Are you laughing at the title of this post? I was just complaining to a friend about how hard it was to eat healthy on the cruise ship we took this summer, and she basically laughed in my face and said, “Carrie, nobody goes on a cruise to eat healthy.” Yes, this is probably true for 99.999999% of cruise ship travelers, but it wasn’t for me!!!
My husband and I chose to go on a cruise for the easy of traveling between locations (i.e. not having to drive abroad, not having to pack and un-pack, having the luxury we wanted, etc.). But, I see my friend’s point. Cruise ship dining and health don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Be it with the 24-hour room service, the outrageously tempting dessert buffets, or simply the rich food, cruise ships have earned their reputation as potentially very unhealthy environments. I have fallen into the trap of eating too much on a cruise and then suffering the consequences of feeling less healthy and fit when I get home.
I’m excited to report that after spending 15 days on a cruise ship this summer, I came up with some strategies for how to eat healthy while cruising. These tips come from experience, as this was something like my 5th cruise. I most certainly didn’t eat perfectly, but I also came home feeling good without feeling like I missed out on the culinary part of it.
My 10 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Cruise Ship:
- Disclose your dietary preferences at the time of booking. For me, that’s gluten- and dairy-free. I have had to pick and choose different operators depending on their willingness to accommodate special dietary needs, but it’s becoming more and more common these days.
- Eat a big salad every day. Salad bars on cruise ships are usually absolutely beautiful and full of fresh veggies and toppings.
- Bring extras with you. If you love a certain type of granola for breakfast or you have a strong preference for tea or something like that, bring it with you! I loved added a topping of granola to the gluten-free porridge I got at the breakfast bar to help add healthy fat, fiber, and crunch to the meal (you can see all the snacks I brought with me here).
- Ask for steamed vegetables instead of sautéed. I prefer to have my fat in the form of butter on my baked potato or a on a gluten-free roll (I eat dairy-free, but I can tolerate butter), so I routinely asked for my veggies to be steamed instead of sautéed.
- Avoid tea time baked sweets. Choose fruit instead. Afternoon tea can be tricky with so many sweets available. A healthier option is fruit or something with protein like a hard-boiled egg or nuts.
- Choose healthy (or healthy-ish) desserts. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to be abstinent in terms of dessert. I chose simply desserts like sorbets and gluten-free cookies as opposed to the richer cakes and ice creams.
- Eat breakfast, preferably with protein. These Vital Proteins collagen single-serving packs came in handy. They blend easily into any liquid.
- Minimize alcohol intake. Have a sip or a very small glass of red wine with lunch or dinner. Alcoholic beverages are empty calories so going light on the drinking is a healthy choice.
- Drink enough water for you. Our cruise had mineral water available, and that was my drink of choice. Hydration is important when traveling in general.
- Enjoy the experience!!! I’m always about enjoying food and the experience of eating. Making healthier choices doesn’t take away any of the joy, especially if you’re easy on yourself and just do your best. Perfection is not the goal, but finding that balance between reasonable and indulgent is the challenge. Find a way to splurge a little bit every day or at every meal.
Have you cruised before? Do you have any tips I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t miss a recipe! Join my weekly newsletter list to get all the latest news and recipe links delivered directly to your inbox.
Sign up now and unsubscribe at any time. I will never sell your name or spam you, I promise!