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6 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Cruise

Glacier Bay Alaska (photo by Yvonne Condes)

Glacier Bay in Alaska

I have pictures I took of whales and glaciers and snow capped peaks, but if you want proof that I went on a cruise to Alaska just take a look at my belly. After being on the cruise for just a couple of days I reinvigorated my love of carbohydrates and embraced the oversized plates and buffet lifestyle.

Before I left on my first cruise, I promised myself I would eat as healthy as possible and maintain the gluten free, low carb plan I have been on for the past year. I realized how badly I had broken that promise when one morning for breakfast I put cream cheese on toast and topped it with bacon. We had access to a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus we could go to any of the restaurants and bars on the ship. The buffet had good healthy food (mixed in with not so healthy food), but it takes a lot of self-control not to overeat and make good choices. Thankfully, there was a gym to help burn off all of those extra calories.

I didn’t do so well with self-control, but I learned a lot on the cruise. Whether you’re going on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas or an Alaska cruise like I did, here are 6 tips for staying healthy while on board.

Don’t hit the buffet for every meal. It’s easy to say that you’ll only get a hardboiled egg or a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but when faced with rows of pastries, pancakes, cheesy eggs, biscuits and gravy, grits, and bacon resisting can be a challenge. There was no charge for room service on our cruise so we ordered cereal and coffee in the morning to control the amount of food we were getting (and so we could have coffee before we talked to anyone!).

If possible, get a smaller plate. The cruise we were on had giant plates that were about the size of a dinner and salad plate combined. I noticed how much food I was actually cramming into every nook and cranny of these massive plates when my husband started using the much smaller salad plates. He was going for portion control, an excellent idea.

Have wine or a cocktail INSTEAD of dessert not in addition to dessert. This was a tip from Celebrity Dietitian Ashley Koff, who gave me great advice last year about how to eat healthy on vacation . Cocktails and dessert are both packed with sugar. Best to have just one or none at all.

Utilize the gym and cruise classes. While I ran on the treadmill, my sister-in-law took a Zumba class with her daughter. There were so many fitness options on the ship on the days we were at sea. Plus we could hit the gym anytime.

Take the stairs. It’s tempting to use the elevator especially after eating a plate piled with cream sauce but if you are able, take the stairs. Moving your body is better than not moving your body.

Get off the boat and hike around. We went on an Alaska Cruse so hiking was a great outdoor option for us. If that’s not an option on your cruise, make sure to walk as much as possible.

Wash your hands. Being healthy on a cruise isn’t just about eating and exercising. You want to come home without any illnesses. Try to wash hands as much as you can and use the Purell that they have at every corner.

 

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