Dieting is hard work. Keto travel can be tricky. It’s not like you’re likely to encounter a keto buffet at an all inclusive resort, right? Could I navigate my way past the cream puffs and still have a great vacation?
I visited Beaches Turks and Caicos for Social Media on the Sand and part of my stay was hosted. All opinions are my own.
Planning a trip to an all inclusive resort when you follow a special diet is always a source of anxiety. After months of hard work to get into and stay in ketosis, I worried… would I be able to keep it Keto at Beaches Turks and Caicos? This all inclusive resort is world renowned for their culinary excellence. Lavish buffets and restaurants dot the grounds and diners look forward to tasty treats, day and night.
Could I stay on a ketogenic diet at an all inclusive resort?
Vacation time is indulging time. We don’t have to cook. We don’t have to clean. It’s easy to get carried away. But I didn’t want to lose the benefits I was enjoying on my strict diet.
I started my keto lifestyle months before I headed to Beaches on vacation. Weight loss was just one reason that I was following the diet. To be honest, It wasn’t yielding dramatic results in that department. Most likely because I was already following a low carb, gluten free and low glycemic diet. My loss – roughly ten pounds, took over four months of strict keto.
But the rewards of keto for me are not just weight related. My bloodwork is better – less inflammation, lower blood sugar and fewer migraines. I was finally able to discontinue all reflux medications. And I was having far, far fewer allergic reactions. I felt better. I didn’t want to give that feeling up, not even at an all inclusive buffet.
Keto travel tips and tricks that have worked for me:
Staying in ketosis means hitting your macros. It’s essential to have the right amounts of protein and fat, and critical not to have too many carbs. Getting too hungry is dangerous as it can lead to bad choices. Even seemingly innocent things, like a piece of fruit can undermine all your hard work and efforts. A single apple can kick you out of ketosis. Using an app like Bite Snap can really help you stay on track and keep track of exactly how many carbs you have consumed.
I’ve learned some travel tricks and hacks since starting keto. I almost always carry some keto friendly staples with me. But traveling to other countries with food can be tricky. I didn’t want to have to pack a suitcase full of food when headed to a resort that is well known for their dining options. Still I packed some essentials into my carry on and checked bags. If nothing else, these would get me through a couple of long days of travel.
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My favorite keto travel food items include:
The electrolyte powder is great when you want a treat – ask for a bartender to blend it with ice and water for an Icee beverage. Cream and Stevia in a cup of coffee or chai tea are great for warding off dessert deprivation feelings.
The items above are my travel pantry. I can get through at least a couple days of travel with these items and some fresh veggies, eggs, cheese or other airport staples! Better safe than sorry…
Special Diets are accommodated by the culinary concierge at Beaches Turks and Caicos, but what about staying keto at this all inclusive resort?
I’m already familiar with the accommodations that Beaches happily makes for their guests with allergies and special diets. I’ve been gluten-free for almost 20 years and on each of my past visits to the resort I have met with one of their culinary concierges, to come up with a plan for eating safely. Their concierge goes above and beyond and their chefs are conscientious and caring.
Meeting with the concierge is your best bet for sticking to a strict (and safe) diet and I would recommend that you do this if your diet demands any kind of careful attention. Their culinary concierge will help you make a plan to keep you safely fed as you make your way to each assorted restaurant on the property. Note: this will require you to make plans and reservations for where you will eat your meals, so that the chef can be prepared.
Staying Keto on vacation is not the same as dealing with a life threatening allergy – but it’s still mission critical for many of us.
For me, when it came to keto dieting on vacation, I wasn’t dealing with a life threatening allergy. I didn’t want to overly limit my choices of where and when to eat with my family. We tend to make a lot of last minute decisions, and then change our minds. I wasn’t sure whether the chefs would really understand the very specific low carb requirements for my keto diet. So I decided to see if I could figure it out on my own, belly up to the buffet with my family.
Fortunately I am pretty knowledgeable about food in general. Given the variety of food available at this “luxury included” all inclusive, I was pretty sure I could turn the regular buffet into a keto buffet for myself.
Note: If in doubt you should always ask. The chefs at Beaches are all very well versed in common allergens and dietary restrictions.
Sticking to my keto diet on vacation was easier than expected. Here’s what my vacation keto buffet looked like:
Keto Friendly Resort Breakfast Options:
Beaches lavish breakfast buffets included freshly made items that you could make work at any resort including:
- Fresh omelettes with ingredients like spinach, mushroom, bacon and and cheese
- Hard boiled, scrambled or fried eggs
- Bacon and sausage
- Cold cuts
- Several types of cheese
- Low carb berries like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I snuck these in as a low carb “treat.”
I had the best luck dining at Mario’s, Reflections and Giuseppe’s for breakfast. All three locations offered lavish buffets.
Keto Friendly Lunch Buffet Options:
My favorite places to lunch at Beaches involved several keto staples that I enjoy at home as well:
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Salad Bars
Beaches Bayside restaurant has a wonderful lunch buffet that is packed with salads and fresh seafood including grilled fish and tuna salad. It’s impossible to feel deprived snacking on a mountain of shrimp.
The Jerk Shack is a protein/fat filled treat. Deliciously spiced meat is simply grilled in foil, and served on the beach. You can choose between fish, chicken and pork – or order all 3.
Most of the lunch buffets throughout the resort included plain grilled or roasted meat, cheeses and a selection of salads. Oil and vinegar dressings are available.
I ate my fill of leafy greens each and every day I was on vacation at Beaches.
Ketogenic Diet Friendly Dinner Restaurant Options:
Most restaurants have simple grilled meat and steamed vegetable options that work nicely for keto dieters and this is certainly also true for the restaurants at Beaches Turks and Caicos. I was able to order simple grilled scallops, chicken breast, and steaks without sauce. Most appetizers can also be broken down and served without carb laden ingredients and sauces, upon request.
Other keto friendly resort dining options at Beaches Turks and Caicos included:
Sashimi at Soy
Bun-free burgers at assorted locations throughout the resort.
Surf and Turf at Sapodillas
Keto diet items I missed having on vacation
On thing I had a hard time eating enough of on vacation, was healthy vegetable fats. Avocado was in short supply and there were almost no nuts or nut butter that I was able to find (possibly for allergy reasons). I was delighted to be able to obtain heavy cream for my coffee when I requested it at breakfast at Mario’s. On a future trip I might bring coconut oil, or another source of plant based fat.
Evenings were a bit tricky for me as it was “dessert time” for everyone else. Smelling the rich chocolate desserts and ice cream did make me a little sad. This is when it was nice to have a little stevia and cream to mix into a coffee. Dark chocolate might also be a welcome addition to my stash on a future visit.
So… Did I stay Keto the whole time? Not exactly, and that’s ok.
Keto cheat days on vacation don’t have to derail you entirely
I wish I could say I was 100% perfect with my keto diet on vacation, but I wasn’t. I knew that if I didn’t allow for a couple of cheat days I would feel a little deprived and sorry for myself. So I planned my “cheating” for a couple of days, and did not go too wild. All things in moderation. My goal was to stay away from processed sugar and grains, but to allow myself to eat more fruits and veggies for the last two days.
I also enjoyed a couple of cocktails (made with vodka, soda water and unsweetened iced tea) on my cheat days.
I’m happy to report that I did not get sick, I did not gain any weight, and I managed to keep it strictly Keto for most, if not all, of my time at Beaches Turks and Caicos. I had no problem getting back to my normal levels when I returned home.
In fact, I think it was easier for me to stick to a Keto diet on vacation at Beaches, than it is at home!
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