Traveling to Cuba with Diabetes
Let me guess: you’re about to be travel to Cuba with Diabetes and you’re wondering:
“Will I be able to manage my diabetes and enjoy my trip to the fullest at the same time?”
Yes, you will, and there is no doubt about it!
“What will I eat during my stay on the Cuban island?“
In this article, we have prepared in this article a general description of Cuban Gastronomy with dozens of dishes, drinks and desserts, all the associated nutritional information, and some useful tips to balance out your Cuban meals in the tastiest manner! You can also download a detailed chapter on Cuban Food with Diabetes right here.
“What if I need to see a doctor, find a pharmacy, or communicate with medical staff while in Havana?”
Don’t worry too much, everything will be fine during your Cuban holidays! And in case something happens, we’ve got you covered with our Medical Guide to Cuba with Diabetes. You can store it in your phone or tablet and have all the necessary information on you at any time to deal with the slightest mishap while traveling to Cuba with diabetes.
“That sounds great! Any tips for keeping my blood sugar levels low while making the most of my holidays?”
Of course! It’s our job to help smooth out your travels 🙂 Have a look at our Touristic Guide to Havana with Diabetes. You’ll find lots of ideas to discover this wonderful city on foot, by bicycle, or in the water to keep yourself shape and your sugar levels low!
After all, traveling to Cuba with diabetes only requires a tiny bit of organization and preplanning. And that’s why we’re here!
1. CUBAN TRADITIONAL FOOD (Carbs, Nutrition, and Diabetes)
Or, How Cuban Traditional Food Fits In With Diabetes
If you’re already familiar with Cuban history, it will be easy for you to understand that its traditional cuisine is a mix of numerous influences: Creole, African, Spanish, and even Chinese! With that being said, you may be disappointed by the monotony of the Cuban diet: there are few spices available, the flavors are somewhat repetitive, and the choices are limited. But rest assured, there is still plenty to set your taste buds free while traveling to Cuba with diabetes!
In order to enjoy the best of Traditional Cuban Food without feeling guilty, and to keep your blood sugar levels within a reasonable range, you’ve just got to plan your meals ahead a bit, know what you can expect to see on your plate, and order accordingly! This article and our full chapter on Cuban Food with Diabetes will provide you with the necessary tips:
AT WHAT TIME DO WE EAT IN CUBA?
- Breakfast (Desayuno), is generally served between 8am and 12am.
- For Lunch (Almuerzo), shoot between 12am and 2pm.
- And for Dinner (Cena), better swing by before 9pm if you want to find any restaurants open.
ARE THERE ANY LOW-CARBS CUBAN DISHES?
Or, what can I eat while Traveling to Cuba with Diabetes?
Of course there are! But be aware that Cuban food is not the most diabetes-friendly cuisine you’ll find around the world. It is indeed very high in carbs… Not to worry, we’ve found some delicious balanced meals that you’ll be able to enjoy worry-free over there! Here is a brief description of 5 of our favorite low-carbohydrates dishes that you’ll find in Cuban restaurants:
Shrimp (camarones in Spanish) cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. In fact, “Enchilados” draws its name from the “salsa enchilada” sauce that you will be served in numerous local dishes. The sauce and the seafood are both very low in carbohydrates. You can therefore make a perfectly balanced meal of it by ordering, for example, the classic Ensalada Mixta as a first course, with a small side of white rice, for instance.
CHILINDRON DE CORDERO
This delicious lamb meat recipe was imported to Cuba by the Basque conquistadores from northern Spain, and it wasn’t long until it was adopted by the local Cuban chefs. The meat is left to simmer over low heat in a tomato, pepper, and onion-based sauce. Super yummy! And practically carb-free. An ideal way to balance out the meal would be to a have a small portion of rice, sautéed vegetables, and a handful of cassava chips on the side.
The Cuban lobster used to be exclusively reserved for export, but is now found in numerous local restaurants. It will be served up grilled or enchilada (in tomato sauce) and at a much more affordable price than back home (approximately 10- 15 CUC in restaurants). Delicious and with no fault whatsoever, it will be a delight! Our suggestion: serve it up with a small portion of white rice, a side salad and a good glass of wine if you happen to find any!
Of purely Spanish origin, the Morcilla is a cooked pork blood sausage. For those of you who know it, its equivalent would be the French black pudding. Very low in carbohydrates. Ideal for an appetizer or to stave off hunger between meals without causing your blood sugar levels to spike when traveling to Cuba with Diabetes.
The Cuban tortilla doesn’t have much to do with the famous Spanish tortilla. In fact, it is more of an omelette that you can find plain or arrayed with cheese, ham, vegetables or others. It can be found everywhere, especially in the local joints on street corners. The tortilla alone does not contain any carbohydrates and is a protein-only dish. A good option for staving off hunger between meals without being in trouble with you glucometer.
WHERE TO FIND HEALTHY FOOD IN HAVANA?
It’s not always easy to find good side dishes in Cuba. Many restaurants only have rice and beans as options. We’ve been there and we’ve put togheter a list of helpful addresses to help you buy and eat healthy food while traveling to Cuba with diabetes.
DIABETES-FRIENDLY CUBAN RESTAURANTS IN HAVANA:
One of our favorites! Wonderful Cuban-style cuisine on a beautiful terrace. They serve the dishes with white rice and viandas fritas, but you can ask to switch them out for delicious sautéed vegetables. Wide range of choices at good prices (4-7 CUC for a full plate).
- Ad: Calle 8 between Calles 5 and 7.
- Tel: (+53) 78 30 07 93
- Open: every day 12am-12pm
Large terrace, right on the Plaza Vieja. A wide variety of local dishes and good side options. Not as expensive as it looks. Probably the best option in this beautiful square.
- Ad: Plaza Vieja, at the corner with Calle San Ignacio.
- Open: everyday until 12pm
On Linea avenue with a balcony seating (a bit noisy), the chef of this restaurant can make marvels out of anything. Most of the dishes have or can be ordered with vegetables on the side. Our favorite: the mixed skewers pierced into a huge half cooked pineapple.
- Ad: Calle Linea, at the corner with Paseo.
- Open: everyday 11.30am 10.30pm
JUGERA DE 6:
Fresh juice, fresh juice, and fresh juice! Fruits, vegetables, cereals, mixes, you can also create your own. And the menu includes nutritional information for every ingredient.
A good option for your breakfast vitamins. Or grab a sugar-free vegetable juice for an afternoon walk on the Malecon. Super affordable: 5-10 national pesos each.
- Ad: Calle 6 at the corner with Calle 3
- Open: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
If you’d like more information on Cuban Food with Diabetes, we invite you to check out our Full Chapter on Cuban Food with Diabetes.
Inside, you’ll find everything you need to know about:
*Traditional Cuban dishes, desserts and drinks, all ranked according to our special “carbometer” so you can get an idea of what you might find on your plate
*Lots of tips to balance out your meals while traveling to Cuba with diabetes
*Nutritional information for every local food you will find in Cuba
*All the Spanish vocabulary you’ll need to order and eat what you like
+20 Good and healthy addresses to shop and eat in Havana
Over 50 photographs, and a lot of fascinating cultural facts and stories!
Here are a few free sample pages along with the full summary of each chapter:
You will be in good hands. Cuba is one of the world’s most advanced countries in the field of medicine.The majority of doctors are or have been trained abroad. Medical studies are financed by the State, and the number of doctors per capita is the highest in the world. Numerous tourists come to Cuba from afar with the sole purpose of receiving treatment.
The Cuban government has set up the national company SERVIMED (Tursimo y Salud – Tourism and Health) providing the necessary medical services to foreigners, thanks to a network of so-called ‘international’ clinics and pharmacies. They are the ones you should contact if you encounter any medical problems on your trip.
The main criticism levelled at the Cuban healthcare system, and it is perfectly justified, is its lack of crucial infrastructures, supplies, and medications. The US embargo as well as the end of Russian aids at the start of the 1990’s particularly isolated the island from a medical and pharmaceutical point of view. Numerous medications developed in American laboratories are not commercialized here, and, although Cuba has its own medical and pharmaceutical research services, the island unfortunately isn’t self-sufficient in this field.
Now you just need to find out how it all works over there in case you need to refer to the Cuban healthcare system while traveling to Cuba with diabetes.
And that’s what Sweet Trip is here for!
104: THE CUBAN EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER
This number (104) is valid throughout the Cuban territory to reach ambulance services, accessible via mobile phone.
CAUTION! The state of the medical ambulances system in Cuba and its reactivity can sometimes be mediocre. If you are able to, it is highly recommended to take a taxi or have someone drive you to the closest international clinic.
In case you need to talk with emergency services on the phone, you can refer to the following free page extracted from our full Medical Guide to Cuba with Diabetes:
What you’ll find inside:
Medical emergencies: how to act fast and where to go
Consultations: general and specialized in diabetology
Pharmacies: how to get your treatment, costs, paperwork, good addresses, etc.
Laboratories: how and where to do your medical tests
Medical vocabulary: useful sentences and English-to-Spanish diabetes dictionary
Local supports and guidance while traveling to Cuba with diabetes
Tips to stay safe while traveling to Cuba with diabetes
To give you a precise idea of what you can find inside, here are some sample pages:
Physical exercise has a key part in our diabetes management. Havana is vast and abounds in tourist attractions as well as hidden nooks to venture into. You have got yourself the perfect opportunity to combine tourism with physical exercise. In case you’re short on time to get organized or if you’re lacking inspiration, we have put together some ideas for discovering the city on foot, by bicycle or in the water.
THE BENEFITS OF WALKING FOR GOOD DIABETES MANAGEMENT
REMEMBER! Whether you have diabetes or not , the World Health Organisation advices adults aged 18–64 to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
That means we all should walk at least 30 minutes a day. And the more we walk, the healthier we’ll be! Walking helps stabilize blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and substantially reduces the risks of developing complications, in particular with regard to cardiovascular diseases. The faster the pace, the more effective it is. And climbing some stairs adds to the effort!
In our Touristic Guide to Cuba with Diabetes, we’ve included everything you need to keep exercising while discovering the wonderful city of Havana!
You’ll find inside:
Walking itineraries taking you to Havana’s main touristic sites of Havana
Free walking tours of the city with local guides
Bicycle tours and rentals information
The best beaches and swimming pools to go for a dip in Havana
Large-scale illustrative photos and plenty of fascinating cultural facts and stories
Yoga, jogging, gym and more!
And to give you a better idea of what you’ll find inside, here are a few free sample pages and the full chapter summary