Spending time away from home, whether it’s for business or pleasure can make eating sensibly a real chore. Eating out and ordering takeaways can be done healthily but, it’s all too easy to cave in and order something smothered in cheese. I travel a lot, and the novelty of restaurants and takeaways palls pretty quickly, especially if you’re attempting to eat more healthily and there’s only ever about 4 things on the menu to choose from

When cooking at home isn’t feasible, here are some tips on how you can actually prepare healthy meals in a hotel room or anywhere else, equipped with only a kettle and an iron. It might sound a bit of a faff, but it’s also a great budget option if you’re travelling and can’t actually afford to eat out every night.

Equpiment

A fancy word for a few things that you could fling in your suitcase or buy at the supermarket to plan ahead.

  • Plastic plate, knife and fork – Many hotels will supply these things if asked, but they don’t take up much room in a suitcase and it saves asking.
  • A thermos flask – Ok, so it takes up a bit of room, but it’s a useful tool!
  • Tin foil

Meal Ideas

Not all of these will make it into a book of super balanced meals, but they’re often better than the restaurant alternative.

Hot Chicken Caesar Salad

A bit of a cheat as salad is an obvious choice with no cooking required! Simply buy a bag of salad, salad dressing, some feta cubes, a pot of olives in brine and either buy a hot rotisserie chicken pieces from the supermarket, or, and here’s the clever “hotel cooking” part, buy a packet of cold chicken, wrap it in tin foil, and, er, iron it until it’s hot.

Filled Pasta

Supermarket fresh pasta can be cooked in a thermos flask. Simply put it in the flask (pre heat the flask first with boiling water, then tip it away), fill with boiling water and leave it for around 10-15 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. Drain the pasta, add some ready made pesto to the flask and give it a shake. Serve with salad.

Fajitas

Another one using the iron. Choose wholewheat fajitas, ready cooked meats or pots of roasted veg and low fat cheese, if you want to add cheese, to keep the fat count lower. place all the ingredients inside the fajita, wrap in tin foil and heat it with the iron. Do take care not to keep the iron still for too long and set fire to the place, it could take about 10 minutes to heat up the fajita. Another meal you can serve with salad, or heat up tinned vegetables like sweetcorn using the thermos flask.

Noodles

Pot noodles are a tempting choice, but they’re often quite high in fat and salt. Buy regular egg noodles, break them up and add them to the thermos with boiling water. You can also add tinned vegetables.

Boiled Eggs

Hotel breakfasts tend to be pastry and sausage based. A thermos flask can also be used to boil an egg using the same method as for pasta and leaving for approximately 20 minutes.

Porridge

It is possible to cook oats in a thermos, but those individual pots of oats are so readily available in supermarkets I personally recommend choosing those instead!