What to eat on a cruise: 4 tips

I‘ve been struggling with my weight. I had some surgery earlier this spring which hit me sideways. And since then I hadn’t been able to drop a pound.

But between 2009 and 2010 I had lost more than 50 pounds with Dr. William Jones at Geneti-Health. So he was first on my list to call.

In full disclosure, Dr. Jones bases his weight loss program on Dr. Sears’ Zone Diet but is more focused on fresh foods while staying away from processed foods and fake sweeteners. He also prescribes an appetite suppressant to help reduce your desire to eat foods that are weight loss hostile.

Here’s our game plan for choosing the best cruise food:

1. Keep it lean

No brainer. You and I both know to stay away from fatty foods when dieting, but it is extra important when traveling because you will be losing some rest and not have regular access to water – two things that help your body burn calories and process foods. That means choosing chicken and fish from the menu. Look for grilled and broiled items. It is possible to find lean cuts of red meat as well.

My Tip: You say,”but I never get to eat food prepared like this!” Yes, it is okay to indulge, just plan it ahead and choose one meal, maybe two if you’re gone for a week. You’ll find that sticking to this practice will give you more energy and less indigestion.

2. Keep it green

Look for fresh salads and steamed but seasoned veggies on the menu. (I’ll talk about sauces, pasta and rice in a minute.) Yes they still exist on the menu, but may be hidden. And don’t be afraid to ask. This is always your better alternative to food fillers and junk calories. Watch for starches like mashed potatoes, corn and squash. They are often cooked with creams and butter which adds a disturbing number of calories and fats to the meal.

My Tip: If this doesn’t sound like being on vacation and having a good time, spice things up yourself. I bring seasoning with me ALWAYS. Find the little bottles of McCormick and stick them in your bag or purse. You will not regret this, I promise.

3. Don’t get saucy

Avoid foods smothered in rich sauces or ask for the sauce on the side. It is okay to scratch them off but will look strange at a table with strangers. Sauces lower in calories are often simpler, broth based and not thick or cream based. How about dressing? Your best bet there is to get a light dressing on the side – even Ceasar.

My Tip: Ordering from the light menu is no guarantee the food is better for you. Your body takes its cues from the foods you eat. If suddenly you change your intake, it will sometimes respond in a negative way – with indigestion, reflux or gas. Try to avoid this, keeping meals simple and drinking lots of water. (I will talk more about water in the next article.)
Aren tempts his mom with a beignet.

4. Cut the carbs

Don’t eat the bread or crackers they set on the table. I like the places that have pickles or olives. There is a place near us that has dried fruit! Also, avoid pasta, potatoes and rice. Why? We tend to fill up on empty carbs instead of nutrient rich foods. Yes fiber is important, but it can come from vegetables and fruits as well as grain products.

If you must, pick a natural, less-processed starch like baked potato or steamed corn.

My Tip: Carb cutting is the hardest thing to do. It is also the most unlikely. So instead of cutting this out entirely, just pay attention to the number of pieces of bread you butter and eat. Or, as has been suggested by many, divide the pasta or rice in half and eat only one side.

There’s so much we can talk about. Notice I haven’t even mentioned desserts or wine. If you have a subject that relates to weight loss, fitness or cruising go ahead and post a comment to get the conversation started. In a few days I’ll post my article on healthy habits on the high seas.