One of the best parts of any Disney World trip is the dining. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about eating with their favorite princess, indulging in an exclusive Disney snack, or eating in one of the most well-themed restaurants in the world? That said, things get a bit more complicated when a person is visiting Disney and would like to keep up their healthy diet. After all, the typical burgers and fries found in many theme parks don’t exactly fit into the “healthy” category, and if you’ll be visiting for a week or more, eating that way every day is definitely not a good thing. Luckily, Disney does provide options, and with a little bit of searching, you’ll find plenty of great healthy choices that keep dining in Disney both fun and guilt-free.
1. Skip the Dining Plan
The first big decision you’ll need to make as far as dining goes is whether or not to invest in the Dining Plan. Honestly, those who are trying to eat healthy and maintain proper portion control will want to skip it. This is because the plan provides each person with an enormous amount of food, more than one dessert, and far too many sweet drinks daily. Obviously, once you pay for the plan, you’ll want to use all of the dining credits you can get, and this means eating all of those extra calories. Instead of paying for the Dining Plan, simply pay out of pocket. It almost certainly won’t cost you any more, and you won’t be tempted to eat more than you should.
2. Go for Water
Soft drinks in Disney World are super expensive. Water however, is absolutely free. In fact, even if you aren’t eating at a particular quick-service restaurant, they will be happy to give you a cup of water. Be sure to take advantage of this. You’ll save the money you might have spent on soda and other soft drinks, take in less sugar and fewer calories, and keep yourself nice and hydrated throughout your trip.
3. Look for Side Options
Many Disney dishes come with fries or other carb- and calorie-heavy sides. Instead of giving in and eating these less-than-healthy options, check the menu for other side options. Most eateries are happy to sub one side for another, so you can feel better about your choices.
4. …or Skip the Side
Speaking of sides, did you know you can actually skip the side entirely? Many Disney restaurants will allow you to order an entree without a side. This is a great option if you aren’t feeling very hungry or if there aren’t any healthy side options on the menu. Not only that, but ordering without a side may even save you a bit of cash!
5. Ask for Nutrition Information
Every Disney restaurant has a binder full of nutrition information about each and every menu item. Apparently some people have had issues getting calorie, sodium, and fat counts from these binders and claim that each one only contains ingredients. However, others have had luck finding the information they need. Besides, even just having the ingredients can be somewhat helpful in determining if a food item is something you want to put in your body.
6. Check Out the Kids Menu
If you’re looking for a way to keep portion sizes down, consider ordering off the kids menu. Counter-service spots don’t mind at all if an adult orders a kids meal, and some table-service restaurants will allow it as well. Kids meals are not only smaller than adult meals, they also tend to include healthier sides. On top of that, some restaurants even have “Mickey Check” meals on the menu. These meals meet certain nutritional criteria, meaning you can rest assured you’re eating a well balanced meal.
7. Seek Out Fresh Foods
Believe it or not, there are some super healthy snack options in Disney World. For instance, every park has at least one place to purchase fresh fruit. Are you a pineapple lover? Aloha Isle sells pineapple spears that are nearly as good as their beloved Dole Whip. Giant pickles are another great option that many guests love.
8. Modify Your Meal
Finally, it is important to note that all Disney restaurants will work with you to modify your meal to accommodate dietary restrictions. Always ask if you aren’t sure about the ingredients in a certain food, and be sure to mention allergies or other restrictions as soon as you sit down for a table-service meal. Disney will go out of their way to help.