I have always wanted to experience the fun of being on a cruise ship and stopping at various ports of call. Family members of mine have been on cruises and besides all of the cool places they’ve visited, the second most talked about topic was the food!
Cruise ships appear to me to be a giant city on a ship. They have all types of restaurants, some being buffets, and some open 24/7! There is no shortage of food on a cruise.
That is why the average weight gain for many people during a cruise is 7 to 10 pounds! Being surrounded by food galore, including high-calorie beverages (soda, coffee drinks, cocktails, etc.) can seriously add on the pounds if you’re not careful.
If you are about to vacation on a cruise ship in the near future, here are some tips to keep weight gain at bay while still enjoying yourself at every meal.
First, Let’s Take a Look at Cruise Ship Life
Cruise ships look awesome! First off, they are huge. They have all sorts of activities to keep you busy between stops. Stopping at ports of call look amazing as well. I can imagine leaving the ship and visiting someplace new and exploring.
I came across this cool cruise ship video by Joshua Tongol (I subscribe to his channel on YouTube) and his wife taking a cruise on a Carnival cruise line.
They did a great job at capturing what it’s like to vacation on a ship:
Besides all of the things to do, have you noticed all of the food available? All of their meals looked scrumptious and a bulk of the video features them enjoying a lot of delicious looking food.
There is even one part of the video in which they mention a restaurant offering pizza 24 hours a day! Pizza is one of my favorite junk foods. How difficult would it be to resist 24 hours of pizza while you’re vacationing on a cruise ship?
There never seems to be a time on a cruise ship where food isn’t readily available!
How to Pace Yourself During Meal Time
Being on a cruise can be so much fun and part of the enjoyment are the meal times. You will be bombarded by all types of food and it is no wonder that many people leave the cruise 7 to 10 pounds heavier than when they arrived.
There is no reason not to enjoy the variety of food available. You’ll simply need a plan before diving in. These suggestions are from the viewpoint of eating buffet style meals. However, you can still adapt it to meals you order off of a menu.
People often make the mistake of going for the heavy carb-filled food first like breads and pasta. If you start off with such items, you’re sure to have eaten way more than you should.
Instead, grab a plate and head directly for the salad bar. I can almost guarantee that the salad area will have the shortest line. Fill your plate with lots of leafy greens and other vegetables. Don’t fill your salad with cheese and heavy dressing. Choose a lighter dressing option like a vinaigrette.
If ordering from a menu, keep the same idea. A house salad is typically a safe bet so long as you stick to a light dressing.
Second Course – Lean Protein
If you’re a meat eater, now it’s time to select your protein. This should be easy as most buffets/restaurants offer grilled versions of most protein. Opt for grilled fish or chicken. Avoid obvious poor choices like battered, deep fried meat or greasy fast-food burgers.
Be mindful of your sides as well. Always search out the healthier options. For example, sweet potatoes (not fried), whole wheat pasta/bread, etc.
Third Course – Dessert
By this point, you should feel pretty full. Yet, there are those of us who have what I jokingly refer to as “the dessert stomach” – an extra area in the stomach where there’s always room for dessert.
Needless to say, that is a silly notion, but if you feel like dessert then fruit is an obvious healthier option. If you want something more tempting, then look for desserts that are served in smaller portions. Most buffets serve desserts like cake and cookies in smaller serving sizes which is great.
Burn Calories on the Cruise
What is awesome about cruise ships is that they have gyms on board. I’ve even seen some that offer cardio classes, yoga classes, and more. There are lots of things to do to burn calories on the ship.
Take the time every day of your vacation to get in at least 30 minutes of intense movement. You don’t necessarily need the gym to workout. You can find enough space to perform bodyweight exercises and do 3 rounds of a bodyweight circuit.
Burning calories can help balance out what you may eat on the cruise. If you end up eating more at one meal than you had hoped, do some extra physical activity later in the day or first thing in the morning.
Physical Fitness on a Cruise Ship
A Carnival Cruise offers some of the following fitness related features:
- Jogging track
- Fitness center (gym)
- Fitness classes
- SkyFitness (gym on top of the cruise ship)
- WaterWorks (water park)
- SkyCourse (obstacle course in the sky)
Other Helpful Tips to Avoid Cruise Ship Weight Gain
When it comes down to it, portion control will serve you well on a cruise ship. Realize that you won’t be deprived of anything when it comes to meal time. Portion your meals and you can still enjoy many of the delights aboard the cruise.
Bring Along Your Favorite Nutritional Supplement or Meal Replacement
If you’re going to pack a healthy meal replacement shake in your luggage, might I recommend Shakeology? It can be used as a meal replacement but also as a healthy snack in between meals that may help you from feeling starved and overeating at your next meal.
They come in convenient travel sized packets and you don’t need a blender to mix them up. Any blender bottle will do.
Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition. It’s simply the most delicious, superfood-packed protein shake on the planet. Shakeology contains more than 70 super-nutritious ingredients: Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals to help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients to help detoxify and protect the body against free radical damage.
Are you a cruise ship veteran? Do you have any advice on how to keep the extra pounds off on a cruise ship vacation?