In A Sea Of Food, Do You Sink Or Swim? Tips For Maintaining A Balanced Diet On Your Cruise

by guest columnist and Avid Cruiser In Training Britton Frost, the 15-year-old daughter of Avid Cruiser Ralph Grizzle

I met Karen Cohen, founder of, on the AmaBella, one of the many riverboats that AMAWATERWAYS has to offer. Karen was in the lounge talking to my dad, and being the rising socialite that I am, I went to introduce myself.

Britton and Karen
Karen Cohen, with my daughter, Britton Frost

I learned that Karen was a nutritionist in Los Angeles, California. She is a charming woman who always smiles, and who, by appearances, seems to eat right. I wanted to know if she could give me some advice for staying healthy while cruising. Indeed, she could.

Karen provided me with information on controlling yourself when there is a lot food around, which is always the case on a cruise ship. “Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it,” she said. “There’s no contract that when you go to the birthday, you have to have the cake.” That became rule number one for me.

Rule number two is that a lot of planning goes into maintaining your weight on a cruise. Know your goal ahead of time and plan around it. And always keep your goal in mind.

Here are a few more of Karen’s tips that will help you stick to your goal:

  • Preview the menu before dinner and decide what you will eat.
  • Ask yourself: “How hungry am I?”
  • Be the first to order at your table so others don’t influence you.
  • Know that you don’t have to eat everything on the menu. Make tough choices. If you’re going to have wine, give up bread or dessert.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. “Have it, eat it, and be done with it,” Karen says.

Also, remember that alcohol puts down your defenses. The more you drink, the less you are in control of what you eat. Make a rule, such as, no more than two glasses of wine per day. Of course, I’m only 15, so I don’t have to worry about alcohol consumption : )

Most ships have gyms. Take advantage of the nutritional services and fitness classes. Simply being in the gym can motivate you to make the right choices.

Snacking can be a killer. Snack on fresh fruit. Don’t turn to cookies or sandwiches, as tempting as they may be. If a healthy choice isn’t available, ask at the reception desk. If you’re hungry, don’t grab a cookie. Cookies and candies have no nutritional value. They just cause you to be more hungry. Go for proteins instead.

The main thing that I learned from Karen is how we should keep the amount of food that we consume under control. Self talk and planning is a big part of that. When you’re on a ship, you have to make good choices if you want to disembark feeling good about yourself.

The worst part of a vacation is returning home, in every sense. During the cruise, your body gets used to extra food. Go back to your balanced diet when you return home. Have three meals and two snacks daily to keep your energy going. And be sure to use some of that energy to plan your next cruise!


Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Our latest articles


  • Great post, Britton! And thanks for this topic, too.

    I’m new to cruising, but was astonished to discover after returning home after a nine-day cruise in December 2010 that I had actually lost a pound. This was following a Caribbean cruise on Silversea’s Silver Spirit.

    Looking back, the food was so 1) nutritious, 2) delicious and 3) reasonably portioned that I was never tempted to overeat.

    I think sometimes our overeating is a response to being bored with the food we habitually surround ourselves with. But when the food is gorgeous, fresh and extremely well prepared and novel, it is much more satisfying. Hence, less overeating happens.

    Of course, others’ mileage may vary.

  • Anne, I’m so glad you had a success on Silversea. I’ve never had the privilege to go on a Silversea cruise but from what you’ve said it seems like they do a good job keeping people from facing the struggles mentioned in this article. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. I went on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas this fall and found myself surrounded with a constant abundance of food. Everything from doughnuts and hot dogs were available all day. The ship does however offer many physical activities such as basketball, “surfing”, a running track and more. I guess Royal Caribbean figures that you get exercise simply walking to your stateroom.

    Thank you for reading.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *