’s Gluten Free, Clinton, Mont. — Montana residents and travelers, get your taste buds ready! Nutritious Life Studio grad Jennifer Ryan Shepherd’s food truck specializes in paleo, keto, Mediterranean, sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, vegetarian, DASH, low-FODMAP, candida-free recipes, and more. Her slogan is “All the Taste, Minus the Gluten” and we’re all in! 

 Image: Shutterstock

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