Long days at WDW, while fun, can leave you tired and hungry. There are a plethora of options for snacks available seemingly around every turn. Healthy options are harder to find, though. If you don’t pay attention, a trip to WDW can make your comfy jeans fit like skinny jeans. I offer a guide for those of us who have a medical condition (hypertension, diabetes, arteriosclerosis), do not want to loosen our belts, and/or just want to eat healthy.
First, let me explain what I mean by “healthy.” Nutritional guidelines seem to stay in a state of flux. Current general consensus recommends limiting salt, refined sugars, and processed foods, while consuming more “whole foods:” fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, eggs, and non-processed meats. While each of my suggestions may not fit all of these criteria, I will try to follow remain fairly close. In addition, to me, the calorie content should not be extreme.
The “Disciple’s Prayer” from the Bible states, “Lead us not into temptation.” While not referring to food, it is still good advice. Just as someone trying to quit smoking should avoid contact with cigarette smoke; those of us trying to watch our diet should try to avoid surrounding ourselves with the sights and smells that will tempt us. Healthy snacks can be found scattered all over the parks,.. right next to sweets, pastries, and other temptations. Fortunately, without too much effort, temptation can be avoided.
The best park options, where you are surrounded by healthy choices with minimal temptations, are at the marketplaces. There are options that are natural, non processed, and relatively low calorie; mostly fruit. Each location has similar offerings: fruit (apples, grapes, oranges, pineapple, watermelon and bananas), pickles (high in salt, though), trail mix, and yogurt. In addition to these staples, each marketplace offers 1 or 2 things unique to it: cheese, clementines, tomato bisque. In Magic Kingdom, if you are on the Tomorrowland/Fantasyland side of the park, then Prince Eric’s Village Market is the nearest option, located across from Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland. On the Adventureland/Frontierland side of the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Square Market is the closest. In Hollywood Studios, Anaheim Produce on Sunset Boulevard is your choice. In Animal Kingdom, it is the Harambe Fruit Market in Africa. Surprisingly, Epcot does not have a market. You can find similar options scattered on treat carts, though.
Even though you may love fruit, being on vacation, there are times that you may desire something more decadent, more savory than fruit. I have those times covered, too. Starbucks are now located in each WDW park: Main St. Bakery in Magic Kingdom, Fountain View in Epcot, Trolley Car Cafe’ in Hollywood Studios, and Creature Comforts in Animal Kingdom. Please allow me to state that most of the options at Starbucks are sugar/calorie laden diet busters. I do not personally like coffee, but there is one viable option that I consider as more of desert or sweet treat: the “skinny” latte’. Any latte’ (vanilla, mocha, pumpkin spice,..) can be made “skinny.” They are made with coffee (caff, half-caff, or decaf), whipped skim milk, and sugar free flavoring. A Grande’ (medium) has only 150 calories! Not bad for a sweet treat.There are still more options! The famous pineapple DoleWhip has only 80 calories per half cup! It will not blow your diet! It is high in sugar, but still not bad. The DoleWhip is available in Magic Kingdom at Aloha Island in Adventureland. Epcot has several choices. La Boulangerie Patisserie des Halles in the France pavilion has Bisque de Homard (lobster bisque), fromages (cheese plate), and Pissaladiere (olives, tomatoes, and cheese). Tangerine Cafe’ in the Morocco pavilion offers hummus, couscous salad, lentil salad, tabouleh, and marinated olives. In the Norway pavilion, Krigla Bakeria og Cafe’ has sugar free chocolate mousse.
So, while a WDW vacation can make eating healthy more challenging, it is not impossible. Please note below specific illness considerations.
** For diabetes: pineapple, bananas, watermelon, and DoleWhips are loaded with sugar.
**For hypertension and/or edema: pickles, trail mix, olives, cheese, soups, and salads can be high in sodium.
Pongo: working husband, father, and Disney-phile.
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