Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finding Healthy Options When Dining at a Theme Park

On Twitter yesterday I promised some healthy eating tips while at a theme park thinking I'd be eating dinner at Disneyland. But then my super cool friend Morgan, who works in the TV industry, (OK, so she's just a PA, but to me that is still cool, I mean her office is next door to the Once Upon a Time cast!) got off of work late so my husband and I got Subway and ate dinner at home while we waited for her.
We recently moved so there's now a Subway about a block away which I already know is going to be dangerous... I'm a little bit obsessed with Subway salads. Pepperoncinis, cilantro, pickles, olives and just straight up deliciousness.

We finally got to Disneyland around 9 p.m. and headed to Cars Land at CA Adventure.  I think my favorite part of the new Cars Land is the Cozy Cone Motel and all of the cone themed things. 
They have "churros cone queso", "ice cream cones" and my favorite, "popcone!"
Literally everything is cone themed. I decided that my treat for the night would be some popcone and inside the giant cone they even had a picture of "Cone Henge" hahahaha...

..anyway... I got a popcorn, one of my favorite "healthier" snacks. Which leads me to today's topic (finally).

"Finding Healthy Options When Dining at a Theme Park"
As a Disneyland Annual Passholder, I'm there a lot.  So I can't really use the excuse "it's a special occasion" when eating there since it's not really a special occasion.  But even if you rarely spend time at the happiest place on earth (or other theme parks) there still are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself while still being good. It's just all about balance and planning ahead.

(1) Set a goal before you even get there.  Are you going to be there all day? If so, only splurge on one meal and decide ahead of time which meal it will be. Let yourself enjoy that meal and don't feel guilty! But do plan it out and have the whole experience.  SIT DOWN to eat and make a production out of it so that you get the full effect.

(2) Most theme parks have to let you take food in (because so many people have dietary restrictions) so it's a good idea to pack some healthy snacks when you're tempted by all the sights and smells. Trail mix, fruit, veggies - things that can survive in your purse/backpack all day without refrigeration. Something that helps me is packing a snack I really enjoy.  If I know I have my favorite trail mix with me and can look forward to that, I'm less tempted by the churros and ice cream.

(3) In the last few years, theme parks have gotten better at offering slightly healthier options so when you do decide it's time to buy a snack, there are definitely better options than others. Some of my favorites:
  • dill pickles
  • popcorn
  • chocolate covered bananas
  • corn on the cobb
  • coffee!!

Yes, I know these aren't perfect options. The pickle and popcorn are loaded with sodium - but we're talking comparatively here as well as recognizing - it's OK to enjoy yourself on a special day!

(4) My last tip is just a reminder that even though you may have walked around all day... you probably aren't burning as many calories as you might think.  I wore my heart rate monitor at Disneyland once and found that although I burned about 1,000 more calories than on a typical day - one choco-banana and a popcorn completely cancel that out....
Anyone have any tips to add? Any healthy snacks you've found hidden among the fatty and sugary theme park goodness?

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