How to satisfy the nutritional needs of construction site workers

Construction site workers are a hard-working bunch with considerable physical demands placed on their bodies throughout the day. Their daytime meals are more often away from home, so it is vital that the right sorts of foods are accessible on site.

Meals need to be convenient, enticing, they need to meet varied tastes and requirements, and to provide lots of energy, released in a way that will provide sustained strength and vigour. To use an analogy: you wouldn’t expect a car or piece of machinery to function correctly without fuel of the right type and appropriate quality. The same applies to the body: to work at top efficiency, it needs the right fuel.

Key in this, is energy, which comes from protein, carbohydrates and fat.

There are lots of sources of protein; not all of them as good for you as others. Processed meats, sausages, salamis and such are high in sodium and nitrates and are best avoided where possible. Cooked but unprocessed alternatives, such as chicken, roast beef, fish, eggs and soya are good options. These should be supplemented with foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as grains, seeds, cereals, rice, vegetables, fruit and nuts, as well as salad items. Many of these foods contain a proportion of fat or oil. This combination should ensure a sustained release of energy.

Of course, bowls of fruit and seeds may not be the most practical of options on site, and prepared version of these foods in pocket-sized packs or wholegrain cereal snack bars may make a useful alternative.

Energy levels will need topping-up throughout the day, so handy snack foods are a good idea. Nuts are convenient to keep close to hand and are an excellent source of protein. Apple, raw carrots and dried fruits provide a refreshing, energy-sustaining snack.

Finally, don’t forget fluids. It is vital to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, but remember, when you sweat, you lose valuable minerals too. Drinks fortified with electrolytes help replace lost minerals, such as sodium and potassium. Even good old tea and coffee add to your hydration and are fine if not drunk to excess and as long as caffeine levels don’t become a problem.