Hotel Breakfast Buffet: A Survival Guide

September 7, 2017   10 Comments

The hotel breakfast buffet is in the smallest motels and the biggest chain hotels. Since it is often included in the price of the room, I tend to search for a healthy breakfast at the buffet.

Hotel Breakfast Buffet

I love writing about breakfast (and eating it). Last month, I featured my favorite grab and go breakfast ideas.

It is a lot harder to eat healthy without my fridge and kitchen and hotel breakfast buffets are a difficult challenge because they feature food like this:

What? Make you own waffles?!! How fun is that? My kids, of course, love this option as sometimes a hotel chain (I am looking at you Quality Inn) includes whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and Oreo bits to put on the waffles.

Not kidding.

Let’s just say, that this is not a healthy choice and leave it at that.

Here is another popular option:

Bacon is considered one of the least healthy foods you can eat (nitrates, sodium, fat) so that is easy to rule out but what about the scrambled eggs?

Eggs are a great source of protein and I would say, “Go for it!” except that these are powdered eggs and the texture and flavor are very strange. I would call these “egg like” and every time I put them on my paper plate – I regret it.

I did see my fellow Comfort Inn customers making egg their own “Egg McMuffins” with the eggs, bacon, and English muffins. You could do worse!

If you are lucky, there is a fruit stand like this one. I wish they didn’t stock the “Red Delicious” apple variety because I find these to be either mushy, tasteless or both. I almost always shove a piece of fruit in my purse for later (but I don’t think you are supposed to do that).

I happen to love whole grain toast and peanut butter for breakfast. The Comfort Inn I was staying at stocked this:

Ahem, where is the whole wheat bread? I went with the English muffin (and they did have peanut butter) so I made due. I wonder if they think people are allergic to whole grain bread.

This was a good surprise:

Usually, they have the oatmeal packets with a ton of sugar added. This option had no sugar added! They had brown sugar and raisins to add to the oatmeal (and hot boiling water).

You could make a pretty healthy breakfast with the oatmeal, apple chunks (fun with plastic knives!), raisins, and peanut butter.

If you keep looking, you can find yogurt and eggs in the mini fridge. Usually the yogurt is packed with sugar but at least they had Oikos (which has more protein than many options).

The hard boiled eggs are peeled which freaks me out a bit. The eggs do taste a bit like the inside of the fridge.

You can also find sugary cereal, corn flakes, and Raisin Bran at the buffet.

Every buffet is a little different but I would look for:

  • Whole grain toast, peanut butter, and hard boiled eggs
  • Fruit, yogurt, and no sugar added cereal
  • Oatmeal, raisins, fruit, and peanut butter

What have you found at the hotel breakfast buffet? What do you like or dislike? Please share.

Other posts you might like:

Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas

Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas

Grab and go breakfast ideas are a specialty of mine because I am usually running around with my hair on fire in the morning.....

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


Great suggestions! I try to do exactly what you mention - whole wheat toast and peanut butter, and a hard boiled egg. And a banana. Hate those Red Delicious apples! Will keep an eye out for plain instant oatmeal. Thanks!

Yeah, the waffles are my weakness on those buffets. But if we're in the same hotel more than two nights, I'll usually opt for an english muffin with peanut butter on subsequent mornings ... because I dislike both eggs and bananas.

Sadly the peanut butter is usually full of hydrogenated oil and sugar. It is very hard to eat well at these buffets!

Im from Ireland and compared to the food that you can usually get at Irish hotels, Im shocked and surprised at the fare on display here! It truly is abysmal , at least here you can request properly cooked porridge rather than that packet stuff, oatmeal. Th e apples look very unappealing alright, there should be a proper fruit salad to choose from but I guess this is whats on offer at low priced cheap motels such as this..

Hi Lisa! Sadly, I find that the quality of food at these breakfast buffets is completely in line with what you paid for your room. If it's a higher-end place, better options; the lower-end places, I usually don't even go look. If there's fruit that looks fresh, I will always grab one or more pieces. I simply don't eat baked goods that aren't whole grain, so I usually skip that too. The instant oatmeal is a great option, but like you say, has to be low sugar, and I need at least skim milk. And yes a hard boiled egg is healthy, but the idea of how it was peeled turns me off. Truthfully, I am too picky for these things, and I usually opt for things I bring with me. Nature's Path and Bob's Red Mill both have good instant packets of oatmeal (that take up little room), and I can go to the buffet for a spoon and empty bowl. Tucking my own peeled hard cooked eggs in my always-with-me lunch bag (my freezer pack fits nicely in hotel frig), along with small bottle of almond milk works for me!

I stayed at a couple of different hotels recently that featured an "oatmeal bar" as a part of the continental breakfast. There was a big crock pot full of oatmeal & a variety of healthy add-ins next to it. I hope more hotels will add this!

I have actually found freshly made hot oatmeal with healthy add in options--like walnuts, brown sugar and raisins! Yummy. Usually the yogurt is a good option, and I have gone with Raisin Bran if all else fails. Most places I have been to do have the whole wheat bread for toast.

I love the Holiday Inn Express breakfast. Lots of fruit, turkey sausage, egg white omelets with veggies and fruit. Wheat toast, English muffins, yogurts and oatmeal. Great choices.

Relax. You are in a hotel that is providing a complimentary breakfast. Make the best of it. You will have other meals with more options. If I remember correctly the last time I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, we paid for our breakfast. The same with Courtyard by Mariott.

I'm not even tempted by those make-your-own-waffles. They taste like cardboard to me.

Add a comment:


(required, never published)

© 2024