Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes for Travel Nurses

You’ve hopped on a plane and landed in a brand-new city. Your travel nursing assignment officially begins in two days. You’ve prepared by packing the essentials (bringing your own pillow and bedding is a must) and you even made sure to forward your mail to your new temporary address. What’s next on the list? With all the hustle and bustle of packing, traveling, and settling into a new spot, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. 

Nourishing your body with quality foods is one way to keep it running optimally. And though you might be limited on cookware or other kitchen essentials (especially if you’re in a hotel), we’ve got several simple recipes to satisfy your grumbling tummy.  
If you do opt to stay in a hotel, we recommend bringing along an air fryer or perhaps a slow cooker to easily prepare a hot meal. But if you’re in a pinch, even a microwave can be used for some of these options! 

Let’s start with the most important meal of the day: breakfast.  
Loaded Oatmeal 
Oatmeal is a heart-healthy breakfast option that can easily be made in a microwave, if using an individual packet, or on a stovetop. However, you choose to cook the oats is up to you. Once cooked, you can make an Instagram-worthy, aesthetically pleasing power bowl by adding the following four mix-ins to your base: 

  • ¼ cup fruit of your choice: blueberries, strawberries, or sliced bananas
  • 1 TBSP nut butter
  • 1 tsp honey, agave, or brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds or pumpkin seeds

If you’re looking to omit the sugar, consider replacing it with a scoop of quality protein powder instead! Vanilla is a great choice since it’s typically not overpowering. One scoop of protein powder can pack anywhere from 12-20g of protein and will help to keep you fuller longer. 

Not a fan of sweet breakfasts? Check out this lighter version of a savory breakfast burrito. 
Air Fryer Chicken Caesar Salad 
Made with only five ingredients, this crispy chicken salad is a great lunch option. 
What you’ll need: 

  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded for more even cooking)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Dressing of your choice (opt for light Caesar if possible)

First, pre-heat your air fryer to 400 degrees. After pounding your chicken breasts, pat them dry with a paper towel and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a bowl, marinate chicken in buttermilk for at least 15 minutes.  
In another shallow bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and shaved parmesan cheese. 
Dredge chicken breasts in the panko/cheese mixture and press gently to adhere on both sides.  

Place chicken in the air fryer and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  

Remove chicken from the air fryer, slice it into 1-inch pieces and serve on a bed of fresh Romaine lettuce. Drizzle Caesar dressing and enjoy! 
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken 
Set it and forget it with this easy pulled chicken recipe. The final product is a great filling for sandwiches, sliders, or wraps. This fat-free recipe keeps well in the fridge for up to three days. 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs if you prefer)
  • 12 oz. lower sugar BBQ sauce 
  • 1 tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar (omit if you prefer your chicken to be less sweet)
  • Whole wheat buns or wraps for serving 

Place chicken in your slow cooker. Then add the next four ingredients on top of the chicken. Using tongs, move the chicken inside the slow cooker to fully coat in the sauce and seasoning mixture. Cook on low for 4 hours, or until the center of each breast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Once finished, use a pair of clean tongs and transfer the chicken to a large bowl or baking dish. Let cool for 15 minutes, then use two forks to shred the chicken. Serve on buns/wraps and add extra BBQ sauce, if desired.  
Light Fried Rice (Vegetarian) 
This can be used as a side dish or a main meal. And the best part? It’s vegetarian! To make it completely vegan, omit the egg and opt for a plant-based substitute, like Just Egg 
What you’ll need: 

  • 3 cups cooked jasmine rice, cooled (time saver: use 90-second microwavable rice)
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1-2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos if you prefer) 

Put both eggs into a bowl and give them a 20-second quick whisk. Coat a small frying pan with non-stick spray and scramble your eggs. Once the eggs are done, set them aside, off the burner.  

Heat oil in a large pan for 2-3 minutes. Add frozen veggies and stir until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add in cooled, cooked rice and scrambled eggs, and stir to combine. Add in soy sauce to taste and stir to incorporate.  




Homemade Dole Whip 
Have you ever had the classic Dole Whip treat at Disneyland? It’s essentially a pineapple-flavored soft serve, which is known for its creamy texture. You can make a 5-minute version of it at home for half the price and half the calories! This makes for a refreshing palate cleanser at the end of a long workday. 
Ingredients needed: 


  • 4 oz. pineapple juice 
  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream  
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks 
  • Splash of fresh lemon or lime juice 
  • Pinch of fine pink Himalayan sea salt (optional but recommended)   

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend on medium-high for at least 60 seconds. Once the mixture appears thick and creamy, transfer it to a bowl or container, cover, and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Scoop and serve! 


Eating well doesn’t have to be overly complex. As a nurse, eating well and taking care of your body will certainly determine how well you can care for others. To learn more about how to maintain overall wellness while on assignment, check out our article that focuses on the importance of eating well, water intake, vitamins, and movement. 
We love hearing from our travel nurses and travel CNAs. What recipes do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below. 

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