I lost five pounds while on my Walt Disney World vacation, where indulged in candy-covered rice Krispy treats, Dole Pineapple Floats, fudge, brownies, cookies, pizza, burgers, steak, mushroom risotto, butter beer and more! How did I lose five pounds while eating whatever I wanted you may ask? Read on for my top seven tips for losing weight while on vacation:
- 1. Taste everything, finish nothing
My favorite part of visiting Walt Disney World is sampling their delicious food. Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, Soft Pretzels, Mickey Mouse shaped Rice Krispy Treats, oh my! My tummy is rumbling just thinking about it! The key word is “sample.” I would order a meal or snack and spilt it with my hubby or kids. I would inhale the lovely scent of the huge chocolate chip filled brownie from Main Street Bakery, sit down with a mug of hot coffee, close my eyes and take a few mouth-watering bites, enjoying every second of my treat. Then I would share the rest with my family. This allowed me to eat whatever I wanted, just in smaller portions.
2. Don’t eat salad
I heard so many people order Caesar Salad in the parks and explain that they are watching their calories. I know that it feels virtuous to order a salad instead of a burger, but the typical grilled chicken Caesar salad has more calories than a burger! The typical grilled chicken has 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat! Compare that to the average fast-food hamburger, which has 250 calories and 9 grams of fat. Disney World doesn’t provide nutritional information on the food in their parks, but if you compare the average calories from fast-food equivalents, the answer is clear on which item to choose. Not only does a hamburger have fewer calories, but it also has hunger-satisfying protein to keep your hunger at bay. Most Disney quick-service locations will allow you to substitute apple slices or grapes for French fries, making your meal a well-rounded choice. My favorite place to get a burger at WDW is at Pecos Bills in the Magic Kingdom! I order the burger and only eat half of the bun and make my own salad with the lettuce shreds and salsa at the burger bar. I eat grapes instead of French fries and have yogurt for dessert. Yummy!
3. Pay attention to your hunger scale
Visiting WDW requires a lot of walking, so make sure to match your eating to your hunger scale. You may try to cut calories by skipping meals or eating light, but then your hunger will attack, causing you to fill up on snacks and junk instead. You are burning a lot of calories by walking, so make sure to refuel your energy with healthy meals. However, on the flip side, don’t feel that you need to eat just because it’s mealtime. Some of the Disney portions are huge, so a big lunch may fill you up so much that you only need a light dinner. Just pay attention to your body and eat according to your hunger, not the clock.
4. Pack healthy snacks
Disney allows you to bring snacks into the park, so take advantage of this benefit by packing apples, trail mix, nuts, dried fruit and protein bars. Having your own healthy snacks will help when hunger attacks and the only options around are high-calorie ice cream and pretzels. Not only does packing your own snacks save you calories, it saves you money and time also!
5. Search for fruit
If you don’t like toting around a bag, don’t despair. Disney has several fruit carts with fresh apples, oranges and bananas around the park. You may have to hunt for them a bit, but healthy options are available. Here is a breakdown of where the fruit vendors are located:
Magic Kingdom: Liberty Square Market and Main Street Bakery (If you can avoid the allure of the decadent desserts in the display case)
Epcot: The Land Pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sunset Ranch Market and ABC Commissary
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Harambe Fruit Market
I use my Camelback to carry my water, keys and credit card. I fill it up with water before I hit the parks and refill it at the quick service stands. The quick service restaurants will provide you with a cup of ice water if you ask, so I keep my bag filled all day without spending a dime. This keeps me hydrated, which helps keep my hunger at bay.
7. Stay active
Walking around at the parks burns a ton of calories, but don’t forget to continue with your exercise routine while you are on vacation. Staying consistent with exercise not only will prevent you from sliding in performance while you are on vacation, but it will help you burn those extra calories from indulgences as well. When visiting Epcot, it is not uncommon to walk up to 8 miles while touring World Showcase Lagoon! Partner all of that walking with your morning exercise routine, and you’ll be burning calories all day. We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort, which is perfect for those who want to stay active while on vacation. There is a 1-mile jogging trail that encircles Lago Dorado. I ran my 14-mile long run on that trail while watching the sunrise over the shimmering lake. There is also a lap pool, which I took advantage of for swimming laps. I also lifted weights, ran on the treadmill, biked and did the elliptical in their onsite Health Club, La Vida. Given that Disney hosts several marathons throughout the year, which can be found at runDisney. I the Walt Disney World Marathon last year and it was so much fun! If you are looking to run a marathon, I highly recommend the WDW Disney Marathon or Princess Half Marathon.
It can be hard to stay motivated, but staying active will give you the energy to tour the parks all-day and excuse to indulge in the pretzel at Biegarten guilt-free!