Healthy eating is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a cruise. You might instead be thinking of the 24 hour buffet. However it is possible to eat healthy. We do it every time we cruise without sacrificing the enjoyment of eating! It all starts with a positive mindset, some willpower (okay maybe a lot of willpower), and a little creativity.
The Basics of Eating Well on a Cruise
- The Buffet – Often times the buffet gets a bad rap, but it can be your best friend when trying to eat well. Start by perusing every option available and then put together the best choices. Of course, salads are usually the best option, but don’t just stick to the salad bar. There are often great choices to add to a salad at the burger condiment bar or the taco salad bar. You can also take a simple baked potato or plain rice and add to it for a healthy and tasty lunch.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask – While eating at the buffet, get to know the chefs that are walking around. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to make special requests. Everyone is usually very accommodating. We tell the head waiter on the first night of dinner about our various diet restrictions. The waiters appreciate this because then for the rest of the cruise they know what to suggest and what needs to be adapted. The last cruise the kitchen created a special and delicious entrée adapted from the regular menu each night. The chef even came out to comment on how he enjoyed the challenge of creating something different for a change.
- Snacking – It is always best to avoid snacking, but if you can’t fresh fruit and vegetables are usually plentiful on board. Use the opportunity to try different fruit options and experiment with different raw vegetable combinations dipped in balsamic. Take advantage of eating all the berries you want since they are usually so expensive at the grocery store!
- Splurge Only Once Per Day – If you can’t resist the urge to try the chocolate dessert at dinner or have a less than healthy option at lunch, that is OK! Just limit the splurge to once and the rest of the day eat healthy. The best way is to just take a taste of what looks irresistible. That will often satisfy your craving and you are not missing out!
- Cocktails – Having a drink or two is one of the joys of cruising. Wine, beer, and cocktails are all a part of our healthy diet. There is nothing wrong with a little indulgence! Try to avoid the deceivingly high sugar, high fat blender drinks. If available, natural juice mixers are the best. Bartenders are very knowledgeable so if you ask, they will let you know what the better drink choices are.
So many of the cruise lines offer healthy options via spa dining or special spa selections on their menus. Several of the lines have “spa cabins” or “spa plans” with higher costs. However, this is not necessary to take advantage of nutritious fare without paying for extras.
Take a look at some of the exciting possibilities to help you eat healthy on a cruise:
Avalon Waterways – Avalon color codes buffet selections to show low calorie, low fat, high fiber, etc.
Celebrity Cruise Line – Celebrity offers a Spa Café outside of the spa on the pool deck. You can work out and easily grab a great meal!
Costa Cruises – Costa Cruises’ has an Italian restaurant, Samsara with a spa menu offering dining for each meal.
Cunard Line – Cunard partnered with the Canyon Ranch to create healthy choices. You not only have access to Canyon Ranch spa services, but also nutritious meal alternatives.
Disney Cruise Line – Disney has the Mickey Check which denotes more nutritious selections.
Norwegian Cruise Line – NCL has added Barong Juice Bars for juices and smoothies.
Princess Cruise Line – Princess highlights several “light” options on each of their menus.
Royal Caribbean – Royal Caribbean offers “Vitality” choices on each menu. These are healthier options, but don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or special preparation to further suit your needs.
Silversea – Silversea allows you to place orders in advance in the any of the dining rooms for preferred dietary and healthy requests. They will take your request and make it into a gourmet feast.
What are you tips for eating healthy while on vacation? Let us know in the comments!