Ditch the noodles with The Backpacker’s Kitchen

A new cookbook aimed at student travellers hopes to put an end to unhealthy meals such as microwave noodles, by offering cheap, healthy alternatives.

“The Backpacker’s Kitchen” was written by mother and daughter team Caroline and Penny Paterson, and offers a wide variety of recipes for cheap, easy to prepare meals, snacks, and side dishes.

The idea for the book came after extensive travels, in which they were surprised at the standards of some backpackers’ diets. They found that the main reason for the unhealthy diets was financial.


New book 'The Backpacker's Kitchen' will be out in June. Illustration: Yvonne Hacon

“One of the highlights of travelling to different countries is enjoying the local cuisine, but eating out every night puts a lot of strain on a backpacker’s budget. ‘The Backpacker’s Kitchen’ helps you make the most of your local ingredients and you keep costs down by cooking yourself,” Penny says.

“You wouldn’t eat out every night at home so why do it while travelling?” she adds.

Luke Morton, a journalism student at the University ogf Lincoln, agrees. He travelled around Europe with friends last summer, and admits that their diets weren’t a main concern: “My diet isn’t the healthiest anyway, and when we were in Europe we did eat mainly junk food, just because we knew what we were getting.

“Some of the time we’d go to McDonalds or Burger King just because it was familiar and we thought it would be cheap, but it was surprisingly expensive.”

The group were able to cook their own meals when they stayed in an apartment and Luke says that it made a nice change after eating junk food.

“We went quite crazy and bought lots of fruit and tea bags, but we also bought the ingredients for a stew and a spaghetti Bolognese. It was a lot nicer and I think it worked out cheaper than eating out all the time.”

Although he likes the idea of the book, Luke says that even if backpackers wanted to cook for themselves, it depends on their accommodation and whether it offers kitchen facilities.

But he admits that time is better spent travelling than cooking: “We’d have liked to have cooked our own meals, but sometimes there’s simply not enough time. You want to go out and explore the city – especially if you’re only there for a day or two,” he says.

“We mainly wanted have some brilliant experiences without worrying about our diet. It was a holiday after all.”

Eating a healthy diet when travelling is even more important than eating well at home, as more energy is needed to get through each day to make sure you get the most out of your trip.

“The Backpacker’s Kitchen”, which hits stores on June 30th, may well be the answer to having a diet that’s both healthy and financially-friendly.

The title can be pre-ordered here.

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