Locums practitioners that travel often may struggle to eat healthily. This article highlights some ways to build a hotel room kitchen so you can eat differently on the road.
By FlexMedStaff and Corinne Sundar Rao
Are you away from home frequently for locums assignments? Do you struggle as a locums physicianto maintain a healthy diet while traveling? Most everyone has an easier time eating healthy when at home. Let’s face it; at home, we got a fully loaded kitchen with healthy food, endless supplies, and the ability to cook for ourselves. It’s not as simple on the road, especially for those staying at hotels.
It is much easier for most practitioners to eat out, order delivery, or get meals at the hospital cafeteria. Many small towns may have limited dining options, with most of the choices being fast food. This makes it difficult for practitioners to eat healthy on the road in rural America, especially for those with specialty diets (i.e.: vegan).
Some hotel rooms will have a small kitchenette, while most will not. If not, a small corner of your hotel room can serve as a makeshift kitchen with a little effort. A hotel room kitchen will allow you to eat healthier, store food, prepare meals and save. If you are ready to stay on a healthy diet with homemade food, you are in the right place. This article will highlight simple ways practitioners can build their hotel room kitchen while traveling for locums-type work.
This advice is meant for those that frequently return to the same hotel or can travel by vehicle. Not all the items mentioned here will apply to those practitioners that fly to their locums destination and do not plan to return to the same hotel.
The first item to consider is how you will store your kitchen items. Do you plan to keep your kitchen supplies at the hotel for use at each assignment, or will you take them with you in your vehicle? Either way, you should have a way to store all your kitchen supplies. This could be in any of the following: rolling tote bag, duffle bag, gym bag, cardboard box, or large plastic container.
As mentioned, look for hotels with a kitchenette option. Most hotels do have a mini refrigerator and microwave or will provide one if asked.
Also look for hotels with complementary breakfasts so that you can access daily fruits to store in your hotel room kitchen. You may want to consider asking for a corner room, especially if the smell of your delicious meals will make others jealous.
A portable hotel room kitchen would not look as lavish as your home kitchen. Spend a little time gathering the essentials, or use what you can from the hotel. Here is the list of essentials that everybody should have in their hotel room kitchen.
Dinnerware. Purchase a small set of utensils to eat with. This could be a reusable set of utensils like what is sold to campers or use plastic utensils provided at the hotel. You may also want to purchase bowls, plates, and cups or use throw-away ones usually offered by the hotel. You could consider purchasing microwavable and collapsible plates and bowls.
Meal Preparation Items. If you want to get serious about preparing food in your hotel kitchen, consider getting the following:
Cleanup. If you expect to have items to clean, make sure to have dish soap, a dish brush, and a hand towel with you. You should have your own set of paper towels and large garbage bags. If you don’t, ask the hotel for them. They might even have dish soap available.
The following is a list of items to enhance your cooking experience. Make sure you follow hotel policies when using the following items.
Instant Pot. This small addition is one of the most useful appliances you can add to your hotel kitchen. It can cook just about anything. It will help make a great stew,soup, casserole, chicken, rice, or even a cake! The possibilities are endless! The Instant Pot is an excellent substitute for those that enjoy using a slow cooker. You can even boil water, sauté meat or veggies and eliminate the need for other kitchen appliances.
Electric Skillet. An electric skillet gives you so many cooking options. You can cook breakfast or dinner items all in your hotel room.
Induction Burner. With a pot or pan, you can make fabulous meals by placing them on an induction burner.
Fry Daddy. You can use the Fry Daddy to cook any item in oil (i.e., chicken, wings, fries, vegetables, etc.) or boil water for pasta. An alternative is an air fryer that eliminates the need for oil.
George Foreman or Panini Press. This appliance can help cook any meats but also make great sandwiches and paninis in your hotel room.
Electric Kettle. A great appliance for those that require hot water for their beverages or meal prep.
Coffee Maker. Do you enjoy the smell of coffee in the morning or having your specialty brew? Are you looking to avoid the coffee offered at hotels? If so, don’t forget to add a small yet great coffee maker to your hotel room kitchen. Instead of brewing coffee, you could run the coffeemaker without the grounds for hot water for other beverages or meal prep. Most hotels will have creamer, sugar, sugar substitutes, and honey for you. If the hotel has a Keurig machine, you could bring your own pods.
Smoothie Maker. Suppose you enjoy smoothies, then make sure to have a small smoothie maker like the JetBlend2, Magic Bullet or Nutribullet.
It is nice to have a stocked kitchen with items that can be used or eaten immediately or placed back in your storage bins for your next locums assessment. These items are fantastic to have in your hotel kitchen for snacking or meal prep and, if kept in the right environment, can last a long time.
Invest in your health and get the necessary items to build your hotel room kitchen. You can create basic, good, and healthy meals by setting up a hotel room kitchen. Once you have made your hotel room kitchen, you can shop at a local grocery store for the food you might need to eat or cook that week. Think differently about doing locums by building yourself a hotel room kitchen to enrich your experience while traveling.
***Corinne Sundar Rao is a locums hospitalist that has experience working directly with hospitals and thru locums agencies. She is a physician advocate for betting the locums industry. She can be reached at email@example.com or on her website at www.legacyphysicians.co