It’s National Nutrition Month! We’ve all been there — you’ve just clocked out after a long day of travel nursing. You’re ready to crash on your bed and get some much-needed sleep, but you still need to eat. With zero energy (or desire) to cook, you pick up some fast food on your way home.
Of course, this is fine once in a while. But if you find yourself falling into the same unhealthy eating pattern, it can keep you from feeling your best at work and home. To help, let’s explore practical yet powerful travel nursing tips for National Nutrition Month!
What is National Nutrition Month?
March 2023 marks the 50th year since National Nutrition Month was established by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As winter melts into spring, we can hit ‘refresh’ this March by committing to healthy habits.
Sustainable eating can help us create a healthier environment for ourselves and our planet. Therefore, this year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Fuel for the Future.” Each week during National Nutrition Month has a unique theme.
Explore the themes, find resources, and follow along here!
Travel Nursing Tips: Why Your Nutrition Matters
Let’s face it — as a travel nurse, it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs before yours. But if you want to show up for your patients, you must show up for yourself first. By investing time and planning into your nutrition each week this National Nutrition Month, you can enjoy:
Increased Physical & Mental Energy
We don’t need to review the notes from your nutrition lectures back in the day. You know the impact your diet has on your physical and mental energy. Taking the time to stay active and plan, prep, and prioritize your nutrition can make you feel more energized on and off shifts.
It’s easy to blur the lines between work, rest, and play, especially when you’re passionate about your work. However, planning out your nutrition as a travel nurse can help you enjoy a more balanced lifestyle — yes, that means getting your fruits, veggies, and a scoop of your favorite ice cream after a successful shift.
Habits of Self-Care
Simply taking the time to care for yourself can create a habit of self-care. This is at the heart of all travel nursing tips. Make it a priority and habit to check in with you: What do you need to feel your best physically and mentally?
5 Travel Nursing Tips for Staying Healthy On the Go
So, how can we make it happen? This National Nutrition Month, we’re sharing travel nursing tips to help you feel your best by fueling yourself with healthy habits:
1. Eating at Home > Eating at Restaurants
As a busy travel nurse, it’s easy to get into the routine of eating out for every meal. While balance is key, aim to prepare food at home more than you eat out. Restaurants often serve excessive portions yet still lack essential macro and micronutrients. Eating at home can not only support your health, but it can save your wallet, too!
Take back control over your nutrition by being mindful of how often you go out to eat. When moving to a new area, look up the local restaurants and cafés to spot healthier options.
Pro Travel Nursing Tip: Make sure your stay has a small kitchen and fridge so you can prepare meals at home!
2.Weekly Meal Planning
Jumpstart National Nutrition Month by making it a habit to plan your meals each week. Choose a day and time dedicated to meal planning – this will make grocery shopping a breeze!
Be realistic: It’s difficult to make all three meals at home each day. Incorporate healthy restaurant options into your plan, as well. Overall, aim for a balanced mix of macronutrients:
- Brown rice and quinoa
- Whole grain bread and pasta
- Lean beef, pork, or turkey
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Soy and tofu
- Low-fat cheese
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butter
- Olives and olive oil
3. Weekly Meal Prepping
Of course, your greatest barrier to healthy eating is time. You’re busy! Unfortunately, this means unhealthy food is often a go-to option for travel nurses. Fast food and processed snacks are quick and ready when you are. Flip the script by making healthy eating the convenient option.
Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time can reduce your time spent cooking. Just like meal planning, schedule time each week to prepare meals. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Fully prepare your meals for the next 3-5 days.
- Cook your favorite meals in bulk, saving the leftovers for lunch and dinner.
- Cook your proteins ahead of time. When it’s time to eat, you can cut your cooking time in half.
Invest in individual storage containers, and simply grab the meal when it’s time to go! Think of it as a gift to your future self.
4. Healthy Snacking
Once again, let’s make healthy snacking convenient! One way is to incorporate snacks into your weekly meal planning before your travel nurse assignment. Afterward, bring your meal prep and snacks with you during your nurse shift. Some tasty ideas include:
- Your favorite fruits
- Your favorite vegetables + dip
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole-grain crackers and bread
- Nut butter
- Greek yogurt
- Plain popcorn
- Dark chocolate
Prepare them in your storage containers ahead of time, so they’re easy to grab and go!
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Lastly, one of the most essential travel nursing tips is to stay hydrated. It’s easy to get dehydrated during a busy nurse shift. Take extra care to drink enough when traveling and moving to a new area on assignment.
One way to stay hydrated is to carry a reusable water bottle with you. That way, you’ll always have access to water and can track your intake. Make it fun by setting a goal of how much water you’ll drink each day during your nurse shift!
Discover Travel Nursing with CareerStaff!
To live your best travel nursing life, you must feel your best. Of course, nutrition isn’t the only part of your travel adventure. Plan your next adventure for success by exploring nationwide travel nurse job opportunities and learning more about travel nursing.
At CareerStaff, we’re dedicated to empowering travel nurses with the support, services, and solutions needed to reach their career goals. With over 200 recruitment professionals, we’re ready to connect you to your dream travel nurse career opportunities — all with the pay and benefits you deserve.