In remaining healthy and fit on a cruise we have to pay attention to our diet – that is, what we eat every meal.  We have all heard about from the first time we can remember our parents’ directions at the dinner table to the constant bombardment in the media: “eat a balanced diet.”

As the name implies, a balanced diet includes eating foods from a variety of “groups” which when properly combined are nutritious, healthy and appropriate for almost all people, especially older ones likes those cruising the Great Loop.  The food groups are: Grains (breads, cereal, rice, and pasta), Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Meats (Animal and fish), and Fats, Oils, and Sweets.  The table shows the recommended servings of these groups.  The United States Department of Agriculture suggests that consumption of these groups be thought of as a pyramid with the grains serving as the base which means we should base our diet on the grains and top it with fats, oils and sweets which we should eat only sparingly.  The other groups are sprinkled in to make the final balance.


GRAINS               6-11 servings

FRUITS                2-4 servings

VEGETBABLES  3-5 servings

DAIRY                 2-3 servings

MEATS                2-3 servings

FATS/SWEETS     very few


Eat this amount in three meals to achieve a balanced diet.  See below for serving portions.


Servings are appropriate portions of each food.  Moderation is always the byword, and the recommended servings are given with three major goals: 1) provide caloric requirement for active people, 2) accomplish required nutrition and 3) promote overall health of the mind and body.  Examples of desirable servings are: Grains – 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta, 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal; Fruits – 1 piece of fruit, 1 melon wedge, 3/4 cup fruit juice, 1/2 cup canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit; Vegetables – 1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables, 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables; Dairy – 1 cup of low-fat or skim milk or yogurt, 1.5 to 2 ounces of cheese (low fat); Meats – 2.5 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish (a slice of cooked, lean meat or poultry about 1/4inche weights about 2 ounces) and Fats, Oils, and Sweets – the less you eat of these the better.

To Lose or Maintain Weight

If one wishes to lose weight, there are 2 recommended diets (must look at containers or website below for calorie content of the food on either diet):

Low fat and calorie diet was based on the American Heart Guidelines.  This diet has 1500 calories for women and 1800 for men with 30% of the calories from fat, 10% from saturated fat and 300 mg of cholesterol per day.

Mediterranean diet is the same calories from fruits and vegetables, but 35% from fat (mainly olive oil) and a great reduction in red meat.

Go “dietbites” for calories in vegetables and fruits http://www.dietbites.com/CalorieIndexVeg.html