Eating Healthy at Walt Disney World

Dieting Disney.jpg

It always starts out well. Your intentions are good. You’ve been true to an eating plan and you know that you can count points, skip carbs, cut desserts -- whatever has been working so well for you for months. You’re sure that you can easily order a Diet Coke by the pool instead of a Pina Colada. And those Mickey Ice Cream Bars? A bottle of water will surely cool you off just as well after a hot day in the parks, right?

Sure. That’s why I have clothes in my attic ranging in size from 8 to… well, never mind.

For me, it’s always difficult passing up good food, and on vacation, it’s just that little bit more difficult. Any normal eating schedule you might have at home just goes out the window, and you really do work up an appetite with all that walking, swimming, and the occasional screaming as you plunge down Splash Mountain. And you’re on vacation -- that means no stress, right?  To avoid the “dieter’s remorse” when you get back home, here are a few tips to help you stay on track while still enjoying the best that Disney has to offer.

  • Remember that buffets are all-you-CARE-to eat, not all-you-CAN-eat. It’s not a race to see how much you can devour in the least amount of time. Well… unless you’re one of my three children.  Eat slowly -- eat sensibly -- stop when you’re full.

  • Find Nemo! Fish and chicken are your friends, whether you’re eating low-fat or low-carb. That tenderloin at the California Grill may be the most appetizing entrée on the menu, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you. 

  • Go for the salads and veggies. I know this is an obvious tip, but by filling up on lettuce and broccoli instead of cheddar cheese soup, you’ll eat less and eat healthier.

  • Drink lots and lots of water! Not only will it perform the very important job of keeping you hydrated, but it will also help fill your stomach.

  • Don’t wait until you’re starving to eat! This is a surefire road to a dieting disaster. Keep carrots, nuts, granola bars, or protein bars in your bag to help you stave off those lets-order-everything-on-the-menu attacks.

  • Remember that along with the many healthy choices already on the menu, you can request that any entrée be prepared to meet your dietary needs. Don’t be shy to ask that something be added or removed.  If you don’t eat bread or pasta, telling your server when ordering will save that extra stress on your will power.

  • You can still partake of desserts while on vacation. Sugar-free desserts or cheese plates can satisfy those on low-carb diets, and fresh fruit is always a wonderful and sweet alternative for those who count points or calories.

  • With the advent of the dining plan at Walt Disney World, it’s even more difficult to know when to stop. Six of us recently ate in Epcot and of course ordered six desserts to complement our six entrees -- and ate them all. Remember that you’re not wasting your money by sharing an appetizer or dessert, or by not even ordering one. The dining plan is still a bargain, and you’ll feel much better (trust me) if you don’t consume this much food!

Even though it’s tempting, your vacation doesn’t have to be a time when you lose all reason. And on my next Disney Cruise -- well, I hope to bring this list in place of the elastic waist pants!