My three greatest pleasures in life are love, food, and vacations, preferably all together. In other words, the world is my oyster. I love oysters. I love good food, and by good food, I mean fresh, locally sourced (when possible) organic vegetables and fruits, fish, grains, and legumes. In other words, I am a 20 plus year vegetarian turned pescetarian. One who almost always travels with carnivores. I also believe, “When in Rome…” So, when I travel to a new destination part of the thrill is experiencing the culture and that includes the food. And even a healthy diet allows for the occasional fresh-baked bread, creme brûlée or, gasp, parmesan truffle fries.
That said, I rarely pick a vacation spot for its food, which you might think makes eating well a challenge. Not true. I am no longer the exception in today’s health conscious world where people brag about their daily Fitbit step count like golf scores at cocktail parties, and scrutinize package ingredients at grocery stores as if they contain hidden code for a happier life. Where I once was limited to steamed vegetables as my only option at many restaurants the world over, the offerings have caught up with the fitness demand, in restaurants, resorts, and grocery stores. Moreover, if you don’t see something that fits your dietary health needs, the majority of chefs will tweak a menu dish upon request. Just ask politely. My point is, when traveling to a new location, healthy eating can be as easy as walking around the corner or riding the elevator to a hotel restaurant. This holds true for foreign lands with foreign foods, large U.S. cities, and all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean islands. It’s all a matter of where you look and what you choose.
In the past year, I travelled to all three - Marrakech, New York, and Jamaica. I ate like a queen in each. Three simple rules, gleaned from three very different environments, illustrate the ins and outs of eating healthy and delicious fare, particularly on vacation.
We opted for Terrace 5, with its spectacular view of the sculpture garden and health-smart choices like carrot ginger soup, arugula and roasted beets, tuscan kale and farro, and a seared tuna Salad Nicoise.
As for simple, it doesn’t get simpler than rule number three: Do your homework on the internet before you travel. If food is your priority choose a vacation spot that caters to “foodies.” For other Keyword searches think along the lines of “gastronomy,” “gourmet,” “farm to table,” or whatever satisfies your tastes in both cuisine and budget. Always check out the restaurant and menu selections before you travel. After a short half hour of internet surfing, I selected an all-inclusive five star resort in Montego Bay with a commitment to creating exquisite culinary experiences for our family vacation. Welcome to paradise in Jamaica! On this trip, I hit the jackpot - an exotic breathtaking resort filled with sun, sand, and clear blue water, and memorable dining from sun up past sun down. Not to mention Reggae.
While I chose the resort for the whole shebang, it was the first vacation spot I have visited where every family member from age five to fifty years left the table each meal with a smile of satisfaction and a happy tummy. The resort boasted three restaurants, offering steaks and fresh fish, Cajun, and sushi, as well as an international buffet. As a caveat to all that delectable eating, gourmet dining does not always translate to spare dining. There remained ample opportunity, as at most resort restaurants, to choose yummy but heavy foods on the many menu offerings. French fries with that grilled fish burger on a white bread bun sitting at the poolside bar, no problem. Remember on vacation, as at home, an occasional good cheat is the well-deserved prize for consistent healthy eating.
MARCIE WARRINGTON I 1/06/2017
Photography by Cordon Press