Hostel travelers are not the most blessed individuals when it comes to wholesome and nourishing meals. Either they make do with meal after meal comprising of nothing more than unhealthy macaroni with salt and pepper, or they monopolize the shared cooking space to the extent of starting a hostel-wide gang rivalry.
Is there no bridging these two extremes? Thankfully, there is. Knowing that most hostel travelers aren’t exactly rolling in cash, here are a few tips on eating healthy on a budget. And the best thing is that most of these meals are absolutely hassle-free and require the most basic culinary skills on your part!
Steel Cut Oats
Typically considered a breakfast meal oats make for a great snack at any time of the day. However, exchange those instant rolled oats for steel cut oats which might cost a bit more, but score really high on the amount of nutrition they pack in. Making steel cut oats is really easy and you don’t even have to cook them like instant oats. All you have to do is start by soaking a quarter cup of dry oats overnight. In the morning, once they’ve expanded in size, throw in fresh fruit, nuts, raisins, and yoghurt and chow down! It’s a hearty meal, it’s a tasty meal, it’s an easy meal…it’s a blessing for hostel travelers.
Pack a Lunch
During lunch time, most travelers find themselves on the go and it makes sense to pack a lunch and carry it with you. Thankfully, lunches are really easy to put together and require no elaborate preparation, the easiest (and most popular) option being sandwiches. For those that are fed up of the traditional sandwiches, buy individual buns, wrap a portion of cheese, and pack a fruit available indigenously. There you go…a great picnic lunch, not to mention a healthy one, put together in a jiffy.
Noodles – The Healthier Version
What hostel traveler hasn’t survived on noodles? Rummage through the bags of a trekker and you are sure to come across half a dozen packets of Ramen wrapped up like illegal gold and tucked away into a safe corner. I can see why they would be such a favored choice – easy to make, cheap and yummy as hell. However, it’s a no-brainer that these noodles are unhealthy as hell.
The best way to make good with Ramen and turn them into a somewhat healthier meal option is to add some vegetables to it – carrots, beans, peppers, onions – anything you can get locally, along with a dash of fresh ginger. In addition, throw in some soy sauce and rice vinegar, if they are available on the free shelf, and boil until the vegetable turn al dente. For a final touch scramble an egg into the soup just before you take the noodles off the heat. And that’s how you add proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates to plain ol’ noodles!
One-pot meals are a wonderful option, allowing you to get as creative you want with locally available ingredients. The formula to making a nutritious one-pot meal is to have one of each food category – protein (meat, chicken, beans, cheese, tofu, seafood), starch (potato, rice, pasta), and plenty of veggies. Add some basic seasoning and spices, sauté these lightly in some oil and treat yourself and your hostel mates to a great meal at night.
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