How do you eat healthy at home when you don’t have a kitchen to cook in? Just like making a craft meal, the chef in you needs to channel your creative side! Whether you’re living in a hotel due to work, or living in a kitchen-less dorm or studio, you can still cook health-conscious meals at your home (or home away from home). My husband and I have first-hand experience, as we are living in a hotel suite while he plays hockey in Slovakia. Both Makie and I have separately lived in overseas hotels, and if you’re about to experience this for the first time, see how I’m making my stay in an Eastern European hotel feel (and taste) more like home.
10 Appliances/Kitchen Tools
- Magic Bullet* (or generic): smoothies, grind flax (or coffee beans for coffee drinkers)
- Electric Hot Plate (1 or 2 burner): stove-top cooking for meats, vegetables and to toast breads
- Pan: stir-fry, meat
- Pot: cook and heat legumes, grains, sauces and make tea (or in hotel coffee pot), or use as stirring bowl
- Butcher’s Knife: chop veggies and nuts; slice meats and fruits
- Cutting Board
- Scrubber: to clean dishes
- Food Storage Containers: A 3-pack of food containers are enough for us, and we reuse glass bottles for leftovers. A former almond butter jar stores our chia seeds. Empty tomato sauce containers hold leftover sauces from dinner, coconut milk (from can) and pineapples. If it has a tight-fitting lid (ie. supplement bottles, glass jars), we consider it’s second-life potential before recycling it.
- Toaster Oven: We opted against this, because we rarely bake and can get prepared meat at a grocery deli or in the hotel restaurant. For someone who enjoys toast, you can still toast bread on the hot plate. If you’re staying in a hotel or in a studio long-term with no kitchen, you will likely want to invest in a toaster oven.
Cost: We shopped at a discount store for the appliances and kitchen tools on our list, and everything was priced very reasonably. All items ranged from $1-5, with the exception of the blender and hot plate. Our combined total for all items was just over $50, which was well worth being able to cook and eat more like we do at home.
- Tote: I packed a few reusable tote bags in my luggage to use at the grocery store or for storage in the hotel. Rather than wasted space, the totes were used in my luggage as separators.
- Soap: I also packed a small Dr. Bronner liquid castile soap for organic body soap (in place of the hotel soap) and dish soap.
- Hot Pads: You can also use a hotel wash cloth or hand towel in place of a hot pad.
- Baggies: Rather than buying baggies, use storage containers, leftover jars or this nifty trick from Pinterest with your water bottles.
9 Kitchen Staples to Borrow from the Hotel Restaurant:
- Table knife
- Steak Knife (if meat eater)
- Serving Dish or Bowl
- Drinking Glass
- Coffee/Tea Cup
Money-Saving Tips: If you get along with the kitchen staff and they can spare a pot, pan, and butcher’s knife for you to borrow, that’s money saved. Most standard hotels provide a coffee pot, a hairdryer and iron in the room, so you can check to see if you need to pack these items. Also, confirm that there is a mini-fridge.
20 Key Ingredients:
Here are 20 ingredient and food ideas to keep in your hotel for healthy meals and snacks.
- Mini-Fridge: seeds (ie. hemp, chia, pumpkin), sliced fruit and vegetables, yogurt, milk/milk alternative, cheese, supplements requiring refrigeration, leftovers
- Shelf-Stable: fruit with skin intact, nuts, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, onion, garlic, sweet potato, rice/quinoa/grains, jarred sauce (ie. tomato, curry, pesto, salsa), water, supplements (ie. protein and greens powders), mineral salt and spices
5 Meal Ideas:
Despite limited resources, your meal options are endless! Here’s five simple ideas to continue your healthy diet even without a kitchen.
- Yogurt Bowl: You can come up with new combos every day, by combining yogurt, fruit, nuts, seeds (optional: nut butter, sweetener or granola/porridge).
- Vegetable Stir Fry: Cook one veggie at a time (or a few as long as pan is not over-loaded), then temporarily store them in a pot or serving dish while you cook more until the meal is ready to be combined or served.
- Omelet (veggie): It can be difficult to find a hearty and healthy breakfast (the most important meal of the day) in a hotel restaurant or breakfast diner. Get a jump on your daily vegetable intake by adding a variety to your omelet (ie. brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, peppers, onion).
- Salad: Make it colorful! This can include vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits and grains (optional: meat from hotel restaurant or supermarket).
- Smoothie (meal-replacement): As are all my suggestions, this is another option that won’t tire of due to the combination possibilities. Start with a liquid (ie. water, kefir, milk), and add a variety of greens, fruit, fiber, protein and fat (see suggestions from “A Daily Detox Green Smoothie in 7 Easy Steps” by Abe’s Market.
- Dishes: Washing dishes (in the bathroom, by the way) always reminds me of college dorm life.
- Recycling: Many hotels around the world still do not offer recycling. This is something that’s bothered me for some time; if you want to partner with us to create a social awareness campaign regarding this issue, you know where to find us. While our hotel does not offer recycling to guests, we located recycling sorting bins within a block. We did not discover a compost bin or drop site.
Are you a cook without a kitchen? Share your tips with the Native Gypsies community on how you eat and live healthy in your hotel or studio.
*Please see our disclosure link for more information on affiliate links contained in this post.