9 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit on a Cruise Vacation

Staff Writer
It’s easy to over-indulge on a cruise vacation, but here are some tips on how to avoid Bahamas belly bloat

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If you want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit all vacation, stick to these healthy-eating tips.

It’s summer vacation time, and as they survey destination options, many families look to cruises as the ideal trip.

After all, cruises can be significantly cheaper than European vacations, or even a trip to Disney. For those of you that have booked a cruise this summer or want to, one of the most enticing aspects of a sea voyage is the copious amount of food. 

9 Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit on a Cruise Vacation (Slideshow)

Many cruises offer all-inclusive dining options: endless all-you-can-eat buffets, multiple restaurants to choose from, and unlimited ice cream bars all in one place. But all of that food may be daunting to someone who wants to take a cruise vacation without packing on the pounds.

Even if you’re on a diet or want to fit into bathing suit throughout your vacation, you can still have a sensible time on your cruise without sacrificing the fun. We spoke to a panel of nutrition experts and travel agents and rounded up nine tips for staying healthy and lean on your cruise vacation — even in the face of so much “free” food. You can still eat at the buffet and indulge a little (hey — it is your vacation, after all), but you may want to skip out on the midnight buffets, say no to unlimited ice cream, and become familiar with the ship’s gym before setting sail.

Be All-Inclusive Wary

It’s easy to get excited about the all-inclusive aspects of your vacation, but it’s best to avoid the siren song of endless food. “All-inclusive excursions may sound enticing, but more often than not, you'll be inclined to get your money's worth by overindulging,” says David Glenn, owner of Shoreside Travel in San Antonio, Texas. “Instead, opt for an active excursion with a pay-as-you-go option. Most everything is negotiable, and it never hurts to ask.”

Breakfast Is Crucial

The most important meal of the day on a cruise ship is breakfast. If you skip breakfast, you’ll be more likely to overeat at lunch, and if you cheat at breakfast, you still have plenty of time to swim off those calories. Dr. Joanne Williams, a certified holistic nutritionist, suggests going for power breakfasts like oatmeal, fruit smoothies, egg white omelettes, and Greek yogurt. 

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