Cruise lines have moved to offer more healthy food options.It can’t be said enough how important food is on a cruise. When you are onboard you rely on the ship’s culinary staff to keep you satiated and happy, as well as filled with nutritious food to get you up and moving on exciting sightseeing, snorkeling or hiking excursions. For people who have chosen a meat-free lifestyle, or who medically need to stay away from foods high in fat, cruise dining used to be a bit of a challenge. However, like the rest of the culinary world, the cruise lines are evolving to accommodate their guests with a variety of healthy options.

Take for example Celebrity Cruises. They have “Lean & Light” Menu options on their lunch and dinner menus. These dishes have been developed to meet recommendations that meals have less than 30 percent of their calories from fat, set forth by the American Dietetic Association and the American Cancer Society. Some of the items on the Lean & Light menu are rack of veal and tender steamed vegetables, grilled squid diable and for dessert, pear and ginger frozen yogurt with panna cotta.

Norwegian Cruise Line teamed up with Cooking Light magazine over a decade ago to feature some of the magazine’s recipes on their menus. Royal Caribbean has a “Vitality” menu, offering three courses under 800 calories. For instance they offer a slow-roasted double-cut pork loin steak at only 298 calories.

Many of the cruise lines also include vegetarian options on their menus. In 2012, Holland America announced a vegetarian-only menu. This menu also offers vegan dishes and is always available to cruisers dining in the main dining room for lunch or dinner. When this new menu was announced the cruise line also added 30 more vegetarian dishes to their main menus, as well as more vegetarian options to the lunch buffet on the Lido deck.

The latest frontier in cruise menus are spa menus that offer lighter fare that is meant to not only perk your taste buds but rejuvenate your body. Cunard and Oceania as well as luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas all have menus from Canyon Ranch, which is a worldwide recognized health retreat company. Canyon Ranch also provides the spa services onboard those cruise lines’ ships. Their healthy menu items seek to deliver balanced meals that offer protein power, lower salt and fiber.

Celebrity Cruises has begun to integrate SPE Certified options onto their ships, starting this past spring, with their newest ship, the Celebrity Reflection. SPE is a company that certifies healthy options on restaurant menus. When certifying menu items, they examine taste, nutrition, portion size along with sustainability and seasonality. So far 60 of Celebrity’s dishes have received the SPE certification.

Do you think we will see a cruise line in the future that only offers “healthy” food options? Is that something you would like, or do you see your time on a cruise as a time to indulge without worrying about nutrition or calories?

Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web. The Cruise Web is a travel agency that specializes in cruising. The expert cruise consultants focus on providing travelers with the best value for their time and money in finding and booking a cruise vacation! Visit The Cruise Web for the best Caribbean cruises.