Are you a vegan traveling to an all-inclusive resort and are not sure about how to ensure that all your nutritional needs will be covered? In this article I share my top 3 tips on how I manage to eat well as a vegan in an all-inclusive resort as well as a downloadable PDF containing over 20 vegan foods you can bring along with you on your next getaway.
Well, it has been a while I have not been on here. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy – work just took over all of my time and energy. On top of that, my family and I travelled to Cuba this year for the 7th time. Therefore, for an entire week, I basked in the sun, was disconnected from social media and had very limited access to the internet. I am so so grateful for this getaway and came back incredibly rested!
However – one thing that did happen that was unsuspected is that the food was not great to say the least! I am a very positive person in life, trying to find the good in every situation, but for the first time in 7 years, the food options at the hotel were incredibly limited – even more so because I am a vegan.
In case you have never been to a Cuban all-inclusive resort – or any other all-inclusive resort in Latin America – these vacations include not only the flight to the destination, the transport to the hotel and the room, but also 3 meals at a buffet, access to on site restaurants, 24-hours snack bars and unlimited cocktails.
The resorts that my family and I have been going to for the past 7 years also tend to be rather far from city centres – thus also far from other local restaurants, grocery stores etc. Therefore, we have had to rely solely on the food from the hotel to feed ourselves... This, in the past, was quite doable – particularly when I was not vegan. There were always some tasty meat options, lots of cheeses and cold meats, and an impressive array of desserts.
Nevertheless, since becoming vegan, the options have drastically decreased. Thankfully, I have been able to still put together nutritious and tasty meals by having lots of veggies (pumpkin, peas, salad, cucumber, carrots, eggplant, potatoes and sweet potatoes), rice, beans, pasta, olives, capers, pickled onions, papaya, bananas and LOTS of mangos.
Therefore, as I was prepping for this trip I thought, “I am not going to bring crazy amounts of foods with me as there will be as many options as the previous years.” Oh boy was I wrong! For the first 3 days of our vacations, there were no beans – NONE! For lunch and dinner, I would eat a plate of rice with lettuce, cucumbers, olives, pickled onions and steamed (unseasoned) pumpkin. Dessert was always mangoes and papaya. Luckily, thanks to my little pre-travel prepping, I had brought along with me foods for breakfast as, you might have guessed, the options were even more limited (fruits, eggs, pancakes, omelettes, sausage, bacon, bread made with eggs and milk...). For the entirety of my trip, I enjoyed my quinoa porridge along with fresh fruits (mangoes, papaya and bananas) and cucumbers.
One quick note before sharing with you some of my tips on how to survive as a vegan in an all-inclusive resort: The food for lunch and dinner did get better. On the 4th day, they introduced some beans cooked with bacon, which I did not have. BUT, after speaking with one of the buffet managers, on the 5th, 6th and 7th day of our vacation, the chef introduced some plain, non-meat containing kidney beans and brown lentils on the menu, which really made every meal more nutritionally dense and satisfying.
So, how did I survive this 7-day vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cuba?
TIP #1: Bring some food with along you
On my end, packed along with in with my bathing suits and flip flops were:
A premade mix of quinoa porridge
Premade energy balls
Store bought raw brownies
Unsweetened Soy Milk
For more details about each of these snacks, make sure to watch my YouTube video on the topic:
TIP #2: Book closer to city centers
Please don’t let your veganism dissuade you from traveling, instead, do a little forward thinking which will save you lots of time once abroad and keep you in a positive mindset (I doubt I am the only one who gets grumpy when I don’t eat enough…).
One thing for example that you can do if you do not want to bring along food with you is simply book your vacation closer to a city. That way, you will have access to local stores and restaurants which might have more options than at your hotel. After you check in, scout out the options your hotel does offer then, take a little trip to a local market or store and buy some essentials (nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruits, oatmeal...).
TIP #3: Ask for help
First, while booking, you can send an email to the hotel you are interested in staying at to ask about their vegan/vegetarian options. Based on their answers, you will be able to 1) decide if you want to stay at that hotel 2) have a better idea of the foods you can bring with you.
Once on location, if you notice that there really are not enough vegan options for you, talk to the managerial staff or to the chef himself. If you voice to them this lack of option, they will absolutely try to accommodate you as they tend to be very understanding and want to please their guests.
Finally, although food is necessary to survive, feel energized and strong, if you are traveling to a non-vegan all-inclusive resort, you simply have to do a little extra thinking in advance. I admit, it is not as easy and carefree as traveling as an omnivore, but it is part of the journey as a vegan. We must understand that we do not live in a vegan world just yet and it is by not letting the lack of options stop us that we can go to new locations and even educate people (locals and even other travelers – who in my case would sometimes stare at my jug of soy milk and my quinoa porridge in the making) about veganism by spreading awareness about it.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is – enjoy your vacation. Take in the beautiful scenery, cherish your time with the people you are traveling with, be grateful of the fact that you actually have the opportunity to travel and discover new countries!
On that note, I promised you a free PDF that includes over 20 vegan foods you can bring along with you on your next all-inclusive vacation & here it is:
It also includes a little bonus section containing 6 breakfast items to make your first meal of the day a total breeze!