A cruise is a great time to relax and have fun. But many times when we are having fun we are forgetting about our diets or eating healthy. Eating healthy on a cruise can be effortless – and you can still have fun. Just pay close attention to the food that you can eat, and ignore the fried, fatty, sugary stuff that you don’t need. Below are some tips for staying healthy – without being boring – on a cruise ship.

Choose Wisely

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There are often many restaurants, both fancy and casual, on a cruise ship. Be careful what you are choosing before you are hungry. Make a game plan when you get on board, or even at home if you have access to the restaurants and their menus. Knowing ahead of time can help you stay away from “bad” foods.

If You’re Not Hungry, Don’t Order

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Don’t fall for four or five-course dinners. We don’t eat them at home – unless maybe we’re the Trumps – so don’t bother splurging your calories on them. If you don’t want the soup, skip it. No dessert? No worries.

Don’t Go Bonkers at the Buffet

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I love a buffet as much as the next girl, but I can get in big trouble quickly if I’m not paying attention. Buffets are full of healthy options, from fruits, veggies, and salads to grilled, steamed, and roasted meats. However, they are also full of fried, fatty, and sugary goods, and those are the ones you need to run from.

Look for the “Spa” Menu

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Most cruise lines denote dishes that are “healthier” — typically fewer calories than the other entrees and with a simpler, less sauce-heavy preparation. These include Queen Mary 2’s Canyon Ranch spa cuisine, Royal Caribbean‘s “Vitality” selections in its main dining rooms and Carnival‘s “Spa Carnival Cuisine.” If you can’t find that, look for spa restaurants like the spa cafe in Celebrity‘s Solariums. Just remember, “spa cuisine” doesn’t necessarily mean its super healthy for you, so don’t totally pig out.

Skimp on the Booze

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Alcohol is full of calories, carbs, and sugar, especially when your rum is poured into a ginormous souvenir glass along with fruit juice, ice cream, whipped cream, etc. Enjoy your on-board wine and cocktails, but consider them part of your meal. Order a glass of wine with dinner, and consider skipping the starter. Another good rule of thumb is to always treat umbrella drinks, such as pina coladas, as dessert. If you wouldn’t have two desserts at dinner, don’t order a frozen cocktail and a creme brulee.

Eat Slowly. Savor Your Food.

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This goes back to being good at the buffet – and pretty much any other time you eat food. Eat slowly, savoring each bite, and put down the fork when the bites aren’t as tasty and your body says it’s full. Cruise ship dinners tend to run long, so there’s no rush to finish each course. That being said, many have issues drinking any type of drink in between bites, so take note of this before you are bloated or gassy before the meal is over. That’s kinds embarrassing in the middle of a fancy restaurant.