Being a contractor, you have a unique problem on your hands. While most of America is struggling with weight gains that come from sedentary lifestyles, you may be finding it hard to get the calories you need every day while on the job site. And perhaps you got into the trades partly because you knew it would be a good way to keep fit while you earn your living. But there is a fine line between keeping fit and wrecking your body.
It is no secret that the trades are demanding. It is estimated that remodeling contractors burn 410 calories per hour, masonry contractors burn 548 calories per hour and if you are just using heavy hand tools throughout the day, you are burning 637 calories per hour. To put those figures into perspective, consider the fact that the average office worker burns only 68 calories per hour in the course of their work. And in case you were wondering, it is recommended that most healthy men intake 2,000-3,000 calories per day and healthy women should intake 1,600 2,400 calories per day.
So as you can see from the figures, as an average contractor you are probably burning off way more calories than normal. Now most people would just figure to eat more food to correct this imbalance. And while principally that assertion isn’t wrong; it can be detrimental to your health.
Just because you are making up the calories that you are burning on the job site doesn’t mean you are doing your job any favors. That’s because you can be getting enough calories from your food but certain foods have too many saturated fats, carbs and sodium. And too much of these can spell disaster. In fact, too much sodium alone can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
So you have to be careful about what you put into your body. You can’t just intake calories willy-nilly and think you will be fine. And as a contractor of any kind, you should know that there are certain foods that will help you perform better.
It’s challenging learning what those foods are. And the harder part is working them into your busy schedule. So in the following post, Contractors Society of America wants to share some lunch ideas for contractors that will not only help you refuel after excessive calorie burning; but help you regain calories in a healthy way.
1) Protein Shakes
Protein is as important to a construction worker as it is to a body builder. Your body needs ample protein to rebuild muscle tissue that is being broken down when you exert energy on the job. We talked to many of the contractors in our community and so many of the swear by protein shakes. They like them because they are quick, easy and provide enough protein to get them through the day. While they should not be used to replace your entire lunch, they are a great way for busy contractors to get the protein they need; and all you have to do is throw a small carton in your lunch box.
Pasta is another lunch idea that came up a lot when we pooled our own community of contractors. Tradesmen like the fact that you can prepare a bunch of pasta pretty quickly on a weekend and pack it for lunch a couple or every day of the following week. But you can’t just cook any pasta. The most important thing to remember when preparing pasta for lunch is that you choose a whole-grain pasta. Whole-grain pasta is lower in calories but higher in beneficial minerals and fibers to help keep your digestive system healthy. Plus, you can easily make up the calories by adding some sausage, mushrooms and bell peppers to your pasta.
Chili is another favorite because it’s simple to eat on the job site. Chili with navy bean, kidney beans or adzuki beans is preferable because these beans are high in protein. In fact, adzuki beans can pack up to 37 grams of protein in a single cup! Be sure to add some ground beef, onions or any other protein/vegetable combo you prefer.
4) Combo Snacks
What is a good lunch for a construction worker? That question has a lot of answers because everyone is different. But basically, you are going to want anything with a lot of protein, a decent amount of calories, and minimal sodium. To that end, a healthy conglomeration of snacks isn’t a bad idea. Consider throwing some trail mix, a banana, maybe a couple of protein bars and a small sandwich (with whole wheat bread) into your lunch box for a healthy hodgepodge lunch.
Other Lunch Tips for Contractors
Fast food is a mainstay at on the job site. Why? Because contractors are very busy people and sometimes you just need something that will fill you up fast. But as much as possible, avoid fast food for lunch when you are on the job. Here are some of the tips that our contractors live by:
- Meal Prep – This is a huge one that not only saves a lot of time; but a lot of money too. Prepare one or two big meals on Sunday before the work week that you can easily store in the fridge and bring with you to work throughout the week. Pasta, chili and even pizza (opt for thin crust or whole-grain dough) are great meal prep ideas because they will keep all week and easy to pack.
- Stock up on Healthy Snacks – Make a Costco run and get protein shakes, protein bars, nuts, yogurt, vegetable platters, or any other healthy snack you prefer.
- Carefully Review Menus – If you receive a restaurant gift card as a gift or someone takes you out to eat, make sure to identify nutritious menu items.
- Take a Lunch – This may seem simple and overdue but it can’t be overstated. Taking a lunch you prepared at home will almost always be healthier than eating out.
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