10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Cruise
We just returned from a fabulous 7 day cruise to the Caribbean! It was over Christmas, in the middle of a Utah winter, so the warm climate was just what I needed! If you want to stay healthy on a cruise or vacation, read my tips below!
My Healthy Cruise Story
About 3 weeks ago, I started working with a nutrition coach to start prepping for a fitness competition! My intention is to compete in a June 2020 show in Salt Lake and enter the Wellness category. This has been a bucketlist of mine for a very long time, but the timing was never good for me. Now, getting into my “empty nesting” years, and slowing down with my online business, I decided it’s the PERFECT time to compete.
The fact that I had just started preparing and had also made a commitment to myself, my husband and my coach meant I was pretty motivated to stay on track, even though 20 hour buffets were ahead. To my surprise, it wasn’t difficult at all. I didn’t lose weight, but I also didn’t gain.
Staying healthy on a cruise is challenging, but it really enhanced the experience! I had plenty of energy to enjoy everything about the week, and I never felt tired or stuffed from eating too much. Here’s what I did to stay healthy and what I ate!
Tips for a Healthy Cruise
- I stuck to 3 MEALS PER DAY. If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you’ll know that no snacking is the easiest way for me to maintain my health goals, and not over eat. Eating three meals and no snacks, even if those meals are huge, is still fewer calories than grazing all day.
- DESSERT: I chose fruit for dessert! When we ate dinner at the restaurant, fruit plates were always in the choices for dessert. It wasn’t indulgent, but I felt so good after dinner for not overdoing it, that I was happy to make that choice. I never ate the dessert for lunch. However, I did try the sugar free ice cream one night. And, I also enjoyed a DIVINE white chocolate cake for my daughter’s birthday. Staying healthy on the cruise doesn’t mean you can’t also have a good time!
- I balanced a protein and carb at BREAKFAST. Every single day for breakfast, I had the same food. I ate a bowl of oatmeal and scrambled egg whites. The staff made omelettes to order, so that was easy. On the days I didn’t want to wait in the omelette line, I grabbed 4 hard boiled eggs, and ate the egg whites out of 3 of them, and a whole egg for the fourth one.
- For LUNCH, I enjoyed the “rotisserie” options. Every day they were slicing up chicken, turkey, or beef. I added some veggies by making a small salad, and a bowl of sliced up melons.
- For DINNER we would eat in the complimentary restaurant. For a starter I had small salads, small soups, or a veggie plate (zucchini one day). For the main course, I chose a meat option with a veggie. One night was steak and potato. One night was chicken and Brussels sprouts. One night was meatballs. There was always a protein plus veggie choice. And, the servings were actually quite small!
- Avoid the BREAD BASKET! The hardest thing of the trip, even above not letting the desserts tempt me, was the bread basket at dinner, while we waited for our food. I was usually STARVING by the time we sat for dinner, and so the bread basket was very tempting. I did usually have one or two rolls, but it still didn’t wreck my goals because I was so good the rest of the day. Practicing self control can do a lot to help you stay healthy on a cruise.
- I packed PROTEIN BARS from home to take out on our excursions. Costco has a knock off Quest style bar that travels very well. Bars with chocolate melt, so I don’t like to travel with those.
- WATER! We brought our own water bottles that we filled up at the buffet drink station (pouring the water from a cup into our water bottle). While tedious, doing this all day was great! I for sure got 80 ounces of water each day, using a 33 ounce water bottle.
- I WEIGHED MYSELF every morning in the gym. As long as my weight stayed consistent, I felt good about my efforts. It also helped me remember my goals. Having something or someone to keep you accountable is a great way to promote healthy eating and practices on a cruise.
- I WORKED OUT in the gym each morning. There were too many people in the gym to lift weights, but I did do squats, lunges, and the treadmill. If the treadmills were too full, I simply walked around the outside track on the ship. I LOVED doing this. I also had a goal of getting in 20,000 steps and taking the stairs from the top 19th floor, to the bottom 4th floor, at least twice a day.
That’s what I did!! I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I felt great, I had energy, and I didn’t gain weight, which always feels good. As you will see from the tips, I didn’t do anything crazy to stay healthy. With just a few mindful tweaks, I was able to enjoy a healthy cruise experience!
Great ideas, Amy!!! I can use your ideas to improve my own cruise experience. You did amazing!