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Tradesman On the go Eat right

Posted by: Julie Meek
Tags: nutrition ,

Jobs in the construction industry often involve long hours, persistent physical and mental stress, and frequent road travel which can make regular exercise and getting good food quite tricky.

I know all too well the challenges that those in the construction industry face when it comes to managing their health and wellbeing. My dad was lucky to have my mum who got up at the crack of dawn to prepare an esky full of healthy food to sustain him through long days.

Fast forward to the modern era and there are not many people who have someone at home willing to provide this kind of assistance on a daily basis.

In 2010, PriceWaterhouseCoopers undertook an analysis of the Australian workforce using results from the 2007/2008 National Health Survey and combined this with industry data sourced from occupational health and safety bodies across Australia.

This analysis revealed some alarming health issues evident in the construction industry.

Of those surveyed, 64% of construction workers were considered to be overweight or obese compared to the national average of 59%.

In addition, 40% of those in the same industry consumed risky amounts of alcohol which is significantly higher than the national average of 24%. Inadequate fruit and vegetable intake and lack of physical activity were also tagged as concerns.

Are you at risk?

Whilst I won't try to address all of the lifestyle issues affecting the construction sector here - I will save that for future articles - it is certain that unhealthy food plays a large role in defining the health of construction workers. Here's why keeping healthy in the construction game is tough:

  • Availability - It can sometimes be difficult to access healthy, tasty food 
  • Cost - The often inflated cost of healthy food at roadhouses, lunch bars and cafes, especially in remote areas can be a turn off
  • Time - A lack of opportunity to stop and eat regularly
  • Capacity - A lack of capacity to store food safely, particularly in hot weather
  • Convenience - Prepackaged food often lends itself to 'eating on the go'

No excuses. With your future at stake, the time for change is now. 

One of the essential tools required to get your health back on track is ORGANISATION. Packing your own healthy snacks and meals is the best way to manage energy levels during long days and save money at the same time. 

So get it together:

If you do find yourself on the road without a healthy packed lunch be sure to give these a miss:

  • Deep-fried and battered items such as crumbed sausages, schnitzel, chips, fried chicken or fish, or dim sims 
  • Pastry products such as pies, pasties, sausage rolls and quiche 
  • Gigantic muffins and cookies

Instead, check out these options:

  • Sandwiches or rolls with lean cold meat, cheese or egg and salad
  • Pasta, rice or noodle dishes with a tomato base sauce or stir-fry meat and vegetables
  • Salad dishes with meat, chicken or fish that haven’t been drowned in dressing 
  • Chicken or meat skewers (try for a side of vegetables or salad if available 
  • Sushi (without the crumbed or battered fillings)
  • Soup and bread/roll
  • Reduced-fat flavoured milk and a piece of fruit or tub of fruit in juice

Drinks?? That's a topic for another day.

Pack healthy,

Julie :)

About Julie Meek

Accredited practising dietitian, performance specialist, speaker

View all posts by Julie Meek

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