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Have Fun at Disney World on a Diet

Hollywood & Vine restaurant; Image via DisneyWorld.com

When it comes to amusement parks, roller coasters and funnel cakes are common sites, but healthy low calorie food is not. Yet, mega-fun spot Disney World is a trailblazer leading the way in offering healthy fare to its millions of enthusiastic guests.

If you’re taking the kids to Disney World for a vacation, you don’t have to derail your diet like a malfunctioning roller coaster. In fact, the Florida park has plenty to offer both health-minded folks and the not-so health-minded kids. Here is a look at how to navigate your way through Disney World so that even if you blow your budget, you don’t have to blow your diet.

Counter Service

In most amusement parks, healthy fare at food stands and food counters is pretty much nonexistent. Instead, hot dogs, curly fries, corn dogs, nachos and mega-sized sodas are the norm. But at Disney World, grilled chicken options, veggie burgers, turkey pitas, pre-packaged green salads, trail mix and fruit salad are quite easy to come by. For the kids, there are also nutritious selections like kiddie-sized portions of apple slices, applesauce, carrot sticks, whole fruit bars, grapes and more.

Restaurants and Cafes

When it comes to grabbing a meal at a cafe or restaurant, you have a much wider selection of healthy fare. Take advantage of Disney World’s around-the-world theme and sample the healthy offerings of ethnic cuisines, like Japan, Thai, and Middle Eastern. A few rules of thumb when dining out: Choose steamed or sauce on the side when it comes to stir-fries and entrees. Avoid offerings that have “crispy” or ”pan-fried” in the item description and choose brown rice over white rice and keep starch portions to a fist-sized or less.

Here are a few Disney World restaurants and their healthy picks:

  • Tokyo Dining in Epcot Center: Choose sushi, steamed vegetable dishes, chicken stir-fries and seaweed salad.
  • Harambe Fruit Market in Animal Kingdom: Indulge your sweet tooth in delicious fruit salads, fruit smoothies and vegetable juices.
  • Tangierine Cafe in Epcot Center: Feast on healthy Moroccan cuisine like grilled chicken kebabs, couscous salad and a Mediterranean wrap.
  • Flatbread Grill in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Enjoy a grilled turkey sandwich, Greek salad or chicken Caesar salad, with the sauce on the side.
  • Bongos Cuban Cafe: Savor the flavors of Cuban roasted chicken, beans and rice and seafood paella at Gloria Estefan’s restaurant.

One of your greatest protectors against the bulge in Disney World are your legs! Use them to walk all over the park. Keep in mind that most resorts and hotels will also be equipped with a gym, so before the kids are awake, hit the fitness center. By starting the day off on a healthy note, you’ll be much more likely to say no to the creamy Mickey ice cream bar and treat yourself to a low-fat small frozen yogurt instead.

Also read:

Carnival Fun the Healthy Way

Top Fitness-Friendly Honeymoon Locations

February 3rd, 2011

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