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Six Weeks to Summer Series: Day 6 – How to Eat Healthy on a Cruise Ship

It is Day 6 of this 42-day series on Six Weeks to Summer: A Traveler’s Fitness Plan.

After visiting Xiamen, China yesterday, our ship set sail for Japan. We have two days at sea before arriving in our first Japanese city.  Two days of being on board and having food readily available 24×7. Temptations everywhere.

  • Buffet open all day and night
  • Outdoor grilling of hot dogs,hamburgers and fries (just try to sit by the pool and not catch the grilling smells.
  • Ice cream sundaes
  • Full serve restaurants open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Room service anytime
  • Warm cookies and milk while watching an outdoor movie on a cool night
  • And, of course, popcorn for the movie

I feel the pounds coming back on just typing this list!

Being on a cruise while wanting to eat healthy and lose weight sounds impossible, though it’s really not. Sure, the chocolate cake gives you a wink every time you walk by and the french fries want to jump onto your plate, but there are many ways to eat a healthy diet:

  1. Talk with the maitre’d about dietary restrictions (gluten-free, no dairy, etc.) and special menus will be created for you.
  2. From the buffet, fill your plate with a majority of salad ingredients including a variety of veggies, nuts, seeds and olives.
  3. Also at the buffet, there is typically a lean protein choice or two (fish, chicken, beef) to select from.
  4. When eating at a restaurant, order your food prepared the way you want it (no sauce, little oil, etc.) from their variety of offerings.
  5. Ask for multiples of a food item if desired. For example, if cocktail shrimp are on the appetizer menu but you’d like this to top a salad or as your main dish, ask for two orders. Order as much as you want of the foods that you want.
  6. Order room service for any meal (wise choice if you feel weight gain just by walking through the buffet).
  7. Ask for fresh fruit to be delivered to your room for healthy snacking.

For example, we ate at the restaurant for breakfast. I asked for two orders of smoked salmon, but with no bagel or cream cheese.

When brought to the table, I had a plate of salmon (about 4-5 ounces) with six slices of tomato along with onion and capers. Hot water with slices of lemon is what I asked for to drink. This meal easily keeps me full until lunch time.

Day6MealLunch was a big salad (perhaps 2 cups of lettuce) with cucumbers, cabbage, red and yellow peppers, slivered almonds topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For protein, I added two slices of roast beef from the carving station.

Dinner was at a pizza restaurant. There was only one food choice here that wasn’t pizza or pasta, and that was a Caesar salad. I ordered it without the dressing and without the croutons. Instead, I used a bit of olive oil and vinegar. I didn’t think about telling them to forget the cheese, so there was grated Parmesan on the salad. Oh well, a bit of cheese won’t hurt too much since my calories and food choices for the day have overall been very good.

As for beverages — I drink a lot of water. Hot water with lemon in the morning, and cool water throughout the day and evening. Perhaps a cup or two of black coffee as well.  I also like a glass of red wine, so I’ve been having about a 3 to 4-oz glass on some, not all, nights. A wine spritzer is another choice (half wine, half club soda). I stay away from milk, soda, beer and hard liquor.

So even on sea days when food is around 24×7, it is possible to eat healthy meals on a cruise ship.

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