How to Eat for Good Health on a Cruise Ship
Multiple stories of cruise ship disasters may leave you hesitant to book a cruise; however, it is still a vacation of choice for many people. If you are conscious about your health or weight, though, another cruise ship disaster might be the around the clock food that is often a featured attraction on many cruise ships. You can still eat for good health while on a cruise by following a few simple guidelines.
To be sure you eat for good health, stick to your regular routine as much as possible. Just because food is available 24/7 does not mean you have to dine at every time and place food is available. If you normally eat three meals a day, keep the same schedule while on the ship and avoid adding excess calories between meals.
Be conscious of how food is prepared. To make meals more appetizing chefs add a lot of butter, oils, salt and other things you may not use when cooking at home. To eat for good health it is best to eat dishes with as little additional preparation as possible.
Fill up on salad and soup to minimize how much of the main course you need to be satisfied. This trick only works if you choose broth soups, not creamed soups, and are careful with the high fat/high calorie salad toppings such as croutons, cheese, bacon, and salad dressings.
Stay away from the appetizers before dinner, as you can pack on hundreds of calories in a few bites of appetizers. Save your calories for something more enjoyable and filling at dinner. As the name implies, appetizers will also "whet" your appetite, causing you to eat even more at dinner than you would otherwise.
When dining at a buffet do your best to review the entire buffet offerings first to get an idea of which selections would make the healthiest menu options. That way when you go through the buffet line you will be able to plan your meal around the best protein and complex carbohydrate selections. Don't worry; you will get plenty of fat! If they do offer any good fats such as fish, avocados or walnuts, that would be a good choice - unless the fish is fried.
Be sure to eat enough protein, as this will help fill you up and keep you satisfied until the next meal. Then, fill your plate with vegetables as close to their natural state as possible. If you are lucky enough to have raw vegetables use humus or guacamole as a dip instead of ranch dressing. You will benefit from the protein in humus and the good fat in guacamole, and the fiber in the raw vegetables.
Once you are through the buffet line, move away and eat your dinner as far away as possible from the buffet table. This will eliminate the temptation to get another helping of that oh so yummy casserole that is oozing in high fat cream sauce. And of course avoid the temptation of the dessert table!
One area to be especially aware of is hidden calories in beverages. Avoid all soda and sweetened beverages, and watch the fruit smoothies - they are loaded with sugar. Also, drinking sugary beverages actually makes you thirstier, rather than quenching your thirst. If you drink alcohol the best drinks are wine or tequila, without any mixer. Most alcohols are low in calories; it's the mixers (soda, tonic, etc) that add the sugar and calories.
In addition to being conscious of your food choices, plenty of physical activity will help to work off those extra calories that you can't avoid. Take advantage of the on ship gym or some off ship excursions to get in some exercise while having fun.
These guidelines on how to eat for good health will ensure that your health and weight will not be a cruise ship disaster. Another cause of weight gain, however, is stress, so whatever you do, remember that you are on vacation and don't stress over every calorie. If you do give in and indulge one day, just get back on track the next day and eat for good health as much as you can.
And you can get a free mini course on the top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your health at http://www.healthwellnessconnection.com, where Mary Ann MacKay shares her research promoting optimal wellness through nutrition, diet, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.
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