If you’re on a diet, it can be tough to go on a cruise given all the endless unhealthy temptations on ships. But if you can put your blinders on, ships also offer just as many healthy options that taste just as good. The trick is to tread carefully.
Here are 7 ways you could end up busting your diet on your cruise.
With endless food options available round-the-clock like self-serve ice cream, a pizza bar, and room service, it’s not easy to refrain from “grazing” all day long or from going back for Round 2. But the lido buffet will be back again the next day (I promise), so there’s no reason to eat multiple platefuls in one sitting. If you can eat an entire plate of food and you’re still hungry, go grab a banana from the buffet. Bananas are high in carbs so they will help you feel full, but they’re much healthier than, for example, a 2,000+ calorie plate at Guy’s Burgers.
2. Not staying active
Dieting is not just about eating right; it’s also about staying active. Whether you plan to hit the ship’s gym or just use the stairs instead of taking the elevators, make it a point to keep your body moving. If you’re worried you’ll step on the ship and all your good intentions for staying active will vanish, make a plan before you go. For some, that may be hitting the gym at least 3 times throughout the cruise. For others, it may mean walking a mile on the track in the morning. Wherever you’re at fitness-wise, just keep it moving!
3. Fried food
French fries, fried seafood, fried chicken… Cruise ships are bursting with fried food options. But I think we know fried food has no redeeming health qualities. If you’re trying to stick to a diet, tell yourself you’re only going to allow yourself a certain amount of fried meals, e.g., 2-3 on a 7-day cruise, so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out but you’re also not losing all healthy progress. Both the lido buffet and main dining room offer salads, grilled seafood and meat options, and sauteed and steamed vegetable sides that are much healthier choices.
4. Syrupy drinks
Most of the drinks offered on cruise ships are full of syrups and sugars. If you can drink your liquor straight or neat, that’s your best option. But if you need to cut it with something sweet, opt for mixed drinks that lack flavored syrups in favor of fresh fruit juices. While fruit juices are still high in sugar, that’s at least natural sugar from the fruit as opposed to the refined sugar in the syrups, which is horrible for you.
5. All-inclusive drink packages
For one, these are dangerous because they allow you to order all the sugary, syrupy drinks you want. But they can also be dangerous for the other drinks they include. For example, Carnival improved its Cheers! program to include soda, sports drinks, coconut water, milkshakes, specialty coffees, etc. However, a can of soda or a sports drink can have as much as 40 grams of sugar in it, which is like drinking almost a 1/4 cup of sugar. And milkshakes are high in fat, sugar, and calories, so the only redeeming quality for them is how good they taste! Unfortunately, the same goes for specialty coffee once you start adding in pumps of flavored, sugary syrups and preservative-laden creams.
6. Not indulging a little
Indulge yourself here and there. If you try too hard to eat nothing but salads and grilled chicken while there are buffets of fried seafood and cake desserts all over the ship, at some point you’ll break down and eat everything you can see. Rather than completely derailing, give yourself a cheat or two every day. You’re on vacation, after all.
7. Late-night eating
This can sometimes be a necessary evil after a long night of drinking, but try to avoid late night eating at all costs. Eating a big, heavy meal right before going to bed is counter-productive to your diet because studies have shown that your body has a harder time metabolizing carbs and a decreased glucose tolerance late at night, so your body won’t digest your food as well.
What is your cruise diet buster?