Cruise Ship Buffet Survival

Cruise Ship Buffet Survival


Most people gain 10 pounds while on cruise ships, this is really stupid.  A cruise ship is an awesome opportunity to lose fat because healthy food is available 24 hours a day, all you have to do is make the right nutritional choices.  I want you to enjoy your vacation and enjoy all the awesome food, but you can do it in a way that will let you lose weight at the same time.   The food on this ship was some of the finest I have ever had even comparing it to five start land restaurants.

Main Dining Room vs Buffet

Yes, the quality of the food in the main dining room is always superior to that in a buffet even on the finest cruise liner.  The main dining rooms are typically very accommodating to your culinary wishes as well and the service is typically far better than anything you are used to in land based restaurants.  So why not eat in the main dining room?  Great question, portion control.  You cant control your portions in a dining room.  If you are someone like me who does not have the willpower to leave something tasty on your plate when you have already had your fill then avoid the main dining room.  If you are someone who hates wasting food and will clean your plate even if it requires eating past the point where you are satisfied, then avoid the main dining room.

The buffet offers you the opportunity to see and choose exactly what you want and in exactly the portion size you want.  For many people, this is key to maintaing the waistline on a cruise

Surviving the Buffet

Here are the rules that will help you not only survive the buffet without gaining weight but also help you enjoy all those foods you want

  1. Make a big salad.  “Salad” does NOT mean goopy things like “chicken salad”, “macaroni salad”, and “potato salad”.  Those are junk food, not salad.  “Salad” means vegetables.  Many people say that they “hate” vegetables this is a great opportunity to try and find ones that you actually DO like because they are all prepared for you.  Most people’s view of vegetables is the two types their mother tried to get them to eat as a kid – there are HUNDREDS of vegetables.  Avoid the iceberg lettuce and go for spinach or mixed greens.    The more colorful the vegetables, the better.  Pile your plate.  At the end of the salad bar its the most treacherous – bucket after bucket of goopy high cal dressings, fried croutons, bacon, and cheese.  Avoid these fat buckets and try something new, try just using balsamic vinegar on your salad.  If they don’t have that, then just use the vinegar thats in the oil-and-vinegar rack.  The whole point here is to taste the vegetables, not to drown the taste out with taste-bud deadening strong dressings or salty, artificially smoke flavored bacon bits.   Now here is the beauty of a cruise ship, you dont need to take all your food at once so sit down with your friends and eat the salad – take your time.  Make sure to drink lots of water while you are eating your salad.
  2. Next take a tour.  Now that you have had that huge salad, take a tour of the buffet line and see what is available before even getting your plate.  This lets you plan what you want.
  3. Get your protein.  If you are working out like I recommend then you will be needing 20-60g protein depending on your weight and how many meals a day you are eating. The first thing you should put on your plate is the protein.  If you dont know how large of a serving size is required to get your 20-60g protein then the cruise is a great time to learn.  Head over to or consult your smartphone app.
  4. Get your side dishes but not desert.  Now take little portions of all the yummy sides you see.  Just take a little because remember you can go back as many times as you want! What you are going to find though is that by the time you finish eating this plate you will be too full to go back.
  5. Now eat your main course.  Head back to  your table and eat your main course with friends.  If you are traveling alone, its a great time to meet others.  We have found that people on cruise ships are very friendly, its not like the real world.  In the real world people are usually defensive and rightly so – why is this person talking to me and what do they want from me.  On a cruise ship, its not like that and its almost utopian.  We have met many lifelong friends on cruises.  Anyway, eat your main course … and drink lots of water.
  6. Still hungry?   After eating your main plate its time to ask yourself the critical question – “Am I still hungry?”.  Be careful not to ask the question “am I stuffed?” because you dont want to be stuffed.  Remember, you can go back to the buffet and eat any time you want so you do NOT have to stuff yourself.  Just eat enough to be satisfied.  If your hunger is not yet satisfied, head back and have a little more of those sides that you really liked.  Head on back and eat your second plate … and drink lots of water.
  7. Desert? If your hunger has still not been completely satisfied, start the desert course with fruit.  Its already pealed and chunked, they have done all the work so enjoy it!  Go back and eat your fruit.  If you really need to have cake/cookie/pastry/ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth at this point, go for it, but just take a small portion.


Working Out On A Cruise Ship

Part of losing weight on the cruise ship is working out!  Please watch this video on my cruise ship workout: