In the past few years, food trucks have been rolling through cities all across the country. Here at home, who would have thought that there are close to 30 food trucks in the New Orleans area? I now see them all the time, which is exciting because of all the authentic, home-style food options!
You may be pleasantly surprised to know that several items served by the trucks are healthy choices. It’s important to remember that the word "healthy" is subjective and not everything can make a fairly strict, dietitian-approved list However, I am glad there are a large number of options from food trucks we are able to include!
While I'm unable to determine the exact nutritional content (calories, saturated fat, sodium, sugar, etc.) without individual recipes, there are options I would feel comfortable recommending to clients and consuming myself. Below, I highlight the healthier options at local food trucks so you can make the best and most informed decisions depending on who’s near you.
Note: You'll notice that white enriched carbs are not on the list due to their higher empty-calorie content. Mostly leaner proteins and veggies top the list due to their fiber, structural complexity, and satiating properties.
If one of your favorites didn't make the list, don't be discouraged; simply treat it as a special occasion, but if eating from food trucks often, try to stick with some of these top picks and recommendations to keep you on the more diligent path.
Healthy Choices from Food Truck Menus
- Chicken Arepas
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans Taco
- Black Beans and Cheese Taco
- Chicken, Black Beans and Brown Rice Bowl
- Mighty Plate of Protein with dressing on the side
- Vegetable Quinoa in a bowl with dressing on the side
- Greens, Greens, Greens
- Veggie Burger with the salad dressing on the side for the spring salad. You might also consider skipping the bun as multigrain breads are not always 100 percent whole grains and to be sure, we'd need to read the ingredients on the product label.
- Watermelon Smoothie (made with Greek yogurt which provides helpful protein to balance the natural, albeit simple, fruit sugar from the watermelon and banana)
- Skip the bread on all, but enjoy these grilled burgers with fun veggie toppings
- Gringo with lime zest sour cream on the side
- Da Brussel--skip the cheese & bacon
- Veggie Burger
- Blackened pork chop over turnip slaw with sweet bourbon glaze on the side; skip the dirty rice
- Dirty Florentine; hold the cheese
- Veggie Chili Bowl
- Seafood Okra Gumbo; no rice with a side of green beans or cabbage
- Baked beans or red beans (no rice) with a side of green beans or cabbage
- Chipotle Vegan Burger or skip the bun
- Turkey burger minus the bun
- Tomato Caprese Salad
- Gyro; skip the pita
- Grilled Chicken Tacos*
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos*
*(Request corn tortillas if available, keeping it to just 1 tortilla, or skip the tortilla altogether; can have extra protein from remaining tacos.)
- Seared Ahi Tuna with Asian Vegetable Slaw
- Skip the bread: on Turkey burger, Salmon burger and Chicken burger
- Pulled chicken
- With a side of collard greens + coleslaw
- Drip Coffee
- Cafe Au Lait
- Latte or Chai tea latte made with skim milk or unsweetened almond milk. If prefer to add sugar or flavored syrup, try to keep it (or request) just a teaspoon of added sugar (5 grams or 20 calories).
(Can request double protein):
- Fattie Bowl, no rice, with Chipotle Pulled Chicken, Pan Seared Tilapia, or BBQ tofu
- Corn Tacos with Chipotle Pulled Chicken, Pan Seared Tilapia, or BBQ tofu with Chipotle cream & cheese on the side
- Zuriel’s Chicken Curry without rice and half serving of potatoes. Can request double vegetables and omit the potatoes altogether.
- Spicy Arab Shawarma Kabob plate with steak, chicken, or vegetables. Skip the rice and pita. Can request double veggies and protein.
- Tabouli Salad
- Blackened Fish Tacos (try to limit your serving to just 1 tortilla + request corn tortillas if available)
- Veggie black beans
- Skip the po'boy bread on the Bahn Mis to get the flavor without the empty carbs from enriched French bread
- Traditional Lemongrass chicken
- Traditional Grilled Pork
- Saigon Caesar with dressing on the side
- Pig Shrimpin
- Miso honey sesame grilled chicken
- Korean BBQ chicken without the pita
- Pork Loin sandwich minus the bread, when available
*both items can be served over an entree salad of organic greens with dressing on the side.
- On corn tortillas: Delta Prawn Gulf Shrimp Tacos & All Hat No Cattle Black Bean Tacos
- Chicken & Basil Stir fried (no rice & light on added oil for sautéing)
- Shrimp Fresh Rolls
Check the food truck’s social media page, linked on their names below, for their location schedules. For a roundup of food trucks in the New Orleans area, visit http://nolafoodtrucks.com/trucks/.
To find food trucks near you, visit http://roaminghunger.com/.
This article appears in the July 2016 issue of Health & Fitness Magazine