What are your best hacks for eating healthy and affordable while traveling, especially when options are limited?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Basically, the goal is to convert grocery store ingredients into tasty meals without the convenience of a kitchen full of appliances, utensils, and seasonings. You want to be able to go to the grocery store and get ingredients in small enough portions that you can use them all, without having to buy a million little things.
So, temporarily become a hoarding, pilfering, MacGyver. Leftover resealable bottles, plastic cutlery, salt and pepper packets, honey packets, lemon juice packets, butter packets, bags, napkins, and fresh fruit (at the continental breakfast). These are all things you can get for basically free if you keep track of them.
Find a microwave. If your hotel room does not have one, the lobby or breakfast dining room probably does. You can make an unbelievable amount of great meals here. The only thing you have to figure out is how to get a microwave-safe container. A ceramic coffee mug is perfect, but they don't travel well. Otherwise, paper is your safest bet. You might get lucky and have the paper cereal bowls available, but if not, just pick up a set of microwave safe disposable bowls.
Now, find a refrigerator. If your room doesn't have one, no worries. Pick up a foam cooler for $2 and fill it up with ice from the ice machine in your hotel.
Now, a sample shopping list:
- Butter. Most meals require a good fat to be edible, so don't be shy. Grass fed if you can. Almost every Walmart carries either Kerrygold or Organic Valley, and even small towns have Walmarts.
- Remove the basket the coffee sits in. You don't want to steep it in stale-coffee water.
How to Make Super Fluffy Scrambled Eggs in a Microwave
- Ceramic mug works best, paper bowl if you need it. Microwave empty container with a dab of butter for a couple seconds only. Stop it and smooth it around.
- Pour pre-cooked frozen shrimp in a bowl.
More Sneaky Tricks
- You can take 1 o.z. liquor bottles (the kind sold for $1) on your carry on in your quart-sized zipper bag. While this is a trick in itself (Hey, $1 cocktails in flight!) you can also re-use these bottles to smuggle that which your culinary palate desires. I often travel with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Instant salad dressing. Instant heart-burn relief (a dab of vinegar in your water).
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