Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Healthy Hotel/Dorm Room Meals :-)

Early (EARLY!) Saturday morning  I got this text from my brother-in-law: "I just thought of something!! Why don't you try making some healthy recipes that would be available to students who live in dorms but want to still try to eat healthy and not instant crap. I think it's a good idea, and it'll help me eat healthy in hotels where I only have a microwave and a mini fridge." First of all, he's lucky I was already half- awake, my dogs had woken me up because all 3 of them were apparently dying to go outside. I re-read his text and thought about it for a minute. Just a mini fridge and a microwave? EEK. So I texted him back, "Challenge accepted" and thought about it allllllll weekend.

Not only do I think these ideas would great for a college student living in a tiny dorm room with limited resources or a traveling businessman, I also think they'd be great for all of my military family friends who at any given time could be living in temporary housing! I didn't really think about that until this morning when I was thinking about our upcoming move (In December- January ish we are PCSING). We will definitely be in a temporary housing situation (like a hotel room) for at least a week or so while we are house hunting, and I'm glad I have some ideas to feed us healthily for that time. I tried to keep all the recipes as close to paleo/gluten-free healthy stuff as possible too. NOT AN EASY TASK!
All of these recipes/ ideas are based on the fact that you have access to at least a mini fridge & microwave & also a local grocery store to buy your supplies. This is gonna be a long post (with LOTS 'o information) so Bear with me. Or just scroll down to what you're interested in. And forward it on to anyone you know in college or traveling or who may ever be in a temporary housing situation!

BREAKFAST:
It's the most important meal of the day y'all! But really, it is. Do you know what breakfast means? It's literally "BREAKing the FAST" the fast of course being while you were sleeping. Your body needs fuel, stat! Here's my ideas:
Microwaved scrambled eggs (see recipe below)
Microwaved crispy bacon (see recipe below)
Store-bought hard boiled eggs (I found these at my local grocery store in the refrigerated section w/ the fresh eggs. Would be great for an on-the-go breakfast or crumbled in salads!)
Peel-able fruits (IE: fruit you don't need a knife for. Bananas, oranges, etc. Swipe some almond butter on top for added protein)
Microwaved sweet potato (or regular potato. Wash, poke all over with a fork, put on a paper towel in the microwave, nuke it for 5 minutes or until soft & cooked through, slice open and eat plain or with desired toppings)
Granola with coconut milk or almond milk (like cereal, but better for you)
Microwaved sausage

Scrambled eggs in the microwave:
1. Add 2 eggs, about 1 tbsp. of milk or water, pinch of salt & pepper to a microwave safe bowl.
2. Whisk together with a fork until combined.
3. Microwave 1 1/2- 2 minutes or cooked until desired consistency.
ENJOY! The texture is a little different that skillet cooked eggs, but tastes exactly the same.

Crispy bacon in the microwave: (Seriously.)
1. Line a microwave safe plate with paper towels and top with slices of bacon.
2. Top slices of bacon with another paper towel (to soak up the grease)
3. Microwave for about 1 1/2 min per slice, or until desired crispy-ness. My 4 slices took 6 minutes!





LUNCH: My FAVORITE idea for lunch/ dinner is to use the convenience of a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Buy one at your local grocery store and ask your deli to cut it up for you (they don't mind, I swear!) then shred it with your hands (if you're an animal, like me) or chop it up and use it for salads, wraps, sandwiches, or just eat it straight up.
Jarred Salads (recipes below)
Lettuce wraps (roll up chicken or canned tuna in a piece of lettuce with desired veggies)
BLT wrap (lettuce wrap, microwaved bacon from recipe above ^^, tomato slices)
Canned tuna or chopped rotisserie chicken with microwave steamed veggies
Peel-able fruits
Nuts
Nut butters slathered on fruits/ veggies

Mason Jar Salads: I realize  if you're traveling for business you probably don't have access to mason jars. That portion of the idea is more for college dorm living. You MAY however buy a salad mix that comes in plastic- type container (Like below) and fill it with your veggies, protein, salad toppings (everything BUT the dressing) and dole it out into individual salad servings. No jars necessary. The BEST thing about the jars is that they will keep your salad goodies fresh for up to a week. You can make them all ahead of time and grab and go as needed. Awesome.
Step 1: Put your dressing in the bottom of the jar (the KEY is for the dressing to not touch the lettuce, that's what keeps the lettuce fresh.)
Step 2: Top dressing with desired protein & salad toppings. For this jar it was a cobb salad with hard-boiled egg pieces, bacon bits, sliced tomatoes, & chicken.
Step 3: Shove as much salad mix as you can into the top of the jar & Seal.
I made 2 varieties when I was making these, the cobb salad as mentioned above, and a cranberry walnut salad that I used dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, hard- boiled egg pieces, tomato slices, chicken, & salad mix. Some other great salads would be a greek salad with olives & onions or a buffalo chicken salad- just toss your chicken into some Frank's Red Hot and build salad as desired.

DINNER: okay so dinner is kind of just a repeat of lunch. The only thing I would really add is maybe a microwaved potato to make your meal heartier. If you have a Whole Foods handy you can always hit up their ready-made foods section, it is STELLAR. I picked up a very paleo friendly curry chicken salad there last week that was to-die-for. I will be trying to replicate it ASAP. Canned soups seem really easy, but read the ingredients list because some of them are really sketchy. 

Do YOU have any other great dorm/hotel living healthy food ideas? Please share below :-D And share this article with anybody you think could use it! Have a great week everyone!

5 comments:

  1. Such a good idea! I began my college career with Raman noodles but towards the end was able to do some baked potatoes and healthier non-processed stuff. Will definitely share w my friends w college age kids!

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Unfortunately the majority of my friends in college (and even those with full, working kitchens!) tend to buy the easy ramen and lean cuisines, hoping to get them eating some more REAL FOOD! :-)

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  2. Thanks for mentioning J.Pocker! We cannot wait for your article!

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  3. I just came to your post and reading above thing it is very impressive me and it is very nice blog. Thanks a lot for sharing this.
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  4. Thank you for sharing! We are a military family too and will probably be traveling here soon and living out of a hotel. I love the chicken wrap idea!

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