RVing during your travel nurse assignments is a great way to save money and still have your own space while traveling. However, cramped quarters and a serious lack of pantry space can send you to the drive-thru for dinner night after night and leave you feeling exhausted and crappy heading into another long shift.
When you’re on your feet for 12 + hours running from one room to the next, it’s important to fuel your body with something nutritious (i.e., something more than the cookies your former patients brought in last night) and incorporate a few habits to maintain your sanity.
So, if you’re chilling in an RV this summer, here are a few tips that will help you enjoy the camping life while nourishing your body.
Tips for Healthy Summer RVing for Travel Nurses
1. Keep shelf-stable snacks on hand –
Fruit and nut trail mix, protein bars, and beef jerky are favorites for trail hikers for a reason. No refrigeration! Keep these in your car, camper, or locker at work for a quick bite between the endless charting.
- RD tip #1: For protein bars, try to choose products with a 1:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio. This will keep you satisfied longer since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.
- RD tip #2: Most trail mix options have a ton of sugar in them with all the dried fruits and chocolate. One trick is to buy a fruit and nut trail mix bag and add in a bag of raw or roasted mixed nuts. This will give you a better nut to fruit ratio and keep you full longer.
2. Go ahead and splurge for the cut veggies –
Just grab a tray of pre-cut carrots, celery, peppers, etc., at the grocery store and throw it all in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag to keep in your college-sized fridge or cooler. Yes, you’ll be spending a little more money upfront, but you’ll be more likely to actually eat the veggies instead of throwing away yet another head of broccoli.
The same goes for the spiralized veggies. Chances are you probably don’t have space in your travel trailer to take your fancy spiralizer, so grab the pre-spiralized ones and throw them in place of the pasta or rice in your favorite dishes.
3. Cold salads on a hot day –
Making large batches of chicken or tuna salad could be a great option for the days where even turning on the microwave makes you sweat. And don’t worry if you don’t have an oven to cook the chicken in. Just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and save yourself some time. If you make a larger batch, you’ll have lunches set for the whole week. Check out my favorite tuna salad recipe below!
- RD tip: Instead of crackers, try using celery or sliced cucumbers to scoop your bites. It’ll give you the crunch you’re looking for with a boost of fiber and vitamins/minerals.
4. Get out and walk –
Yes, healthy foods are an important piece of the puzzle, but we can’t ignore the power of movement. On those really long workdays, exercise might be the last thing on your mind, but research shows that walking helps reduce stress, boost “happy” neurotransmitters, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Think about what time of the day would be best for you to get out in nature for a stroll. Figure out if you’re a “before shift” or “after shift” exerciser and make it happen. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, it’s better than nothing!
5. Make a comfy bed –
Ever feel like you’re starving the day after a sleepless night? It’s not just in your head! Lack of sleep can cause a spike in your insulin levels the next day, which drives up hunger and cravings for high sugar foods.
While you sleep, your body processes and eliminates toxins from the body, adequate rest also gives the digestive tract and hormonal system (in particular, your insulin levels) a break and a chance to reset throughout the night.
Try to aim for at least 7-8 hours of consecutive sleep a night so that you can run the show at the hospital without falling asleep at the nurses’ station.
We hope these tips for healthy summer RVing for travel nurses are helpful. If you are an RVing travel nurse and have other tips for RVing travel nurses, please comment on them below!
Happy camping, everyone!!
Avocado & Tomato Tuna Salad
Makes 4 servings
2 cans (5 oz each) water-packed tuna
2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
½-1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the above ingredients.
- Stir until well combined.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you’re making a large batch, hold the avocado until you’re ready to eat it so that it stays fresh!