Healthy Eating on Assignment

It’s tough being a travel nurse and trying to eat healthy.  You work long shifts and at times you don’t even get a chance to take a full meal break.  When you are on the road eating out gets old and expensive.  As nurses we tend to eat on the run and barely have enough time to scarf some crackers between call bells.  When I worked as an OR nurse peanut butter and crackers became a staple.  Eating while standing in the break room was the norm.  Cooking a complex and healthy meal to bring to work is usually out of the question.

I have discovered a way to prepare a healthy meal that can be cooked quickly and ready when you get home.  The new must have item for every kitchen is the Instant Pot.  This great pot can go with you on your next assignment (assuming you are driving).  The pot is versatile and makes it easy to prepare a healthy meal and to be ready when you get home.

IP-cookingThings to consider

  • It’s NOT a one trick pony. Not only does it function as a pressure cooker, it also can also be a slow cooker, yogurt incubator, rice cooker, and steamer. Regrettably, it does not do dishes. But hey, you can’t have it all.
  • It requires less babysitting than a stove-top pressure cooker. I got nothin’ against stove-top pressure cookers, but the Instant Pot sounded better suited to my absent-minded, multi-tasking ways. You pretty much just push a button, and it’s good to go. And once it’s done, it keeps the food warm for you.
  • It seriously cuts down on food prep time.  I am horrible at meal planning. I cannot seem to make it happen. Thankfully the Instant Pot makes last-minute stuff a little more attainable.

But the Instant Pot — a device that combines an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one handy unit — sends even mild-mannered cooks into fits of passion.  I loved my slow cooker and it was always great to come home from work and find dinner ready.  Comming home to the smell of what cooking was a also a pleus. The problem is that you have to remember to start it before you leave for work.

It cooks large hunks of meat superbly and speedily. After a mere 90 minutes, the meat was spoon tender and deeply flavored, even before I covered the soft shreds with spicy barbecue sauce. The same recipe made in a slow cooker took seven hours, and the meat wasn’t quite as uniformly juicy.

There is not much of a learning curve with the pot and there are a multitude of cookbooks with fab food ideas.  Check it out on Amazon and find the one that works for you.

Happy traveling and cooking in your IP!



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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.