waterTradesmen have an incredibly active day! In most cases the typical tradesman will do more work in the first few hours of their day than the combined physical exertion of the typical office worker throughout his whole day (including his gym session). This is a credit to all those tradesman out there!

One of the biggest challenges is finding the right balance between energy expenditure and food intake to maintain muscle strength and a healthy body weight.  Access to nutrient-rich meals and snacks at the right times is crucial.

There are many reasons why tradesmen do not eat enough fresh food and consume too much junk food on the job and at home. Most start work very early, so fast food outlets that promote salty, fatty foods for breakfast are a convenient option.

Younger tradesmen may be living away from home for the first time and have simply never learned the skills of cooking fresh food. Money can be an issue too. Apprentices are paid a minimal wage, so a meat pie or bucket of chips is much cheaper than a salad roll. Similarly, fatty take away is often more convenient than cooking lean meat and vegetables for dinner. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of no access to healthy food anywhere near the worksite.

Apprentices often look up to master tradesmen on site and if they see them eating take away every day, then that is seen as the thing to do. (Here’s an opportunity for our senior Tradies to set some good examples for the apprentices. Promote ‘Snack Time’ instead of ‘Smoko’! The resulting improvement in productivity would be an added benefit.)

Plan ahead

  •  If you require lots of energy on a daily basis for your work, the most important thing you can do to ensure you eat well is to be organized.  Schedule in a weekly shop to stock up on all of the supplies you need. Buy a small esky.
  •  Cook meals with lots of veggies (fresh and frozen) and make extra food for dinner. Take the leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Try to pack your lunch the night before. It doesn’t take that long and you’ll save time the next day.
Pack  Healthy Lunch and keep temptation at bay
Pack Healthy Lunch and keep temptation at bay
  • Having healthy snacks on hand will keep afternoon hunger pangs away and stop you from overeating. Good meal and snack options for active workers include lean meat-based sandwiches, low-fat cheese and crackers, protein shakes and bars, nut-based snack bars, wraps or flavoured milk. Take a couple of pieces of fruit and some thick yoghurt. Canned fruit is quick and easy to grab at the supermarket and is a tasty snack.
  • All of these options combine both carbohydrates and protein that will sustain energy.

Drink Plenty of Water

  • Reaching for a soft drink, sports drink or energy drink to get through the day may seem like an easy option but neither your body nor your teeth require the extra calories from sugars. A single bottle of soft drink contains as much as 60g or 12 teaspoons of sugar. Give these drinks a miss.
  • Always keep your water bottle handy and drink lots, particularly in summer. This keeps you energized and won’t cause the sugar crash you can get from sugary drinks.  Aim for water to be your primary drink of choice and add a little milk or fruit juice if you need something extra throughout the day.

Eat Smart

  • If you know you a have a particularly demanding week ahead of you then consciously increase your portion sizes! If you know you have an easier week ahead of you ease back on the calories and limit any potential weight gain.
Salmon is an excellent Protein choice
Salmon is an excellent Protein choice
  • Opt for Lean Red Meats (Salmon, Mince, Pork, Mackerell) – due to the higher levels of fats these proteins take a lot longer to break down in comparison to lean white meats. This results in a ‘blend’ like effect – a slow digestion protein with a high amino acid profile that will fuel your muscles and encourage growth.
  • Avoid consuming too much saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol which are low in fibre and nutrients. Even reducing these by small amounts can have immediate health benefits. It can help us manage our weight better and in the long run reduce our risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal cancers and chronic kidney disease.

Make healthy nutrient dense food choices and you’ll have more energy, be sharper on the job, your partners will thank you and you’ll be able to put in a better session on the footy field with your kids or team mates.

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