Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dieting at Walt Disney World

Here is great advice from Hungry Girl about watching what you eat while at Walt Disney World or any theme park.

Dear Hungry Girl,

I'm going to Disney World in a few weeks, and I'm wondering if you have any tips on eating there. As far as I know, the restaurants don't provide nutritional information, so I am at a loss. Help! How do I not gain weight while I'm there?

Amusement Confusement

Dear Amusement Confusement,

You're not alone! Now that the warm weather is here, many of us will be spending time at fairs and amusement parks, spots that can be pretty scary when it comes to meals and snacks. I have a few rules for day trips to these types of places...

1. Bring emergency snacks. These are things you can keep in your bag to help you avoid eating the crazy-high-calorie snacks that pop up at parks. I like to have sweet stuff, minty things, and protein-packed options handy: Tootsie Pops, sugar-free hard candies, sugar-free mints, sugar-free gum, jerky, light cheese snacks that don't need refrigeration, 100-calorie packs of almonds -- all GREAT. Click here for a huge list of travel-friendly treats.

2. If you find yourself at the park without emergency snacks, seek out treats that aren't too bad for you. At Disney, there are 100-calorie packs of Minnie Mouse cookies all over the place. Typically, you can also find fresh fruit. And at any amusement park, you're better off with a few bites of cotton candy or a soft pretzel than with greasy, fatty funnel cakes or churros!

3. Check out menus online ahead of time. Even if the restaurants don't have nutritionals posted, you can usually find out what's on the menu before you get there. Then at least you will be prepared for what to expect and can make the best choices. In fact, check out this unofficial guide we found for dining at Disney!

4. In general, when it comes to meals, stick with deli meats or grilled lean protein (like chicken), rather than hot dogs, pizza, or hamburgers. And if you're going for a salad, pay close attention to the dressing, 'cuz there's a good chance it will have more calories than the salad itself! Your best bet with salads is to order the dressing on the side, and then dip (don't pour!).

Click here for an overall guide to menu reading and dining out. And click here for more info on surviving theme parks. Good luck and have fun!

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