Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Body pt. 2

Well, we started our holistic journey talking about Disney running, so now it’s time to venture on to one of my favorite topics:  food!  You can’t look at how Disney affects the body without talking about some of the amazing food found in Disney parks.  And with many of their recent changes, Disney food is healthier food as well.

A few years ago, Walt Disney World began making changes to their menus and offering more healthy options for park visitors.  These changes really focused on giving kids meals more healthy side options, such as fruit and raw veggies rather than french fries.  However, there are a lot of healthy options for adults as well.  Some examples include:
Quick Service
  • Tangierine Café, Epcot: Veggie Platter, Mediterranean wraps and salads, Couscous, Tabouleh
  • Sunshine Seasons, Epcot: Soups, Salads, Noodle Bowls with Stir-fried Veggies, Roasted Meats, Oatmeal
  • Cosmic Ray’s, Magic Kingdom: Turkey and Bacon Wrap, Veggie wrap/burger
  • Sleepy Hollow, Magic Kingdom: Chicken and Rice Soup
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station, Magic Kingdom: Steamed Broccoli, Noodle Bowls, Tofu
  • Tamu Tamu, Animal Kingdom: Tuna salad pita, Turkey and swiss on Focaccia
  • Flame Tree BBQ, Animal Kingdom: Turkey sandwich
  • Starring Rolls and Backlot Express, Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Grilled veggie sandwich, Southwest salad with chicken 
Table Service
  • Sanaa, Kidani Village: Mustard Seed Crusted Scallops, Salad Sampler, Tandoori Chicken or Shrimp with rice
  • Teppan Edo, Epcot: Hibachi-style cooking. Consider fish or chicken with veggies.
  • Yak and Yeti, Animal Kingdom: Miso Salmon, Mandarin Chicken Salad
  • bluezoo (Swan/Dolphin), Nacroossee’s (Grand Floridian), Coral Reef (Epcot): All have light fish/seafood dishes.
  • Kouzzina, Disney’s Boardwalk: Kouzzina Sampler (Choice of two skewers with Marinated Olives, Spiced Cashews, Dolmades, Tzatziki, Hummus, and Grilled Pita), Fisherman’s Stew, Spiced Briami
  • The Wave, Contemporary Resort: Seasonal Vegetable Stew or Linguini with Clams and Red Sauce
  • Tusker House, Animal Kingdom: Tofu, Chicken, Salmon, Rice, Veggies
  • Tokyo Dining, Epcot: Sushi, Chicken, Steak, Veggies, Rice
  • Marrakesh, Epcot: Chicken Kebabs, Fish Tangine, Salmon
-The Disney Food Blog:  “Healthy Eating In Walt Disney World”

There are also many snack options that can be found throughout the parks and resorts, including fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, pretzels, and more.  For those of you who enjoy the “Eat This Not That” approach, the Disney Food Blog article referenced above also includes their own Disney version of “Eat This Not That” which covers many Disney fan favorites.  For more detailed information, visit www.thedisneyfoodblog.com.  They have additional articles on following a low-carb diet while at Disney, healthy snack options, and the best restaurants for vegetarians.

And when it comes to specialized dining, Disney is the gold standard.  Walt Disney World chefs have always been attentive to the dietary needs of their guests.  Whether it be a specific food allergy or a request for diabetic friendly foods, Disney chefs are willing to meet with you to discuss your dining concerns and make dishes just for you.   You can also note special food requests on your dining reservations, whether you call them in or book them online.

Most recently, Disney began an initiative known as Disney Magic of Healthy Living-The Weekend, which is focused on finding ways that ‘healthy’ can also be fun.  This first year targeted kids ages 8-14, who had the opportunity to write essays sharing their own ideas on living a healthier lifestyle.  The winning writers were then given the opportunity to participate in weekend events including active games from around the world, healthy cooking and meal planning with Disney chefs, and planting vegetable gardens.  However, this initiative isn’t just a one weekend opportunity (which actually took place this past weekend, March 18-20, 2011).  Disney has launched a Magic of Healthy Living website which has fun and interactive information for kids and families on ways to live healthier lives, including recipes, activity ideas and more.  Visit disney.go.com/magic-of-healthy-living/ncds/ for more information.

Two new places that I hope to check out on our upcoming vacation are Fresh-A-Peel and Babycakes, both located in the old McDonald's building in Downtown Disney.  These two eateries offer up some new and healthy options such as local produce, all-natural burgers, fresh fruit, vegetarian options, gluten free & vegan baked goods, and more!  Everything I've heard is that they have some fabulous food, so I will be sure to review them for you.  For more information, check out these websites:  www.babycakesnyc.com & www.themouseforless.com/disneynews/?p=2327.  

One thing to keep in mind though is that holistic Disney doesn’t just have to focus on eating healthy, but also on the overall eating experience.  More often than not, dining in Walt Disney World is as much about the experience as it is about the food itself.  The atmosphere of a restaurant, the presentation of the food, the appearance of characters, all appeal to the senses and create the experience.  Having some of the amazing culinary creations that Disney chefs make are many times worth the extra calories.  And besides, it is vacation after all, shouldn’t eating sometimes just be fun?  
So share with me your thoughts.  What are some of your favorite healthy eating options at Disney?  Or just favorite overall dining experiences at Walt Disney World?  I can't wait to hear from you!  And just for fun, below are more of my favorite Disney food pics!  No drooling on the computer screen!

 Desserts from Cinderella's Royal Table

Entrees from Tony's Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom

Pizza slice from Via Napoli & Breakfast from Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, both in Epcot

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