8 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Cruise
Cruises are always an excuse to splurge. Isn't that the point? To relieve yourself of the stresses and responsibilities of everyday life? Sure it is. But taking a total vacation from diet and exercise can do more harm than good, especially when you're tempted by a three different buffets.
So while a cruise may seem like the perfect reason to splurge on all the food and drink your heart desires, it might not be the best idea. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to completely restrict yourself! You should most certainly indulge in the local cuisine and treat yourself… within reason.

Fortunately, it's easier than you would think to manage healthy eating on a cruise, even if you have an awesome all-inclusive package. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1
Portion Control
Whether it's piled-high plates at the buffet or stuffing in all four courses in the formal dining room, control can be one of the hardest parts about eating on a cruise. You want to try it all—but it's too easy to overeat. Always air on the conservative side when filling up your plate, and don't be afraid to skip a course to prevent yourself from overeating.
2
Balance
In coordination with portion control is the importance of balance, both within a meal and throughout the many meals in the day. If you have a particularly big meal planned, balance it out with a lighter meal or light snacks instead of another heavy meal. On the other hand, during each meal, be sure to balance your plate. Don't forget to include healthy fats and proteins, fruits and vegetables, and avoid the fatty, greasy foods for every meal.
3
Sharing
Some treats are too good to resist. And you're on vacation, feel free to indulge! But do so in moderation, and consider splitting that slice of cake or triple-chocolate dessert with a friend. You'll still get to enjoy the treat, without overdoing it.
4
Slow Down!
It can take your stomach up to 20 minutes to communicate to your brain that you're full. Eating too fast can result in overeating, simply because it takes too long for your brain to catch up. Try taking smaller bites. Chew your food slowly. Put your fork down between bites. You're on vacation, so you shouldn't be in any rush! Slow down and enjoy your food.
5
Only Eat at Meals
There's no shortage of opportunities to eat on a cruise outside of regular mealtimes. From mid-morning snacks to afternoon ice cream to midnight pizza or room service, temptation is abound. Self-control will be your best friend when these opportunities present themselves. Try to limit eating to actual meals, or follow tip #2—if you want to enjoy a late night meal, have a light dinner.
6
Make Smart Drinking Choices
This tip has a much broader application than just healthy eating on a cruise… but I digress. Alcohol can be one of the biggest culprits to bad diet habits while on vacation. The sugary, fruity cocktails that cruises are most known for are the worst offenders. While certainly delicious, it's all empty calories. Before you know it, you'll have consumed your daily calorie intake without even realizing it. And enough of these drinks can lead to poor food choices, too. Consider drinking wine or light beer instead, or better yet, opting for a few days off from drinking entirely.
7
Drink LOTS of Water
On the topic of liquid consumption, remember to drink lots of water on a cruise. In additional to the fact that you need to stay hydrated while outside in the heat, water can help you feel fuller before a meal, thus encouraging you to control how much you eat. It can also help you control alcohol intake.
8
Track Your Meals
Technology has really upped its game in the health and fitness category. A number of mobile apps exist to help you track your meals—MyFitnessPal, LoseIt!, and SparkPeople are a few examples. Many wearable apps will also do this, such as the Fitbit or Jawbone apps. You can use these programs to estimate your nutrition and calorie intake, so you can better manage your diet even while on a cruise. It does require a bit of work to enter your meals, but apps like MyFitnessPal have an extensive library of foods already entered to choose from. It's just a matter of entering in what you ate and choosing an option that best fits.
Conclusion
It's important to note that good eating is only one-half of the equation when it comes to staying healthy on a cruise. It's also important to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. But following these tips will ensure that you maintain an acceptable diet, which would nicely complement a decent exercise schedule. Don't feel like you can't indulge here and there—just make sure you balance it out with healthy choices as much as you can!

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