Healthy lunch tips for tradies

10 August 2016 | Jacqui Jones

Tradies Healthy lunch box

Tradies, when it comes to diet, we know you’ve got a bad rap: a bunch of pie munching, coke swilling, take away lovers, or so the stereotype goes. But we know there’s plenty of health-aware tradespeople out there who are fuelling their bodies with good grub (there’s even a healthy tradie movement).

As Tradies’ National Health Month (August) aims to raise awareness of the health and safety risks posed to those who work in trade occupations – from muscular stress to falls, slips and trips – it’s also a great opportunity to look at what goes in to the body on the job.

A physically demanding job requires nutrient-dense food, and the good stuff sure goes a lot further than junk. And there are long-term health benefits too: from maintaining a healthy weight to reducing the risk of cancer.

Not only that, a homemade lunch saves time and money. So, if you need a nudge in the right direction, ditch the fast food, grab an esky and get packing!

Top tips to help make healthier lunches:

  • Make extra at dinner and use leftovers for lunch.

  • Pack lunch the night before.

  • Add fruit and veg to sandwiches, salads and snacks.

Here are some simple ideas for swapping to healthier options:



Meat pie or pasty A wholegrain bread roll with roast beef or last night’s leftover cottage pie or spaghetti bolognaise. Add lettuce, tomato and cucumber for a veg boost.
Hamburger Lebanese bread, pita pocket or wrap with falafel or lean meat (beef, lamb, chicken or pork dinner leftovers are ideal), with hummus and tabbouleh.
Hot chips

Homemade potato salad (mix boiled and cooled potatoes, corn kernels, chopped apple and celery, a hard-boiled egg and some low-fat mayo or natural yoghurt, with optional seeded mustard for extra zing).
Pasta, rice or noodle leftovers or salads are great too.

Pizza Homemade pizza muffin. Top sliced English muffin with diced veg (e.g. mushrooms, capsicum), sprinkle with reduced-fat cheese and grill to melt. Eat cold the next day.
Fish and chips

Canned tuna or salmon on a sandwich with canned sweet corn.
Or a salad topped with canned fish and a hard-boiled egg.


A piece of fruit: bananas, apple, mandarin.
Or canned: two fruits, fruit salad, peaches.
Or veg sticks with hummus dip.

Cake Homemade fruit or veggie-filled muffin
Biscuits Avocado and reduced-fat cheese on crispbread, Cruskits or corn thins.
Ice cream Natural yoghurt. Add fruit for extra flavour.
Can of soft drink Water – it will keep you hydrated through the day!
Milkshake A low-fat milk popper


Find more ideas and recipes for lunchtime and smoko snacks.

Find out more about how a healthy diet can help you avoid cancer.

Download our Health Workplace guide.