Eating Well As a Travel Nurse: Easy Healthy Swaps for Everyday Ingredients

May 21 / Posted by Christi Hintz

Making healthy, nutrient dense meals can take a lot of planning and effort. And when you’re on the road, it seems to be one of the first things that goes out the window. But you should still take care of yourself even when you’re away from home- and these quick recipe swaps make it easy.


Swap: Quinoa Instead of Rice


If you’re looking for a nutrient dense addition to your favorite recipes, you can’t do much better than quinoa. This incredible grain is popular for a reason: it’s high in protein and contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even some omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa is an easy swap for rice and is prepared in much the same way. You can use it to make everything from fried “rice” to stuffed bell peppers, or serve it as a side with any of your favorite dishes.


Quick Tip: If the quinoa you purchase doesn’t state that it’s pre-washed, you’ll want to wash it thoroughly in a sieve in order to remove the bitter seed coat.


Swap: Plain Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream


Want something delicious and creamy to go with your tacos? Yogurt may seem like an odd choice at first, but plain greek yogurt has similar taste and texture to the tasty condiment with less fat and more protein. You can make the swap in tasty dips as well, making those party foods a little more diet friendly and much more filling. You’ll want to avoid this swap in heated dishes like sauces though, as yogurt tends to separate when it is heated quickly.


Swap: Avocado Instead of Butter


Avocados can replace butter for more than just toast. Use half as much avocado as a substitute for butter in your baked dishes to add nutrients like vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids and cut fat. You might even find that the you prefer the moist texture it imparts to cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.


Swap: Veggies Instead of Pasta


If you’re having a hard time giving up pasta, you might consider swapping this pantry staple for spiralized vegetables or baked spaghetti squash. Many people struggle with getting veggies into their diet, and sneaking them into your favorite dishes can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the veggie variety that will keep you healthy. You can find spiralizers from many stores like Target, Walmart, or Amazon; they even have smaller options that are easy to bring along when you travel. You can spiralize all sorts of veggies, but zucchini tends to be a favorite.


Swap: Sweet Potatoes Instead of Russet


Tasty, hearty potatoes make a great side for many dishes, but they don’t have a lot to offer in terms of nutrients. Swap your favorite baked potato for the much healthier sweet potato, and you might be surprised how much you end up liking it. Baked sweet potatoes are, as their name suggests, a bit sweet, and the sweetness is actually a great compliment for savory toppings and seasonings. You can also turn sweet potatoes into baked sweet potato fries, roast them alongside other vegetables, or cook them into a tasty breakfast hash.


What are your favorite good-for-you ingredients to incorporate into your weeknight meals? Share your own ideas in the comments below.

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