Eating Healthy as a Travel Nurse: 5 Tips for a Balanced Diet
While being a travel nurse offers you the opportunity to explore new places while you make a difference in patients’ lives throughout the country, the constant moving from one assignment to another can pose challenges when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Fast food joints, long shifts, and limited access to a kitchen can be hurdles to prioritizing your nutrition, but we’ve got you covered!
This blog has five essential tips for eating healthy as a travel nurse, along with a simple and nutritious snack recipe that you can prep and bring with you for any shift.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the keys to maintaining a healthy diet as a travel nurse is planning. Before you embark on a new assignment, research the local grocery stores and markets near your housing. Stock up on essential items like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Having healthy ingredients readily available will make it easier to whip up nutritious meals.
Another great way to plan is to research local farmer’s markets in your assignment area. Farmer’s markets typically travel to a variety of locations throughout the week so find a location near you and if you are off work on that day, be sure to make it a part of your routine. You’ll have the freshest food and the chance to enjoy some local products.
2. Meal Prep
As a travel nurse your time might feel limited but prioritizing meal prepping will be a game-changer. Dedicate a day off to prepare several meals that you can refrigerate or freeze for the week ahead. The best way to do this is to choose simple, balanced recipes that are easy to reheat, such as grilled chicken with quinoa and roasted vegetables.
This will save you time and money while ensuring you have nutritious options readily available. Depending on the meal you are making, you could even purchase the products in bulk to eliminate a grocery store trip for the following week.
3. Portion Control
We know your mind is focused on your patients. You are working hard and making a difference in your patients’ lives – we want to eliminate anything that will make your job harder than it already is.
Thinking about portion control while you are meal prepping will eliminate having to think about what you need during your shift. Pack your smaller portions and aim to fill half your meal with vegetables, one-quarter with lean protein, and one-quarter with whole grains. Be sure to grab a couple of snacks and you are ready to go. This approach ensures a balanced meal that provides sustained energy throughout your shift.
4. Healthy Snacking
Snacking is inevitable during long shifts, but it doesn’t have to sabotage your diet. Instead of reaching for chips or candy, pack healthy snacks like cut-up veggies, yogurt, nuts, or whole-grain crackers. These options will keep your energy levels stable and prevent the dreaded energy crash that often follows sugary snacks.
5. Stay Hydrated
Don’t forget about hydration! It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of a busy shift and forget to drink water. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and make a conscious effort to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and increased cravings for unhealthy foods, so it’s crucial to prioritize your water intake.
Nurses across the country are loving Stanley Cups – a brand that makes water bottles easy to carry around the hospital.
Easy Snack Recipe: Greek Yogurt Parfait
Here’s a simple and delicious snack recipe – you could even make this in a hotel room so it is easy no matter what your housing accommodations.
Ingredients you need:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup granola (maybe find a local granola from a farmer’s market!)
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – also great from a farmer’s market)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- In a bowl or container, layer the Greek yogurt at the bottom.
- Add a layer of granola on top of the yogurt.
- Next, add a layer of mixed berries.
- Repeat the layers until you use up all your ingredients.
- Drizzle honey on top for extra sweetness if desired.
- Grab a spoon and enjoy your healthy and satisfying snack!
Travel with Gifted
Maintaining a healthy diet as a travel nurse is absolutely achievable with a little planning and prep. By following these five tips, you can prioritize your health and well-being even while on the move.
Your Gifted Team is here every step of the way on your travel nurse journey. You can even refer an RN friend that you think would love an assignment with Gifted and you will both earn $500! Start your referral today.