Can you imagine if Hell’s Kitchen had been filmed in a hostel kitchen?

Now, that’s a show I’d watch.

Admittedly, hostels aren’t known for their incredible kitchens or resulting gourmet meals. But hey, you have to work with what you have when you’re traveling.

I feel like I’ve earned my stripes when it comes to making do in hostels. And nowhere is this more true than when making myself healthy travel meals.

The recipes below have been tried by yours truly in a variety of hostel kitchens.

Don’t worry, I won’t have you searching for some exotic and difficult-to-find ingredients. Everything is basic, and I base all the ingredients from what’s available in local markets.

Tips for Hostel Cooking

For those who have never had the joy of staying in a hostel, I’m going to provide you with some tips to make your experience as stress-free as possible.

Pack Plastic Containers

Travel with plastic containers. I cannot recommend this enough.

While they are in your suitcase and you’re in route to the next destination, the plastic containers can hold clothing or small items.

Once you are set up in your hostel, you can use them to hold snacks and meals.

As a side, I’d also recommend investing in a compact thermos. Whether you’re filling up on water or hot coffee, I promise you that this thing will never leave your side.

Check the Kitchen Before You Shop

Check to see what type of hostel kitchen you have access to. At the very least, you’ll have hot water. If you’re lucky, you’ll have pots, pans, and communal spices to use.

This is the step that you’ll need to do before deciding on one of the healthy travel meals below.

Buy Fresh Food Every Day

If you’re from the States, you know all too well that the ability to find and walk to a local farmer’s market is a pretty rare thing, especially if you’re in the big cities.

When you’re traveling abroad, this isn’t the case.

Every country I’ve been to had direct access to a local market with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats.

With that said, once you get to your hostel, eek out the local market or grocery store. Ask the owner or other hostel guests.

I recommend buying what you need for a meal or for that day, depending on what you have planned. For example, you might only want to make breakfast in the hostel because you plan on having a fancy dinner later in the night.

If your hostel doesn’t have spices, buying small sizes of the basics (salt, pepper) can be a lifesaver as you travel from place to place.

When I was living in Peru, my local market sold single serving sizes of different spices, so ask about this option if you’re confident with the language.

Have a Group Dinner (and Make New Friends)

Getting to know the others in the hostel allows you to make group meals, and this will help you make new friends and potential travel partners.

It’s also a subtle way to establish that your food is in the refrigerator (and shouldn’t be touched).

healthy travel meals

13 Healthy Travel Meals You Can Make in a Hostel

Below, you’ll find 12 easy healthy travel meals based on the type of kitchen hostel that you have access to.

For reference, the four categories are:

  • Hot water only
  • Stove top with pan / pot
  • Oven only
  • Full kitchen

Hostel Type: Hot Water Only

First up, here are a few barebones recipes for when you’re stuck in a hostel that only has access to hot water.


Admittedly, this always made me feel like I was in the military when I made this.

But this simple breakfast is packed with all three macronutrients. It’s sweet, tasty, and it will leave you feeling full until lunch.


  • 1 cup of oatmeal / 1 packet of oatmeal
  • 2 table spoons of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of your choice of fruit
  • 1 packet of instant coffee


1. Boil a pot of water, pour about ¾ cup of water into the oatmeal and let it sit.

2. Once it cools a bit, throw in the chia seeds, and stir.

3. Chop up your fruit of choice then toss that in as well.

4. Finally, use the last of the water for your coffee.


This delicious meal can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s quick to make and can easily be taken with you on in your thermos.


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of your seeds of choice
  • 1 serving of your choice of tea


1. Boil a pot of water, pour 2 cups in the quinoa, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

2. Throw in the cocoa and seeds.

3. Use the rest of the water to make your tea.


High in protein and healthy fats, this is one meal that will kickstart your day or give you an afternoon boost.

If you have access to a toaster, you’ll be able to enjoy crunchy toast with your poached eggs.


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces of bread
  • 1 cup of your choice of fruit
  • 1 serving of your choice of instant coffee or tea


1. If you have a pan, put the bread in the pan and continue turning them over until they are lightly browned on each side. If not, it’ll be regular bread for you.

2. Boil a pot of water. Once there is a rolling boil, carefully crack the eggs over the water. If the yolk breaks, it’s still good, but it won’t be a pouched egg.

3. Cook the egg in the water for a few minutes, then carefully scoop it out and over the bread / toast.

4. Serve yourself some fruit, then boil a new pot of water for the tea / coffee.

Hostel Type: Stove Top with Pan or Pot

You’re working your way up the figurative food chain when you find a hostel that has a stove top with a collection of pots and pans. Here are some recipes you can use:


The classic Americana-style breakfast of eggs, toast, and fruit contains all your macronutrients with plenty of vitamins and minerals.


  • Eggs (however many you want)
  • Whole grain toast (or English muffins, if you can find them)
  • Fruit of your choice  


1. Spray a pan with cooking spray or use butter to coat the pan, then crack the eggs over the pan, and scramble them.

2. Put the bread in the pan and continue turning them over until they are lightly browned on each side.

3. Slice up your fruit and enjoy!


Ideal for when you’re traveling in the winter, chicken and rice soup is a hot, comforting, and nutritious meal.


  • Olive oil or butter for sautéing the vegetables
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of rice (brown or white)
  • Cooked shredded chicken breast, about two cups 


1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about three minutes.

2. Add the garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté for five to seven minutes until fragrant and soft.

3. Add four cups of chicken stock and bring it to a boil over high heat.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the rice, chicken breast meat and salt/pepper as desired.

6. Cook for 30 minutes then turn off the heat and serve after letting it sit for about 15 minutes.


When you have a big day of walking or trekking planned, this carbohydrate-heavy meal will hit the spot.


  • 1 box of spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • Local bread (finding Italian bread might be tough so be open minded about the bread you use!)
  • Butter
  • Fresh garlic


1. Brown the ground beef on medium heat in a large pan.

2. Drain off any excess grease and add the pasta sauce.

3. Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti for 7 to 8 minutes, then drain the water.

4. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the spaghetti noodles. Keep this on simmer as you prep the garlic bread.

5. Sautee some garlic with butter in the pan.

6. Lightly brown the bread on both sides, but on one side put the butter and garlic mixture.

7. Once both are done, plate them up and enjoy!

benefits of travel

Hostel Type: Oven Only

Assuming there is plenty of ventilation and it’s not crazy hot outside, ovens are a great way to meal prep for your day of traveling.


You can eat this healthy and delicious breakfast for lunch or dinner if you’re ever in a pinch.


  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of almonds (or whatever nuts are available to buy)
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 cup of your choice of fruit 


1. Crush the almonds in a bag.

2. Mix the cinnamon, brown sugar, chia seeds, and crushed almonds with oatmeal.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Let the granola sit for 15 minutes, then break it apart in clumps.

5. Add the granola and the fruit into your yogurt.


If you want a breakfast that will keep you satiated until long after lunch, this fat-focused meal is it.


  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of almonds (or whatever nuts are available to buy)
  • 3-5 eggs
  • 1 avocado


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Prepare the granola as described above.

3. Stir eggs in a bowl then add small slices of avocado.

4. Grease a small baking dish – a muffin pan works the best and it makes them snack-sized.

5. Pour the egg mixture in and bake for 20 to 25 minutes

6. Mix the fruit with the fresh granola (you can even put all of this is yogurt if you have it)

7. Enjoy the egg bake and granola with fruit.


If you’re traveling near a sea-side town or city, take advantage of the local cuisine with this protein-packed lunch or dinner meal.


  • 1-2 servings of a local fish
  • 1 to 2 cups of local and fresh vegetables
  • 1 or 2 slices of bread


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Arrange the fish and veggies in a baking dish so that the two are separated.

3. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes depending on cut of fish.

Hostel Type: Fully Stocked with Refrigerator

You really lucked out with your hostel, and you have access to everything you would need to make a great (but also quick and easy) meal. Here are some healthy travel recipes to try:


Pack your omelet with your favorite veggies (I recommend dark leafy greens) and enjoy a sweet treat afterwards.


  • 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 2 – 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of mixed greens (whatever is available, but you can usually find spinach, broccoli, and parsley)
  • 1 cup of fresh juice or smoothie (these are easily available at local markets)


1. Bake granola as instructed above.

2. Using 1 tablespoon of butter, sauté the greens to your desired level of tenderness.

3. After, stir eggs in a bowl until well-combined.

4. Coat the pan with the other tablespoon of butter, then pour in egg mixture.

5. Cook for a few minutes, then place the veggies to one side of the egg mixture.

6. Flip the other side over top of the veggies, cook for another minute, then flip over.

7. Cook for another minute or two.

8. Add fruit to the granola if desired. Enjoy your healthy breakfast!


The bodybuilding staple, chicken with rice and vegetables is a perfect meal that provides all your essential nutrients.


  • 1-2 chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups of water (1 cup for every cup of rice)
  • 1-2 cups of wild rice (or whatever rice is available)
  • 2-3 cups of your choice of vegetables
  • Your choice of seasoning / Whatever is available in the local market


1. Bring a pot of 1-2 cups of water to a boil, then add the rice and immediately reduce to low heat.

2. Let the rice cook for 30 to 40 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven’s broiler.

4. While the oven is heating up, place olive oil and seasoning over the chicken breasts and vegetables.

5. Place the chicken on a baking dish and cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side. When you flip the chicken, add the vegetables to also cook.

6. Once the rice is finished, combine and enjoy!


If you’ve found a market where the beef isn’t expensive, try this delicious and nutritious curry recipe. (Warning: You’ll make a lot of friends in the hostel quickly.)


  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup milk


1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in wild rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add beef, onion, and salt. Cook until meat is no longer pink.

3. In a small bowl, combine flour, curry powder, and pepper; add to the pan with milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring constantly until thickened (about two minutes). Drain rice if necessary.

4. Serve beef mixture over rice.


Need comfort food that reminds you of home and isn’t terrible for you? You found it with this broccoli and chicken mac and cheese.


  • 1 box of macaroni noodles
  • 2-3 cups of broccoli florets or chopped broccoli
  • 1-2 cups of local cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1-2 chicken breasts


1. Boil a pot of water and add the macaroni. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the noodles and add them back to the pot.

2. In another pot, combine the milk, cheese, and butter, stirring over medium heat until combined.

3. Cube the chicken, and in a pan, sauté for a few minutes.

4. Transfer everything over to a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Have Your Own Easy Travel Meals?

What meals have you made in your hostel? Do the recipes above help you with your travel planning? Let me know in the comment below.

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