A few weeks before a Disney trip, I find myself on a path of healthy eating and exercising. There’s always that ‘few pounds’ I HAVE to lose before we arrive. When we get there, healthy eating gets thrown out the window. Why? Because calories don’t count at Disney! I can have all of the burgers, dole whips, churros, and Mickey bars I want without consequence, right? Wrong. As much as I wish that were the case, it certainly isn’t.
For me, it’s easy to justify the unhealthy choices. I always say I’m going to walk it off (or sweat it off depending on time of year), make better choices the next day, or eat a healthier dinner. Sometimes that happens, but most of the time it doesn’t. I think the hardest place to make healthy selection is in the parks. So on my last trip, I made a conscience effort to look for the healthier options at the quick service locations while visiting the parks. Did I always select those options? Well, no, but I at least looked at them. That counts for something, right?
Let’s start in Magic Kingdom. I found that Columbia Harbour House has the healthiest options. While there, I opted for the grilled salmon, which is served with couscous and broccoli. Although pricier than the other choices, it was surprisingly good. The salmon was nicely cooked and the broccoli was crisp and delicious. Not a fan of salmon? They also offer a tuna sandwich served on toasted multigrain bread. If things that swim are out of your wheelhouse, go for the broccoli peppercorn salad. It’s a mixed green salad topped with grilled chicken, vegetables, sunflower seeds, broccoli, and is tossed with Parmesan cheese and peppercorn dressing.
Moving on to Epcot, we head to the Electric Umbrella for the energy salad with roasted chicken. Walking through the parks is hard work. Especially in the heat, so a salad with a little energy boost is always a good option. This salad consists fresh greens, roasted chicken, seasonal fruit, and is topped with feta cheese. Tired of salad? Go for the veggie naan-wich! Featuring broccoli slaw, edamame, and tofu wasabi dressing, this sandwich is wrapped in naan, a delicious bread from Central and South Asia. They also have a three-cheese flatbread that is a better option than a burger.
Heading over to Hollywood Studios, hop on Sunset Boulevard and hit Fairfax Fare for the fajita combo platter. With both pulled pork and chicken served with black beans, cilantro rice, peppers, onions, sour cream, and tomato corn salsa, this is sure to fill you up and give you enough fuel to ride Tower of Terror one more time! In the mood for a salad? Try the Fairfax salad, which is topped with pulled pork, roasted corn, tomato salsa, tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, and jalapeno ranch dressing.
Last but not least, we hit Animal Kingdom, where healthy choices seem more abundant than at the rest of the parks. At Restaurantosaurus in DinoLand U.S.A, opt for the vegetarian black bean burger, a spicy southwestern-flavored black bean patty with cheddar, and house-made avocado spread. Not into veggie burgers? Try the grilled chicken BLT sandwich or the mixed green salad with roasted chicken.
Just to note, these are not always the healthiest options, but they are healthier than other options available. Looking to do more? There are a few other things you can do to reduce your caloric intake:
Split a meal
Order from the kid’s menu (smaller portions)
Just because it’s a salad doesn’t mean it’s low calorie/fat
Reduce/eliminate condiments and dressings, which are usually high in sugar and/or fat
Look for substitutions – fries don’t always have to be the side item
There you have it. Some health(ier) options while in the parks. What is your best tip for healthy eating?