National Tradies Health Month: Tips for staying healthy this winter

Gareth Vanderhope holds a Bachelor Degree in Naturopathy and a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, Majoring in Public Health Nutrition. He has worked in a range of areas including Indigenous health, integrative medical practice, community health, drug rehabilitation and health promotion. Over the past five years, he’s been working with final year Naturopathic and Nutrition students as a clinical supervisor and as a face-to-face and online lecturer.

“I believe the field of health is a dynamic world where science, art and philosophy come together to form a whole. As such, my artistic pursuits have included film sound design, and I am about to publish a children’s adventure novel for kids aged 8-12. In the book, I explore through comedy, mystery and madness, how the environment and community shape the lives of children. To find out more about my upcoming novel.”

– Gareth Vanderhope

August is National Tradies month which aims to raise awareness of the risks posed to those who work in trade occupations. Aussie tradies make up 30% of the Australian workforce, yet they account for a staggering 58% of serious claims for worker’s compensation. Help spread the word and keep Aussie tradies healthy! Check out these nutritional tips written by Gareth to keep our tradies healthy from the inside out.


Good health is your most valuable tool and with a few simple dietary changes you can boost your energy, concentration and mood and set yourself up for a healthy future. Check Gareth’s tips on how:

You know better than most, that if the wrong fuel is used, your equipment will run rough. Your body is no different. If you eat the right foods, you will have more sustained energy and recover faster from a hard day’s work.

What’s the right fuel mix?

Meals should provide a balance of healthy proteins, fats and carbs and a good dose of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Let’s start with carbs – your main fuel source

Your day-to-day energy comes mainly from carbohydrates. Unhealthy types include chips, doughnuts, sticky buns and all that bakery stuff. These are quick-burn fuels, otherwise known as high GI. Sure, they can satisfy you for a short while, but the energy is short-lived, leaving you feeling tired. They also lack essential vitamins and minerals — the little sparks that enable energy production.

Slow-burn carbs – also known as low GI – are a better choice. Just like a log fire burns slow and hot, these carbs provide sustained energy between meals. Unrefined carbs, such as brown rice versus white rice provide extra benefit by providing fibre, vitamins and minerals. Switching to healthier carbs as a fuel can be as easy as eating brown basmati rice instead of white jasmine rice and rolled oats instead of white toast.


Along with healthy carbs, protein provides raw materials needed for a happy mood and recovery after a hard day’s work. But too much of a good thing can backfire. Consider that eating more than 100 grams of red meat per day, is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer and heart disease. Processed meats like ham and salami are high in salt, which can raise blood pressure. By choosing small amounts of lean meats and increasing vegetable protein sources such as legumes and nuts, you are on track for better health.


You’ve heard the terms ‘good fats’ and ‘bad fats’. If you’ve ever put too much oil in a 2-stroke fuel mix, you’ll know that it’s hard to start the engine, and if it does, you’ll be blowing smoke! So too, if you eat too many bad fats, you can clog your arteries, which may lead to a heart attack. Bad fats come from pies, sausage rolls, pastries, hamburgers, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products. Good fats are found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and olive oil. Many studies have shown that by swapping foods high in bad fats for foods high in good fats, the risk of heart disease reduces. Foods high in healthy fats are also excellent sources of nutrients like vitamin E.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables provide fibre and essential nutrients like vitamin C, folate, magnesium and potassium. Many of the bright colours in fruit and vegetables function as antioxidants in our body. You can think of them like fuel additives that keep the engine clean and running smoothly. Most Australians don’t eat the recommended five servings of vegetables or two servings of fruit per day. Snacking on veggie sticks and fresh fruit and having salads with main meals is an easy way to increase your intake.

Healthy Plate

 In addition to eating two portions of fruit per day, consider creating main meals that roughly fit the plate diagram below. Breakfast could be porridge with nuts, low-fat yoghurt and blueberries. Lunch – quinoa salad with chickpeas, cranberries, veggies and walnuts. Dinner – steamed salmon with brown basmati rice and a salad with an olive oil dressing.

Learn more about Gareth on his website Gareth Vanderhope.