I am a big believer in packing food when traveling and not only because you’ll save money. To me the biggest benefit is knowing that you won’t be eating tons of sodium, fats, and unpronounceable ingredients. Unless you have access to fancy farm-to-table establishments that boasts pure ingredients… but then I will have to refer you back to the “save money” benefit.
A few weeks ago my dear friend Kris posed a question on Facebook. “ Does anyone have any meal ideas that are easy to fix in a hotel room with ingredients that do not have to stay cold? The easier the better.” The answers poured in. Salads packed in a mason jar, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, summer sausage, baked potato bar in a slow cooker, crackers and fruit in a cup, avocado topped with tuna, and instant soups.
IF ALL YOU HAVE IS A PORTABLE COOLER. Make sure you have a Ziploc bag filled with ice and wrapped in a towel to catch the drips. Or, invest in a Yeti cooler and keep everything cooler, longer.
- Please the crowd as you whip up guacamole and chips. Technically these don’t need to even be refrigerated. Bring avocados, salsa, onions, and tomatoes.
- Make hummus. Sure, you can buy the pre-made stuff and keep in your cooler or bring along a pouch or two of Bush’s Hummus Made Easy, chickpeas, and whip them up using a Nutri-Bullet.
- Smoothies make great travel companions. Whip out that Nutri-Bullet again and pack it full of healthy goodies and antioxidants.
- Why not prepare a plate of caprese salad? There is no reason why mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar can’t come along on your trip.
- Avocado toasts for the win! Bring along a nice baguette, mashed up an avocado and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and red pepper flakes!
IF YOUR HOTEL ROOM HAS A MINI FRIDGE. This increases your packing options and the sky is (mostly) the limit.
- Line out a sliced meats, cheeses, olive, and pickle tray. Perfect for snacking and TV watching.
- Want something a little more substantial? Roll out some Reuben Rollups.
- Homemade potato salad will help fill that “I need some comfort food” urge. Extra credit if you do mashed cauliflower salad.
- At some point you will want a salad. Pack a head of lettuce and blue cheese and viola, you’ll have a simple no-fuss wedge salad.
- Want something to fill that void between meals? Try a beet and yogurt salad using the handy olive oil and balsamic vinegar you packed for the caprese salad.
IF YOU DECIDE TO PACK A SLOW COOKER. Now we’re talking. One of the challenges of a hotel room without a microwave is that you may crave something hot and toasty. A slow cooker will help fill that void.
- Pack eggs, cheese, and grated potatoes and prep the night before, set on low for eight hours. Wake up tobreakfast in bed.
- If you haven’t already discovered Reynolds’ slow cooker liners, you’ll want them. Basically line your slow cooker and when you are finished eating… toss the liner away. No cleanup needed.
- Slow cook your favorite nacho sauce. That way it is always ready for when a nacho-eating craving hits.
- Potato bar time! Use the slow cooker liners to place the potatoes in and slow cook and another bag for chili or nacho sauce. Or both.
- Go bold with beef ribs. Why not? Tucks some potatoes and carrots in there while you are at it.
IF YOUR HOTEL ROOM HAS A MICROWAVE. Best-case scenario. 9 times out 10 if the room has a microwave, it also has a refrigerator. Or, do what we did and buy an inexpensive microwave and bring it with you. Ours cost $25 at Walmart and we store it in our basement in between travels.
- Pack along a pre-made frittata. Good enough for breakfast or any meal of the day.
- Pack along breakfast sausages to go with your frittata.
- Go nacho crazy. Precooked chicken, cottage cheese, tomatoes, avocados, and the works can now be achieved.
- Ditto quesadillas.
- Wraps can heated to bring out the yum factor. Try a chili steak and rice wrap for a complete meal.
Have any favorites that you’d like to share?
Eat well, my friends.