Family Travel: Eating Healthy on a Cruise
Set some limits. "As much as kids might like food, they also like rules," says Jenny Rosenstrach, mom of two and creator of Dinneralovestory.com, a blog about enjoying food with your kids. "It's better to have rules established before your kids first see the sundae buffet and their hearts are too far gone. It's fair to allow them an indulgence or two a day—or let them eat whatever they want for dinner as long as they eat well for breakfast and lunch." But don't outright ban anything. "It just makes them sneak it," says Lisa Young, Ph.D., a nutritionist at New York University and author of The Portion Teller.
Let them indulge a little. "If she wants ice cream in the late afternoon, tell her she can have it then or after dinner, but not both times," Young says. And FYI: Don't freak if she makes an enormous, kitchen-sink-style sundae at the buffet ... chances are she'll never actually eat it. It's just all look-at-me performance art, 8-year-old style.
Remember they've worked up an appetite. With all those awesome onboard activities—especially with Nickelodeon at Sea, exclusively on Norwegian Cruise Line—keeping kids entertained with everything from arts and crafts to dance parties and, of course, poolside activities!—kids burn a ton of calories. After they've been active all day, it's OK to say yes to the cookie!
Set a good example. If you grab a brownie from the buffet every time you walk through the cafe lounge, you can't be surprised when your kid does, too. "Your kid has to be treated the same way you treat yourself," says Young. (We won't tell if you sneak one while he's boogie boarding on the ship's mechanical wave!)
Put the kids in charge. The kid in the candy shop, it turns out, really might just want a Granny Smith apple. The more your kid thinks she's in charge of her choices and portions, the less of a battle there is over food. For some kids, fighting about the French fries is much more fun than eating the actual French fries. And isn't a break from the bickering kind of a vacation in and of itself?
Check out more essential tips on Family Cruises here on ParentsConnect!