This may not pertain to all of you. Or even be a huge deal more than once or twice a year. But, it's still something that I get asked on a weekly basis so I figured I'd share some of my tactics. And what do you know, I'm currently living in an hotel for the next 4ish weeks. Funny how that works.
Your best bet to staying sane while trying to eat healthy and mostly cheap while in a hotel is by staying boring and basic.
Yeah, we all want ribeyes with grilled asparagus all of the time. But some of us don't want to lug around a grill wherever we drive, and others don't feel like going to the local park in 10-20 degree weather just to grill a steak.
Here you have three options...
Sure, you can carry around your own set of utensils. That just becomes a pain in the ass after while though if you ask me.
If you're a regular camper/hiker you might have a spork laying around already, so why not take it with you? It's small, durable, and purposefully built to go a while without a thorough cleaning.
Next is chopsticks. If you don't know how to you them...learn. Check out this video here. I grabbed about 14 sets while picking up dinner last and plan on using one per day.
If the grocery store near you doesn't have them (usually near the deli or the oriental food section) you can always order Chinese food and ask for a shit ton of chopsticks.
You can't always buy the foods you want in single serve containers. Try as I might, I've never been able to really lock this one down without specifically buying those little packs of tupperware.
Or, if you don't want to buy just tupperware, you can pick up a few things of deli meat from Hillshire Farms or some other brand.
We already talked about them with regards to using the containers for food storage. Well, that means you need to eat the meat that's in there first.
Yeah, these deli meats aren't the best option for protein. But when all you have is a microwave and a coffee maker in your room it's pretty much all you're left with.
Spring Mix/Spinach/Other Leafy Vegetables
Most hotels come with a mini-fridge these days, so you're able to buy and store these without much of problem. If for some reason the hotel your staying at doesn't have a mini fridge in your room, and you're staying there for a while...switch to a non-shitty hotel.
But if that is 100% not an option, you can still buy these in small enough bags that you can easily eat them before they go bad. It'll just be more of a pain in the ass going to the store every other day.
Broccoli and Lemon
This is a go to meal that I'll make all of the time at home. Simply steam the broccoli in the bag, squeeze half of a lemon in to the bag and shake the hell out of it.
Other Pre-Made Meals
Most grocery stores will have some of the following in their deli or in their freezer section...
- Rotisserie Chicken
- Pulled Pork
- Pulled Chicken
- Fajita Mix
- Sesame Chicken
- Orange Chicken
And those are just the common ones. A lot of the time you can find other stuff if you really want to.
If you have the money, or if your employer is paying you some fat per diem, you also have the option to say "fuck this shit" and just order in/eat out for your meals.
Here, the issue becomes portion control (if you're in the under eating phase) and healthy choices. In the both The Four Hour Body and The Four Hour Chef Tim Ferriss points out that most Mexican and Thai places are the best choices of cuisine to get meals high in protein and vegetables.
The Take Home
When you're on the road, or even just away from your own kitchen, it's a pain in the ass to come up with a whole new menu, using all new cooking methods, and with uncertain ways to store the extra.
Stick to the basics. This will save you the headache of trying to prepare a 9-course meal with a microwave, chopsticks, and a coffeemaker.
Relax a little. You're not going to always be able to find a way to have grass fed steak chopped up into your morning omelet. Use what you have around you and don't freak out over not being perfect for the entire time.
Make the right choices. Just because it's a pain to order Thai food doesn't mean you should just hit the Burger King right next door. Don't be a lazy idiot and throw away your discipline just because you're traveling.