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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: HmtmC on August 06, 2013, 07:36:02 AM

Title: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: HmtmC on August 06, 2013, 07:36:02 AM
Hello large and wise Mustachian Crowd,

I have a simple question for you guys. I need to travel a lot for business and stay in hotels for 3 nights a week. Breakfast is often complementary to the room and lunch is basically covered at work.

This question is regarding to dinner options. Eating out in restaurants is not only expensive, but also not always the healthiest option (especially if you consider fast food restaurants).

So my question is: Do you have any tips for me on what healthy meals one can make for dinner in a hotel room?

I have some free space in my suitcase - but not enough to bring a mini version of my fridge. Also, I usually need to fly to my destinations which means that all liquids and liquid-like food are not possible for me to bring. (I usually only have hand luggage). Also frozen food is not an option. I usually have a fridge and a water boiler/coffee maker in my room, but NO cooking plates and microwave. What makes it even a little more complicated is that I'm not always able to buy stuff at a grocery store near the hotel...

First option that I came up with so far is pre-packaging oat-meal in portion sizes and flavor it with cinnamon. I can add hot water to it in the room and also maybe add some fruits if I happen to have some left from lunch/breakfast. Bringing nuts would also be an option - but doesn't really make up for a whole meal by themselves.

Anyone any more ideas?!

Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: Russ on August 06, 2013, 07:39:41 AM!-living-out-of-a-hotel-on-per-diem (!-living-out-of-a-hotel-on-per-diem) (
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: rollie on August 06, 2013, 09:42:10 AM
Wow just read through the links Russ left, and I never knew about electric skillets! Cheap-- and awesome to have in case of lots of hotel travel.
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: swick on August 06, 2013, 10:36:37 AM
I have been making flavored oatmeal packs lately, this site has a lot of good ideas and a really tasty basic recipe: (

Or some of these ideas might work: ( ( (
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: NinetyFour on August 06, 2013, 10:46:28 AM
Any freeze-dried meals would just need hot water, no?  You could find them at an outdoors store (for campers), or probably cheaper online.
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: annod on August 06, 2013, 10:51:40 AM
If it is doable at all, you can rent an studio apartment via airbnb instead of hotel. Cost is usually the same or cheaper, it is so much healthier.

If you stay at a hotel with microwave and fridge access, that also increase options. You can also pick up some ready-made meals from whole foods or local health food store. That is cheaper than restaurants and at least you can read the ingredients.
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: rocklebock on August 07, 2013, 08:22:40 PM
Thanks for all this - I'll be at a conference for five days next week. Trying to scare up breakfast first thing every morning is the part I dread  -  standing in line with dozens of other conference-goers for overpriced coffees and pastries. I think some instant oatmeal and a banana in the comfort of my own room will do nicely.
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: annod on August 07, 2013, 10:54:59 PM
if you don't have refrigerator space...

for protein: salami, jerky, canned fish (I prefer canned sardine, and salmon, they are less dry than canned tuna straight up)

whole food snacks that doesn't need to be refrigerated: nuts+ seeds, avocado, tomatoes, fruits, nut butter

other: tetra-pak milk/ chicken broth/ other beverages. single pack miso soup paste (just add hot water, you can take some dried seaweed/ mushrooms with you too)

Usually on the first day I arrive, I go to the grocery store.

The posted links are great, I am learning a lot of tricks here...

Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: Christof on August 08, 2013, 12:22:37 AM
Do you have any influence in the selection of the hotel? If so, check for grocery stores in the neighborhood on Google Maps before you book a hotel. Even a ready-made sandwich from a grocery store is a better option than overpriced Starbucks food or hotel restaurants.

Conferences are often in expensive downtown locations with no grocery shop close by. While it's admittedly more comfortable to stay in the conference hotel, you have the choice to stay in a different hotel. The best hotels are those that are a bit away but on the same public transport line as the hotel. Many downtown hotels have a bus stop or a train station near by.

Conferences often have an area to store bags on the last day of the conference since even people at the conference location check out in the morning and leave at noon or in the evening. That would be where you bring you bags on the last day if you stay at a different place.

If your room has a minibar that is not of the auto-billing kind (you lift a bottle and it's charged to your room) then you could simply take the content out of the minibar and place it visibly right next to it (so that they can't charge you for consuming) and place your food into the minibar fridge. Some hotels even get you an empty fridge for free if you ask them.

I've been at a few hotels where they had free bikes. That could be another option to get to a grocery store. You have to ask the concierge or receptionist.
Title: Re: Make healthy dinner in hotel room?
Post by: galaxie on August 08, 2013, 06:37:59 AM
I often go to the grocery store and get a stockpile of the deli salads, plus some fruits and other snacks.  Cheaper than eating out, and healthier.  It's not really cooking, but that's my strategy....