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5 Tips to Not Gain Weight on a Cruise

tips to not gain weight on a cruise

My family and I recently took a cruise to Alaska and it was awesome!  Between all of the activities scheduled during the at sea days and the walking during the days in port, there was plenty to do and despite the 24/7 access to food, I am happy to report that I did not gain weight! 

Here are my top 5 tips to not gain weight on a cruise:
  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator on the boat. It is truly amazing how many steps you can get just by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, especially when the state room is on the 13th floor and most of the activities are located on the 4th and 5th floors.  There was usually a line for the elevators anyway, so taking the stairs ended up being quicker in most cases. 
  2. Stay busy by participating in the many scheduled activities on the boat.  Among the bumper cars, volleyball, dodgeball, ping pong, indoor sky diving, introduction classes for acupuncture, events, shows, and activities on the boat, there was not a lot of time or interest in snacking.  In addition, walking from activity to activity on an enormous cruise liner produces a lot of steps.  I was able to get 10,000+ on most days.
  3. Order a salad or broth-based soup as an appetizer.  Since the dining room meals included three courses, I tried not to overdo it by ordering a heavy appetizer.  Instead, I ordered a salad with vinaigrette dressing or broth-based soup like minestrone and saved my calories for the main course and dessert.
  4. Allow yourself one dessert per day. Since every meal on a cruise can be finished off with a dessert, I tried to only pick my favorite dessert of the options available and allowed myself one dessert per day.  After all, it is vacation!  Most of the dining room options included a very tasty ‘no sugar added’ (not sugar-free) option which worked perfectly.  It was sweet, but not too sweet and only a small piece was served.
  5. Load up with vegetables first at the buffet.  The buffet can be very tough to navigate especially when I was really hungry and wanted to put one of everything on my plate.  To tackle this, I started each meal with a large salad or grilled vegetables and finished it off with lean protein like fish and chicken.  I tried to limit starchy foods like white rice, pasta, and potatoes and saved these calories for my daily dessert (as noted in #4).

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4 comments on “5 Tips to Not Gain Weight on a Cruise

  1. Alicia on

    Any tips to not lose weight on a cruise? I’m worried about going on a cruise because I’ll probably have allergic reactions to the food. I’m allergic to food additives, preservatives and artificial colors and have problems with some fruits and vegetables (especially if there are chemical sprays). How do you find foods that you can eat safely if you’re highly allergic? I can’t imagine going on a cruise and not losing weight or finding enough foods that are safe to consume. Any recommendations for that situation? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Kelly Nordby, RDN, LDN on

      These are great questions! I would contact Guest Services for the cruise line directly to ask about accommodations for food allergies. Several on our trip had food allergies to gluten, shellfish, pork and another followed a kosher diet and the staff on our cruise were able to make accommodations for all of our needs. Good luck and hope that you enjoy your vacation!

      Reply
  2. Paulette Shekell on

    Those are great tips. I went on my cruise in May and found I walked the length of the ship several times a day just to get to activities. I was conscious of what I ate and I always had dessert every night.
    I lost 3 lbs on the cruise. This gave me incentive to exercise more when I returned.

    Reply
    • Madi Johnson on

      Way to go Paulette!!! That is fantastic – you were able to enjoy your vacation and still lose weight! Thank you for sharing and keep you the great work! 🙂

      Reply

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