The 9 Things It’s OK to Eat (and Drink) on a Cruise

Keep your body healthy and your mind in check by balancing a healthy diet on vacation

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The 9 Things It’s OK to Eat (and Drink) on a Cruise

Thinkstock / pilipphoto

Staying healthy on vacation is a task in and of itself. But staying healthy when the most decadent foods and delicious drinks are right at your fingertips is quite a test of willpower. Instead of focusing on foods you should avoid, redirect your attention to delicious, healthy foods that you can enjoy. Vacation is about relaxation, and you want food to be the least of your worries. Leah Kaufman, registered dietitian, suggests limiting how much food you consume and being mindful of what you are consuming. 


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“These days, coconut is everywhere,” Kaufman says.  “Coconuts are low in carbs and high in fiber, as they contain four grams of dietary fiber in one portion. Coconuts are also so versatile — you can have them in your morning yogurt, as a sweet snack, or even just drink the juice right out of the fruit.”


Photo modified: Flickr / brownpau / CC BY 4.0

"There is never a limit of fish around when you are out at sea," Kaufman says. "You always want to make sure that one-fourth of your plate is devoted to protein and fish is a great, low-calorie option to fulfill this need. Go for white flaky fish, shrimp, or scallops as these are lower in calories and high in omega-3s."


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“Kiwi is a great tropical fruit usually available on a fruit platter,” Kaufman says. “It’s filled with vitamin C, and some research shows it has even more vitamin C than an orange. It’s widely available in tropical locations, so if you’re going to the Caribbean this fall, kiwi may be your best, local fruit choice!”


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Melons are a great way to stay hydrated on a cruise,” Kaufman explains. “Have some fruit as a side during breakfast or order it as a snack in the middle of the day. It’s a great way to curb that sweet tooth without packing on the calories. At the end of the meal, go for some watermelon rather than that chocolate cake — it’s usually offered as a healthier dessert.”

Natural Fruit Juice

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“Juice can be high in sugar, but when fresh-squeezed juice is available, order away — it can be just as healthy as eating one to two portions of a whole fruit,” Kaufman says. “Consume only four ounces at a time, as more than this can equate to greater than one portion fruit, increasing your sugar consumption.”


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Going to a breakfast buffet? Don't skip the omelette bar. “Studies show that starting your day with a higher-protein breakfast can lead to healthier choices later,” says Kaufman. “Protein can help you feel satisfied longer, preventing you from overeating later.”


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“Cruise ships usually have a salad bar,” Kaufman says. “Eating from the salad bar will help you get plenty of vitamins and nutrients. It will also fill you up, so you’ll be less inclined to have that piece of cake for dessert. Go for the darker green leafy vegetables for added nutrients such as vitamin K and iron — great for increasing your energy for those fun daytime activity.”


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“Make sure to continue drinking at least eight cups of water while cruising,” Kaufman says. “When so many juices, alcohols, and sodas are readily available, it’s difficult to remember your water.” Kaufman notices that a lot of times her patients mistake hunger for thirst. She stresses the importance of listening to your body during a cruise, because this misperception may be exacerbated when you have so many food options at your fingertips. 

Whole-Wheat Pasta

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Whole-wheat pasta is healthier than regular pasta, as it has more fiber,” Kaufman says. “Whole-wheat products have more vitamins and nutrients, such as folic acid, which is great for maintaining attention.”  Kaufman suggests asking for the sauce on the side or ordering less sauce on your pasta. The sauce tends to include extra calories and sugar.