The Minibar/Fridge Dilemma

Snack Mix I always like to make sure I have a fridge in my hotel room so I can stock it with healthy snacks and breakfast provisions.  It makes sense.  You can stock up and save money, and exercise an element of control over what you eat.  It’ s the antithesis of  the overpriced, sugar- and fat-laden delights lurking in mini-bars.  If you care an iota about your health and your pocket, have that bad boy emptied or decline the key.

That said, I’m seeing more and more hotels offer to fill the in-room fridge for guests as a “convenience.”  Beware the promise of healthy fare. (I always worry about institutions’ definitions of “healthy’).  Here’s a quick look at what an upscale Orlando hotel was offering when I stayed there last week.

Lo-Cal Snack Attack.  Quaker Cheddar Rice Cakes, Cheese Nips, Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Apple Crisps and Baked Lays, each at 100 calories.  You get to pick 4 for $6 or 6 for $9. Dude, I can get an apple and a banana for 100 calories and they don’t contain chemicals and trans fats.

The Energizer Bars. Pick any 3: Clif Bar, Nutri-Grain Bar, Nature Valley Granola Bar, Quaker Chewy Granola, or Resveratrol Winetime Bar. $10.  Is this food really fridge food? This collection should be renamed the Sugar Spike and Crash package.  I would like to reiterate my stand on energy bars – they are not real food; they usually contain lots of sugar; they are often fabricated in labs rather than made in kitchens; and – according to my husband – they look like dog turds, which is why I never touch them.

Of course I had to check out the Resveratrol Winetime Bar.  It’s an interesting concept, basically a 190 calorie chocolate bar masquerading as 50 glasses of wine (it contains the resveratrol equivalent thereof).  I’ll take a glass of cab and a piece of 80% cacao chocolate instead, thanks.

The Energizer. Pick any 3: Red Bull, Monster Energy Drink, AMP for $15.  Perfect for any road warrior who hasn’t been listening to me about how to increase energy while you travel.  In my naïveté, I’m always shocked that people still drink these concoctions, but then I’m so much in a bubble I nearly fall over when I see someone drinking a soda.  In both cases, it’s common knowledge that they’re bad for you yet the habit prevails.  Habit it is so let’s not encourage it.  If you want more energy, eat some protein and good quality carbs.

Honestly, the healthiest, most natural options they had were the Tiny Bubbles (2 bottles of 187 ml Mumm Cuvee Napa Champagne for $20, add hummus with pretzels for $24), the Chilled Republic of Tea Time (3 flavors for $10) and the Hydrators (3 bottles of water (including Smart Water and PowerAde) for $7.25 or 6 for $14.

Is it any less convenient to stop en route to your hotel and stock it with bottled water, iced tea, snacks and, heck, a split of wine or champagne if that’s what you want?  The shopping time will be made up by having a quick and convenient breakfast in your room.  Plus, you’ll have made your own healthy choices and you know that’s what I care about!

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