Healthy Eating at Disneyland

When thoughts of Disneyland come to mind, visions of Dole Whips and whiffs of cinnamon and sugar doused churros often appear. For those of us who either by choice or by necessity need to eat things without such a high sugar content, a trip to Disneyland may pose a challenge. In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted!” While there are definitely many ways to blow your healthy eating plan at Disneyland, there are also many ways to stick to it! Whether you’re on a low carb, Atkins or Paleo like diet, or you’re on a 21 day sugar detox, healthy eating at Disneyland is totally possible if you know where to look.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are sharing dining tips for your Disney vacation.


 

While you definitely have the good old stand-by option of ordering a burger without a bun or a salad without the dressing, why use it if you don’t have to! I mean, there are only so many bunless burgers a person can eat in their lifetime. There are tons of other options out there that you should be aware of before you head to the “happiest place on Earth.”

For the purposes of this particular post, I’m going to focus on food low in carbs and sugar at quick service eateries where you can eat without a reservation. This way, locals who might not plan their trips ahead or people not looking to bring their little ones into a restaurant atmosphere can easily track down find some healthy foods while in the parks. Hopefully sometime in the future I can look into the table service meals as well.

So What Can I Eat, and Where?

Let’s start with the obvious: Disneyland Turkey Leg

1) The one, the only…the Turkey Leg!!! Basically, it is a Turkey leg. Yep. That’s it! Some people absolutely swear by them and consider them a must eat in the parks, diet or not! It is a bit too tendon-y for my taste, but if you have your heart set on walking around Frontierland feasting on a turkey leg like some king at his royal table, then have at! While turkey itself is definitely low carb, I can’t speak for the brine that it sits in before it is served. If you’re someone like me who isn’t too concerned with the spices or brine the meat sits in, especially while on vacation, then this might be the Disney meal you’ve always dreamed of! This meaty goodness will set you back roughly $12.

**UPDATE: The calorie content on the turkey leg is high…like really high! However, if you’re looking to cut out sugar and carbs, you can’t do much better than a leg full of turkey! Not to mention that this item is really meant to be shared, so grab a turkey leg and share with someone you love! **

Flo's V8 Cafe Rotisserie Chicken

               — Disneyland Today (@DisneylandToday) August 22, 2014

2) On that note, let’s hop over to Flo’s V8 Cafe in California Adventure. They not only have “the finest fuel on Route 66,” but a killer Spit Fired Rotisserie Quarter Chicken with vegetables and potatoes, all for $12.49. Sub more vegetables for the potatoes and you’ve got yourself the perfect sugar detox friendly meal…and at Disneyland no doubt! Maybe you just chowed down on that turkey leg and you’re not quite ready for a protein filled meal. You can also just make a snack of side of veggies or fruit for $2.99.

Bengal Barbecue Skewers

Photo Credit: Melissa from Rolling with the Magic

3) Now for a food adventure in Adventureland at the Bengal Barbecue!!! This is my personal favorite place to grab lunch at the parks. Why? Because bacon. ‘Nuff said. No? Okay, I’ll say a bit more. At the Bengal Barbecue you can get Safari Skewer (aka bacon wrapped asparagus) for $4.19 and the Outback Vegetable Skewer (just leave out the potato) for $3.99. If you’re feeling like you need a bit more protein to get you through the day, you can order one of the other meat skewers and simply leave off the sauce. The only thing that I see as a negative about this place is that it is in the middle of one of the more crowded and tightly packed areas in the park. Finding a place to sit and eat may be a struggle, but lucky for you, skewers are pretty easy to devour on the go!

“Citrus Fire-Grilled Chicken” Rancho del Zocalo, Disneyland Park

                                  Photo courtesy of the Disneyland News page

4) My last two healthy meal suggestions are of the Mexican food variety! As a native Southern Californian, Mexican food is of course my favorite kind of food! Thank goodness for some deliciously healthy options at the Disneyland Resort. Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante has one of my favorite options: Citrus Fire-grilled Chicken that you can snag for $14.49. Sub the rice and beans for veggies and you’re good to go! Just looking at the photo above makes me hungry….more like hangry since I can’t go to Disneyland right now and eat it! Nope, it is leftovers for me…again. Sigh.

5) Moving on to the final restaurant suggestion of this post: Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill at California Adventure. Here, I get one of two things: the Fire-Grilled Citrus Chicken that runs $14.49 or the Hacienda Chickn Ceasar salad at $12.99. The salad requires the omission of dressing, sour cream and taco shell strips to qualify as “healthy” under the low/no-carb guidelines I’m using for this post, but it still has pico de gallo and guacamole so you won’t just be eating dry lettuce. The chicken is definitely the favorite here, not just for flavor, but for sheer size! You’re served an entire half chicken on your plate! Meaning that this meal is perfect for sharing! Just sub out the rice and beans for veggies and you’re good to go!

Cocina Cucamonga Fire-Grilled Citrus Chicken

— Disneyland Today (@DisneylandToday) November 10, 2015

Those sum up my favorite healthy meals to eat at the Disneyland Resort parks, but that is by no means an exhaustive list! There are many healthy options out there for all kinds of dietary requirements, so no matter what your particular need is, be it gluten free, sugar free, or low carb, never feel like you have to compromise your health just because you’re at Disneyland.

Got any other advice?

Of course! Before I let you go, here are a few tips that will help you with your healthy eating while in the parks:

***As always water is your friend, and you can get free ice water at any of the quick service places. On really hot days, they often have cups of ice water all ready to go for the many people who take advantage of this free and refreshing offering!

***Healthy snacks can be found at a number of kiosks in the form of apples, bananas, pineapple wedges, mango slices, carrots, etc. If your eating plan allows for fruit, you’ve definitely struck a goldmine in the snack area! Vegetable snacks are a little less abundant, but still out there.

***If you’re anything like me, watching the rest of your family eat churros without you may hurt your soul, so bring a few healthy snacks from home or purchase one ahead of time so that you have it on hand in case of an “I’m about to snatch your churro and devour it” emergency!

 

For more Disney dining suggestions, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Where to Eat If . . . Loop:

About The Author

My name is Michaelyn Pouncey and I am a mom to three beautiful girls. I grew up in Southern California and was lucky enough to have a Disneyland annual pass up until recently. Disneyland was a huge part of my childhood and I love that it is a part of my children’s as well. I started this blog first and foremost out of my love for everything Disney. I also wanted to help other people who may want more information on the parks or who just want to look at some pretty pictures of all things Disney has to offer!

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  • DIStherapy

    The availability of healthy options at Disney parks has come a LONG way, hasn’t it?! I’m with you on Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante- I love their vegetarian offerings. Hold the cheese! Another healthy destination for me is Paradise Garden Grill- their grilled kabobs are to die for! Like you, I like having a plan for at least one healthy meal a day while in the parks. After that, game on! 😀

  • Going to Disney is like the one time when I usually let myself go from eating healthy, but these are great tips for anyone who sticks to it better than I do! I love that the options aren’t just salads.

  • Lisa Cameron

    When we go to Disney on a racecation, I have to cut back and try to eat on the healthy side throughout the week. Your tips and suggestions will be helpful if we ever race in Disneyland.