Secret Eaters on Channel 4 did a feature a while ago which showed that people tended to over eat at a hotel buffet breakfast. I thought this was slightly obvious to be honest. Who doesn’t fill their boots when they stay at a hotel now and then? A lovely full-English after wine and dancing at a wedding the night before is standard in my book.

However, what if you stay in hotel regularly with work or for pleasure? These breakfasts become normal, the calories add up and weight gain can result.

After staying over at a hotel myself over the Easter break and looking at what was available, I decided to put together my damage limitation guide to hotel breakfasts.

The Fruit Section

You can’t really go wrong with fruit as part of your breakfast and there is usually a good selection. Try teaming it up with some plain natural or Greek yoghurt (this will reduce the sugar intake compared to a fruit yoghurt). Often many hotels have seed or nut selections and you could add a sprinkle of these, which will keep you fuller for longer as they are high in protein and good fats.

The Cereal Section

Most hotels offer a good selection of cereal which can be a great start to the day. Try and choose a high fibre variety with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk. Weetabix and porridge or low sugar muesli are great choices. Try and avoid sugary cereals as they can also have less fibre and be less filling. 

The Hot Section

Having a full English breakfast is a massive perk of a hotel stay. Often it can be thought of unhealthy but if chosen wisely it can be a great start to the day. Eggs are a good choice. These are a great source of Vitamin B12, as well as protein. Most places now will cook them how you want them, so boiled or poached are great choices as avoid any additional oil. Most hot breakfasts have bacon and sausage available. If choosing bacon, no more than 1-2 rashes and trim off any additional fat. This will have less saturated fat and calories.  Try to avoid fried bread and hash browns as they are deep fried and will be high in calories. Mushroom, tomatoes and baked beans are a healthier alternative and will provide you with at least 1 of your 5 a day, depending on your portion size.

The Bread Section

This is a tricky section to avoid as you may fancy some high sugar /fat carbohydrates to finish off your breakfast. This section can often be filled with croissants, danish pastries and muffins. If you really can’t resist the temptation choose a mini croissant or share a larger one. The best choice would be a slice of wholegrain toast for far less fat and calories. You could add a small amount of spread or jam to this.


A small amount of fruit juice (150mls) would be a good choice as it can be 1 of your 5 a day but stick to this. Juice is high in sugar and increases the calorie content of your breakfast if drank in large quantities. Tea and coffee with no added sugar and semi or skimmed milk would be an option. Decaffeinated versions are likely to be available or a fruit tea would be another caffeine-free choice.

So there you go. Make the most of your hotel breakfast and choose sensibly. You can taste small bits of everything without the calorie overload but still get a lovely treat and no washing up!


Dietitian's life