Six Disney Food Survival Tips
Is it one of your life’s dreams to get there? Or are you not into the lines and crowds?
I would definitely put myself into the latter category. Camping is one of my favorite pastimes. Nature. Solitude. Calm. My life is crazy enough as it is, so going into an environment of man-made chaos is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I just returned from a three day Disney adventure because we had family that flew in from Massachusetts that my daughter had never met and she very much enjoyed meeting her cousins…and Mary Poppins.
One of the first and most obvious things to me, of course, was the food choices of many Disney-goers. At the “resort” we stayed at there was a cafeteria where my family and I ate. During one particular breakfast I noticed a sadly obese child that had skittles, some sort of cinnamon bun, a chocolate chip cookie, bacon and a chocolate chip pancake on his plate and was washing that down with his ($17) mug of Coke. The more I looked around, the more I realized it was the same with many of the parents and other children’s plates. Some of the “healthy” choices were Light and Fit yogurt, flavored milks and frosted flakes. If you know anything about the commercial dairy industry and GMO corn, you know this is not actually a healthy choice.
So what is a food conscious person to do? With a little planning you can both save money and stay healthy!
1) Spend a little time to plan ahead. Choose a few recipes to make beforehand, such as this five ingredient black bean burger. **(For those flying in see below.)
2) Find out if you can get a refrigerator in your room or if you will need to get ice each morning.
3) Bring a canvas bag for non-refrigeration items, a large cooler for anything that must stay cold and smaller lunch bag for the day trips.
4) Each morning separate breakfast items out and then pack enough food items for lunch and snacks in the smaller bag. (You will have a much easier time of this with a plant based diet since you won’t need to worry as much about refrigeration.) If you are not going back to the room for dinner, you will need to pack that too.
5) Bring paper plates, napkins and utensils. (If you are flying in you can get these on the park grounds, but taking them along allows you to forgo having to stand in line to obtain only a plate.)
6) Bring some reusable storage containers that you can portion your lunch into and rinse out each night.
Note: For lunch items such as a bean burger, there are a few restaurants that are happy to allow you to use their condiments such as salsa, lettuce, tomato and onion when you tell them you or your child has food allergies – especially if you do purchase something from them such as a side salad or small iced coffee (I packed my own coconut creamer).
**If you are flying in, prior to leaving home, purchase and pack a soft sided cooler. Upon arriving in Orlando find a grocery store such as Publix and stock up on some ice and essentials. You can still make these five ingredient black bean burgers - all you need is a can of beans, mustard, ketchup, some instant oats, salt and pepper and a microwave.
The outcome? With just this little bit of preparation: 1) I saved enough money to cover my daughter’s three day ticket into the park as a Florida resident and 2) we had some really delicious food compared to some of the generic items available. There would have been almost nothing either of us could eat between my plant based diet and my daughter’s food allergies. I found almost no meat/dairy free choices, unless we wanted to get a iceberg lettuce salad or a plastic packaged $7 bowl of melon.
Some of the items I packed included refillable water bottles with filters, fresh fruit, dried fruit, sun butter/peanut butter, whole grain bagel thins, rice cakes, home made bean burgers, an avocado, onion and tomato, carrots and hummus, salsa and organic corn chips, oatmeal, coconut milk creamer, rice milk for my daughter and a few splurge items such as a container of Blissful Blueberry Bake, gluten free fig newtons and GF pretzels.
Looking at the population of people that was in the parks was disheartening. There were so many people that were so overweight they actually had to have motorized wheelchairs to get around. It made me so sad and wishful that I could help them. But as with all things in life we can only Live and Let Live and lead by example. The more of us that band together in these situations and show people that eating and living healthy is possible the better. My hope is that even ONE person saw what we were doing and said you know what, I’m going to do that next time!
This blueberry bake is a simple and satisfying warm dessert. For those folks where fresh blueberries are not available, frozen would work great too. Whatever you choose, be sure to get a variety that does not contain added sugars or salt -this way you can control the amount that is added to the recipe.
I encourage you to dress this base recipe up in different ways – some ginger or cinnamon would be lovely or the addition of some extra pecans or other nuts. Don’t like agave? Try subbing some 100% maple syrup. Any which way, you can’t go wrong with baked blueberries!
Blissful Blueberry Bake
Vegan, Gluten Free
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, Feb 7 through Mar 6, 2013
1 pint fresh blueberries**
¼ cup agave nectar, (Madhava)**
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup gluten free granola, (Natures Path)**
1 tsp coconut oil, melted (Nutiva) **
1. Preheat oven to 350F; mix blueberries, agave, lemon and salt in a small baking dish; mix granola and coconut oil in a small dish and then spoon over blueberries evenly; cover and bake 60 minutes, until warm and bubbly.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 166.4 mg
Potassium 94.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Sugars 29.8 g
Protein 2.7 g
Vitamin A 2.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.9 %
Vitamin C 24.7 %
Vitamin E 5.0 %
Calcium 1.3 %
Copper 3.1 %
Folate 1.6 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 1.3 %
Manganese 14.2 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.9 %
Phosphorus 1.1 %
Riboflavin 3.0 %
Selenium 0.8 %
Thiamin 3.3 %
Zinc 0.8 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy my Blissful Blueberry Bake and Six Disney Food Survival Tips!