Home TIPS Tips: Stay slim on all-you-can-eat vacations
Tips: Stay slim on all-you-can-eat vacations PDF Print E-mail

Buffet table

Because table is loaded, should you load up, too?

Expecting a vacationer at a foody Vegas resort or a luxury cruise to cut back on the never-ending food is the equivalent of telling a sailor on his first shore leave after a year at sea to spend all of his time in the local library.

Realistically, the all-inclusives, particularly concerning food and drink, are intended to be too tempting. They're there for vacationers to enjoy, day and night with no limits. The first inclination is to say: “I'm paying for it all, so why not grab it all? Anyhow, when I get home, I promise myself to work off the extra pounds.” Yeah, sure.

As tempting as unlimited dining may be, you must apply the same moderation you practice at home. That doesn't mean just eating raw carrot sticks and drinking diet soda. It requires self control and choosing healthful foods, rather than the obvious ones that will add weight. Here are some suggestions:

1. As you normally do at home, eat moderate portions. If your usual breakfast is a bowl of cereal with a sliced banana, and several ounces of skim milk, order the same at the resort.

2. If you do give in to temptation with a heavy breakfast, make up for it by eating a moderate lunch, such as a bowl of clear soup, a salad and a cup of fresh fruit for dessert. For every meal, stay away from fatty meats, buttered pastas, heavy creams, sugar-loaded desserts, high-calorie drinks and other weighty foods.

3. Don't indulge in the ever-present between-meals snacks. Those little plates of peanuts and potato chips next to the piano bar are very tempting, and you can't eat just one. The little, crust-free cheese sandwiches and cookies they serve by the pool are just one or two bites each, so why not wolf down a half-dozen or so?

4. If you're normally a calorie counter, do it throughout your stay at the all-inclusive resort or cruise ship. Even if you've never had to monitor your calories at home, do some figuring throughout the vacation. Because of the ever-present food, beer and booze, even if you believe you're not over-indulging, you shouldn't be too surprised to discover that you're taking in 100 plus percent more calories than you normally do at home. You don't even want to know what attending that midnight chocolate fiesta will do to your calorie counting.

5. You can fight weight gain by participating in all the sports and other physical activities offered by the all-inclusive vacation. In fact, if your conscience and waistline bother you from overeating, sweat off some of it in the gym exercise class, steam room, tennis court, and riding bikes or strolling walking trails. You can do the same on a cruise, and get some walking and bike riding on shore excursions.

If you use moderation, there's no need to worry about gaining weight, and you don't need to cut back on your enjoyment of the resort or cruise. With the combination of sensible eating and fun exercise, you can return home weighing exactly the same as you did when you left for your vacation.


Stay in-the-know about the latest Sports, Life, Money, Tech, and Travel stories. You'll get your first 2 months of USA TODAY for $25 (charged monthly). All print subscribers receive the e-Newspaper included with their subscription.