Ask the doctor: How can I stick to my diet on vacation?

Q: I’ve been doing great on my diet, but I have a cruise coming up. How can I have “fun” on my vacation without blowing my diet?


A: It’s quite typical to stow away your diet to enjoy your vacation to its “fullest” by eating and drinking without any restrictions. In fact, gaining an extra 5-10 pounds from a cruise is not unusual. But vacations can be fun and sensible too. They’re not mutually exclusive.


vacation diet small 300x199 Ask the doctor: How can I stick to my diet on vacation?  PhotoRestaurant dining

Let’s look at the reasons why eating out – which most of us do on vacation – is so bad for us and how to compensate.




Serves large portions Try not to eat protein larger than your fist in amount as a guideline
Foods are high in fat, and sodium Limit fat and sodium; don’t add extra salt
High caloric drinks are served Stick with ice tea, ice coffee or water with lemon
Foods have rich gravies and sauces. Other ingredients are unknown. Avoid gravies. Ask for dressing on the side.
Delicious bread is placed on table Ask to have breadbasket removed from the table.
Enticing Desserts Get one dessert for the table and everyone can share


10 Action Steps … So you don’t trip up!

1) Select foods sensibly and eat in moderation.

2) Decide on menu options before frequenting a restaurant

3) Pack some low calorie snacks

4) Prepare one meal a day. This will save on extra calories and money as well. Try getting cereal or breakfast bars rich in protein as a meal. Get fresh fruit delivered to the room daily.

5) Drink plenty of water. Skip the high calorie drinks and opt for ice tea or coffee.

If you really want the alcoholic content, select wine instead of mixed cocktails. One Frozen Margarita can be 850 calories. Just think of the food that you could have had instead. That’s like one full meal!

6) Consider getting an appetizer instead of a full-sized meal, or divide the meal portion before you start eating and save half in the hotel room’s refrigerator. The trick here is to divide the meal first because with the ambiance and wonderful conversation, it won’t be long before you look down and see everything on the plate has been eaten.

7) Have a portion of steamed vegetables and salad instead of the pasta or potatoes.

8) Skip the high calorie condiments like creamy spreads and go for the mustard instead. 

9) Have grilled fish instead of fried or sautéed with butter. Ask the waiter to have the sauces placed on the side and no butter in the cooking process.

10) Most hotels and cruise ships have gyms or exercise rooms for their guests. Classes offered can be quite fun. (Zumba is my personal favorite). A good workout for 20-30 minutes a day in the morning will help rev your metabolism and put you in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day.

11) Exercise is not your thing? A brisk walk around the ship or the hotel is a good workout and an interesting one, too!


Now that you’re armed with a good plan, enjoy your vacation. And remember “Get off the Boat without the Bloat.”