One of the best things about vacationing in a villa with a fully equipped kitchen is the option of cooking your own food. (But not every meal. What’s a vacation without a little restaurant hopping?)
You can also customize dishes for specific tastes, appetites and nutritional needs; vegan, low-sodium, gluten-free, no-carb — whatever you need.
Making a few things yourself can save more than enough money to splurge when you do choose to dine out at a local bistro. Besides, for couples, families and friends, cooking and eating together is a terrific bonding experience.
Shop Don’t Drop
Most resorts are close to shopping areas where you can easily pick up a few staples — milk, eggs, butter, bread, fruit, cold cuts — or anything else you need, ranging from tofu to prime rib. Be as ambitious or as modest as you like. You can also bring a few things with you from home.
There’s even an online cookbook with some specific recipes here, but recipes aside, let’s get into strategy and some general directions for eating and preparing meals without turning your fun getaway into work-filled drudgery.
Let’s start with breakfast. Your villa has a toaster, oven and range, so fry some eggs, make pancakes (with premade batter, available at most supermarkets — don’t forget the syrup!), bacon, bagels, toast, muffins — whatever you like. Don’t forget orange or cranberry juice! A surprisingly inexpensive morning feast can be assembled quickly with just a little planning and effort. Have the kids or others pitch in and turn it into a fun thing!
If you prefer breakfast cereal, buy a few single-serving portions or a small box to last the length of your stay. Add dry or fresh fruit and you’re got a healthy and nourishing way to start your day with very little expense; cups of yogurt, granola — store in your fridge and you’re ready for breakfast without getting dressed up or leaving your villa.
Preparing lunch on the go is also easy. Many markets sell precut vegetables and fruit, sliced cold cuts, bread, rolls, peanut butter and more. Grab some jelly, mustard or mayo and you’re good to go. Boil a few eggs for a simple egg salad, open a can of tuna, broil a few hot dogs … the trick is to keep it simple.
Many of the breakfast and lunch items can serve as between-meal snacks. Add an apple, pears, some dried fruit, cheese sticks and bread. Trail mix, granola, protein bars and other dry treats are great on-the-go eats. It’s probably wise to stay away from sugary snacks, cookies and cakes, but that’s a personal choice. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Your dinner can also be as simple or as complicated as you like. Anything you serve for lunch can be served for dinner. (And breakfast for dinner is certainly an option, too.) If you want to get a little fancier, many supermarkets sell prepared meals that can be heated and embellished with side dishes, sauces and more. Add a bottle of your favorite beverage, a nice pastry for dessert and you’re all set. But if you have access to a grill, you can broil ribs, steaks, burgers, chops, chicken, fish — even some tasty grilled vegetables — and enjoy a very satisfying feast.
A little thought and preparation goes a long way. But if any of this is too much for you and you’d rather not cook during your resort stay, no worries! There are always plenty of other dining choices and takeout options. Relax. Enjoy!
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Photo credit: Family Eating Lunch by Bill Branson