Being a picky eater definitely has its downside, especially when you are traveling. Recently I heard a crazy account from friends that had visiting relatives in town. Long story short, the kids were ultra picky kids and did not want to eat hardly anything beyond chips and salsa and some days that was a stretch for them depending on what restaurant the adults chose.
In some cases, it is not just about being a picky eater, one of my readers named Sheena wrote me that she and her youngest son both have Celiac Disease which is an autoimmune disease. Celiac does not produce an immediate allergic reaction like someone with a nut or seafood allergy would have. The person would get sick either within a few hours or the following day and symptoms are like a really bad food poisoning, and it can take days to feel back to normal. Not something you would want to experience on vacation, giving Sheena reason to be very cautious about where her family eats and why. She wanted to know what kind of healthy options there were in restaurants in San Pedro. They needed to eat a gluten and dairy free diet, which she said was a bit of a pain when traveling.
Healthy Eating Options
Some of the best restaurants in San Pedro offer healthy options for people with special dietary needs. Casa Picasso is the big winner on gluten-free dining in San Pedro. They have 14 items on their menu including some desserts. Blue Water Grill and Wild Mango’s also have a few gluten-free options on their menus. They all have great drink selection too.
Even though I know she was likely used to it, I recommended she tell their server they were both gluten-free to ensure the chef took extra care preparing the food.
(Note while I do eat gluten-free sometimes these pictures from the 3 restaurants listed above are not a representation of that).
Gluten-free Shopping Options
For those that do not mind cooking a bit while on vacation, Greenhouse store on Pescador Dr. (Middle St.) sells gluten free products and have been getting a larger selection of Bob’s Red Mill brand items. Super Buy grocery store in town has Quaker brand gluten-free rice cakes and pairing them with yummy organic Belize peanut butter available at Big Tree store on Middle Street, is a nice snack option.
Mainland Gluten-Free Options
This time around Sheena and her family had only planned to visit Ambergris Caye. Knowing there was a strong chance they would fall in love with Belize and come back, for future reference and for others traveling to other parts of the country I decided to add a couple other places where you can eat gluten- free. The restaurant at the Lodge at Cha Creek Macal River, San Ignacio will cater to gluten-free diets. Chef Edwin at Turtle Inn Placencia, will prepare gluten-free food. Blancaneaux Lodge Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve also has gluten-free choices.
Back to the Island and Food for the Masses
One of the great things about being on Ambergris Caye is that there are a variety of cuisines to choose from and they are all as different as the people, cultures, and languages you’ll witness around this beautiful island.
If you really want to eat like the locals know this when seeking local food. Rice & beans, stewed chicken, and salad is one of the main dishes of the country, and you won’t go wrong with practically any place that serves it. The list of “to try” in the breakfast section consists of meat pies, beans with eggs, cheese & flour tortillas, burritos, tacos and stuffed fry jacks. For Lunch try that rice & beans selection, or stewed beans and rice with any meat selection, varying from chicken, pork, fish, lobster, beef, shrimp or conch whether it’s stewed, baked, fried or grilled. For supper try the famous pupusas, tostadas, garnaches. Dinner menus also include BBQ (usually chicken or ribs), soups, and of course, rice and beans fall under this category too – I mean you really can’t go wrong.
As for drinks, there is a wide selection of imported canned and bottled drinks, but what I recommend are the natural juices. Being tropical means there is a wide variety of fruits to choose from such as orange, lime, watermelon, cantaloupe, banana, and the list goes on. Also, remember to find out what’s in-season while you are here, something always is.
Restaurants in San Pedro Belize that come well recommended by both picky eaters and food adventurers
- Antojitos – Great lunch menu, they do breakfast and dinner too.
- Boogy’s Belly – Awesome local breakfast.
- Briana’s Deli – Great local dinner option.
- Caliente’s – Mexican food with a Caribbean sea view.
- El Fogon – Great lunch and dinner and don’t forget key lime pie for dessert.
- Elvi’s Kitchen – Try their Friday night Mayan Buffet also known for good fried chicken and their seafood.
- Estel’s – Yummy breakfast and can’t beat the view also try Charles weekend barbecue – heaven.
- Lily’s Treasure Chest – Breakfast and lunch with great people watching.
- Robin’s Kitchen – South of town tasty lunch and early dinner BBQ.
- Waruguma – Outstanding pupusas and big burritos.
- For a truly local experience, street food in the park at night.
Enjoy eating on the island and remember Belizeans don’t really ‘do’fat-free so be ready to do a few extra crunches when you return home.