Recently, my family and I took a trip to the magical world of Disney for Spring break. This included four days of all day walking, riding rides, hunting down characters, dancing through Mainstreet, catching monorails, and just having a blast. All of this left no time for cooking, which meant quick and easy meals/snacks throughout the day. Here are some ways I ate healthy and saved money while enjoying being on vacation at the most magical place in the world…
1. Find a grocery store, and stock up
The first thing I did when arriving, was find the closest grocery store, to buy snacks and foods to last the week. I had never been to a Publix before, so I was pretty excited to go to one.
2. Eat a filling breakfast:
Each morning before we left for the day, I would make a big bowl of oatmeal with oats, almond milk, two bananas, pumpkin, and cinnamon. Then I would drink a mug of coffee to keep me going. Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast option to start a long day of magical adventures, because it keeps you full from the fiber in the oatmeal, and the carbs from the bananas gives you energy. Also, eating a big breakfast before you leave rather than eating inside the parks is a great way to save money.
3. PACK YOUR OWN FOOD (my number 1 tip!)
Not knowing what the parks would have for food options, or how much money they would be, I made sure to pack snacks to last me all day. Mostly I packed things that would fit in my small bag and be easy to eat while walking and standing around. It is so important to pack your own food, because that way you’ll always have it, and you’ll know exactly what it is you’re going to be eating. If you keep your hunger at bay by munching on your snacks all day it will keep you from getting super hungry and binging on not so good for you foods in the park. Also, Disney World’s food options are pretty expensive, and so you’ll definitely be saving money by bringing your own food.
Here are some snacks I brought:
GMO free corn cakes from Real Foods, Kale & Spinach Chips, natural almonds, natural walnuts, and vegan edamame chips from Trader Joes.
Dried fruit, packs of raisins, dates, and apricots. Dried fruits are AMAZING snacks because they are small, delicious, and are more calorie dense and have lots of sugars/carbs for quick energy.
Fruit puree is also a great source of calories/carbs and it is so easy to eat while walking/waiting in lines, etc. Some people may call it baby food, but I call it a perfect snack. Look for the fruit AND veggie options, to get even more nutrients.
4. Look for fresh food options
There were several food options in the parks that were definitely healthy, and great food choices. In Epcot, there were great food choices in all the countries, including steamed vegetables and rice in Japan and even hummus and vegetables in Morocco! Also it was pretty easy to find fresh fruit, and even potatoes/corn throughout Magic Kingdom. Look for the words ‘steamed’ and ‘baked’ rather than ‘fried’ or ‘breaded’ and be cautious of all the frozen treats. Stick with smoothies (Tomorrowland had a great smoothie place) or juices with ice instead of sorbets, ice cream, etc.
5. Bring a water bottle
Even in March, Orlando was pretty hot and with walking so much it was pretty easy to get dehydrated, so save money on expensive bottled water, or drinks at Disney and bring your own water bottle, and just refill it with water when you’re thirsty. I also found that it was pretty easy to get a cup of ice for free at most restaurants. Staying hydrated will keep your hunger at bay, and keep you from getting exhausted.
If you need a pick me up in the middle of day, get some coffee. But stick to simple black coffee, or even a shot of espresso! There were tons of cafes in the park that sold coffee, it was rather expensive, but definitely worth it if you need a little boost of energy. Black coffee has no calories, and won’t give you as much of a “crash” than a sugary coffee drink will. Also, black coffee is always much cheaper than the sugar filled coffee drinks.
So those are my tips for eating healthy at Disney, or at any type of theme park. The key to eating healthy is bringing your own food, so you’re not tempted by all the high calorie, high fat, high sugar options that are in the parks. By having your own food you won’t be as likely to spend money on the park’s foods that may not be as good for you.