Dining at Disneyland Resort can be one of the best parts of your trip. In my last post, I discussed some healthy snacking options throughout the park. Now, we will delve into making good choices at meals, which can be much more difficult.
Before going to the park, you want to start out your day with a healthy breakfast. My breakfast everyday is an IsaLean meal shake. I bring my bullet blender and whip up a quick shake with just water and the shake packet in my hotel room before hitting the park for the day. At 24 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbs, I am full and getting a great foundation for nutrition for the rest of the day.
Another good option is to stay in a hotel with breakfast included. Most of these include great, protein packed options like an omelet. Of course, do your best to not overdo it with a breakfast buffet. You don’t want to start your day off being sluggish.
For your meals, there are many great options in both parks, if you know where to look. I will start with some quick-service options at each park.
Disney’s California Adventure
On the Pacific Wharf, this is one of my favorites for a healthy, inexpensive meal. The best option is the Fire Grilled Citrus Chicken. You can reduce your calories and carbs by skipping the flour tortillas or sour cream, since you also get beans and rice. I say eat the guacamole for some healthy fats. The Fajita Salad is also great! Get your dressing on the side and dip your fork in it before each bite to save on calories.
FLO’S V8 CAFÉ
Found in Cars Land, this quick service dining location serves home-style meals. My favorite healthy options are the Spit-fired Rotisserie Quarter Chicken, which is served with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. Take it easy on the mashed potatoes and you have a well-balanced, protein packed meal. Another great option is the Citrus-Turkey Salad. There is even a delicious Veggie Tator Bake for those who don’t want eat meat, or wanting a break from animal proteins for a meal.
PARADISE GARDEN GRILL
Located in Paradise Pier, the flavors here are always fresh and changing. Currently, this location offers a Latin American inspired menu. What I love about the Street Tacos platter is that you get a lower calorie corn tortilla, rather than the flour offered at Cocina Cucamonga. The Ceviche Plate is also a delicious and healthy option.
Found in Adventure Land, this option can work for either a snack or a meal. To make a mean, double or triple up on the skewer options. For instance, 1 Bengal Beef Skewer, 1 Chieftain Chicken Skewer and an Outback Vegetable Skewer can make a delicious and balanced meal. I’m partial to the Safari Skewer as well, which is asparagus wrapped in bacon.
RANCHO DEL ZOCALO
This restaurant is found in Frontierland, next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Like Cocina Cucamonga in Disney’s California Adventure, this quick-service restaurant also offers Mexican food choices. Some options, like the grilled chicken are the same, but you can also find a delicious baked fish taco platter. Also, the 3 different tostada salads are a delicious, healthy option. The chicken tortilla soup is also a good choice, and is a great, warm option on a cold day.
HUNGRY BEAR RESTAURANT
Located in Critter Country, this location does not have a lot of perfect options, but there is a delicious Picnic Salad. Served with turkey breast and strawberry vinaigrette, this refreshing salad is worth it, if you can resist the burgers, fries, and onion rings around you!
In both parks: Table Service
Full table service restaurants are always a good pick. While more expensive, you will find more healthy options, and you can do your research ahead of time and go in with a plan. You likely want to make reservations ahead of time online at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining or by calling (714) 781-DINE. My personal favorites are the Blue Bayou at Disneyland Park and Carthay Circle, Ariel’s Grotto, and Wine Country Trattoria in Disney’s California Adventure.
One pitfall to the full service dining at California Adventure is that liquor is an option. If you plan to drink, remember that this can impact your overall calorie intake, and make you more likely to make poor food choices. Also, be careful of the bread served at nearly every restaurant. This is an easy way to sabotage your healthy eating plans.
To make the best choices, view the menus online ahead of time, and you’ll notice that every full table service restaurant has healthy choices like fresh fish and vegetables. If you have special dietary restrictions, you can speak with a Cast Member about these, and often, the chef will come out to discuss options.
Don’t forget that there are many restaurants surrounding the park, including those in the Disneyland Resort hotels and Downtown Disney, that also provide great options. As with everything, moderation is the key to a healthy trip. You will be walking at least 10 miles every day, so you will need to eat more than usual. And don’t forget to enjoy a treat. This can help you feel more satisfied and avoid binging on bad choices.