Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disney World on a Diet

Disclaimer: this article is not approved by Walt Disney Corporation and they do not back any of the information included. This is one woman's personal opinion, and Disney Corp cannot be held responsible for any of it. The same goes for Rice Dream, Clif Bar, Sargento, and Babybel.

So I'm headed to Disney World again. I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to see the expressions of wonder and awe on my children's faces as the experience the magic of Disney. Amelia will be experiencing it for the first time.

However, behind the scenes building in intensity, is a fear that I'll repeat history and gain 10 lbs while I'm there, thus making a costly "fat clothes" budget deficit. I don't want that to happen. I'm so concerned about this particular circumstance that I've been looking for information all over the internet about ways to stay on your diet while at Disney without lugging around a cooler all day.

The closest I came to finding good information about this is a blog written by a Southern California mom on the subject. However, her advice was tailored to the California parks. Since we already have reservations at several of the table service restaurants in the Florida parks, her advice doesn't quite fit what I need.

Her blog, however, inspired me to not only dig out the information I need for myself, but to post it here for all to see. I didn't even bother to look up information on how many grams of fat or carbs were in a particular food, but rather I tried to keep my information purely to a calorie count. While there were a couple of holes in my plan (we're eating at two buffets with constantly changing menus), and there was no nutrition information provided by Disney, I used some common sense and a couple of external sites to put together a menu for the week that wouldn't throw me off completely.

Side note: Although I am pretty upset about the passing of the healthcare bill (or should we call it a government power grab against the will of the people), I hope that a few of the reforms force Disney to start posting more information on the nutrition of their foods. As one blogger put it, it's pretty ridiculous that Disney pushes the idea of the Princess/Prince with the perfect physique, yet doesn't provide reasonable nutrition to help our children attain that healthy goal.

There are a few things to keep in mind while looking through this menu.

1) My family tends to prefer a light breakfast and we like to sleep in. Therefore, we usually bring cheap easy breakfast items along with us. These include: juice and milk boxes, individual boxes of cereal, granola bars, pop tarts, and instant oatmeal packets (using the hotel coffee maker to heat the water).

For breakfast this time around I plan to bring my own homemade granola. It averages around 250 calories per 1/2 cup. I LOVE granola, so I eat it almost every morning. To keep things exciting I change the recipe slightly each time using different dried fruits and nuts. I also have an aversion to dairy (although I've never been diagnosed, I tend to get PND whenever I eat/drink too much). I will be bringing Enriched Original Rice Dream which measures at 120 calories per cup.

2) Although I don't plan to bring a cooler into the park each day, I will be bringing a morning snack and an afternoon snack. Whether or not I actually eat this food will depend on when we're planning to eat lunch or dinner, and what time we get up that day. The morning snack will be a Mini Cliff Bar. These little baby's have a whole lot of vitamins and I usually eat them in place of a multivitamin each day.

The second snack will vary between apples or oranges and a serving of cheese. This should be sufficient to curb my cravings for ice cream and popcorn in the middle of the day. Sargento seems to have the lowest low-calorie string cheese stick, and since I want maximize the foods I can eat from the Disney experience, this is the one I'm going for. I also really enjoy Mini Babybel Light.

3) I do not plan on eating an entire plate of food as presented at any of the sit-down restaurants. Portions tend to run much larger than an average person should eat in one sitting. I'm know, personally, I tend to feel tired and sluggish if I over eat, so not over filling my belly will be a pretty high priority.

I also plan on only drinking water unsweetened iced tea or a diet soda with my meals. Why drink your calories when you can eat them?

That said, I will now post the menus (2 meals and 1 snack) for each day I'll be there.

Sunday: At the Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table - Pan Seared Salmon, Jasmine Rice, Asian Vegetable Slaw and Garlic-Ginger Sauce: I figured 370 calories for the salmon, 205 for the Asian Slaw, and 140 for the rice.
Dinner at Columbia Harbour House - Vegetarian chili with a side of coleslaw. This site provided the recipe for the vegetarian chili that is served, and I figured about 2 cups of chili would be around 372 calories. Coleslaw is traditionally about 147 calories per half cup.
Dessert - A diet coke float. Diet coke is 0 calories, and 1/2 cup of soft serve ice cream is about 191 calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1610 calories

Monday: At Disney's Hollywood Studios
Lunch at Starring Rolls Cafe - Whole Wheat Veggie Pita with no sauce, and Fresh fruit. The veggies are virtually calorie free, the pita is 74 calories, and an average serving of mixed fruit is 75 calories. Even if I end up putting a bit of mustard or other low calorie topping on it, this is probably the healthiest meal I could eat anywhere in the resort.
Dinner at Mama Melroses - Spaghetti Fra Diavolo. I'm expecting the Fra Diavolo to be about 335 Calories, and the Spaghetti (or at least the amount I'll eat) about 200.
Dessert - Mickey Ice Cream Bar. This should run around 330 Calories
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1604 calories

Tuesday: At Epcot
Lunch at The Electric Umbrella - Chicken Nuggets with Apple Slices. Depending on the number of nuggets, I'm guessing around 235 calories. The Apple slices are 40 calories per pouch.
Dinner at Les Chefs de France - This one I just had to copy and paste. Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre noir Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts. The Tenderloin is about 202 calories The potato gratin and Green beans should be about 171 calories.
Dessert - We seem to have a tradition to eat funnel cake while watching the fireworks. So a Funnel cake with strawberry topping should be about 391 calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1619 calories

Wednesday: At Magic Kingdom
Lunch at Crystal Palace: Since this is a buffet, I'll be depending on my ability to steer clear of things that look too creamy and fill up on lots of veggies. That being said, I estimate I'll probably eat about 500 calories at this meal.
Dinner at Cosmic Ray's: Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. I'm not planning to eat any skin or dark meat, so the chicken should be about 170 calories. The potatoes and veggies should be about 264 calories.
Dessert - I'm going to head over the ice cream parlor on Main street and get a kids ice cream scoop with chocolate mickey ears. This should be about 211 Calories.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1735 calories

Thursday: at the Hotel (this time it's Port Orleans Riverside)
We generally take a day off during the week to give the kids some down-time. We've noticed that if we go to the parks every day they can't handle the stimulation and eventually have a meltdown. Of course, as they get older it's less necessary, but since we have a 1 year old, we are DEFINITELY taking the day off. (Yes, I realize it's kind of ironic that we have to take a day off from our vacation).
Lunch at the Riverside Mill Food Court: I'll be having a salad. If I include some grilled chicken and regular ranch dressing I'm figuring it will be about 279 Calories.
Dinner at Boma - This is another buffet. It's located at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. My husband went there during a conference and has been trying to take the family there for the last several years since. I'm figuring I'll probably eat about 500 calories of food for this meal.
Dessert - Back to the food court for this one. A individual serving of Apple pie is about 250 calories. If I'm even awake for this one, I think it's a good choice.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1609 calories

Friday: At Animal Kingdom and Epcot
We've been trying to get into Le Cellier for a long time and when the opportunity came up to get in we jumped at it. However, since our reservation is at 2:00 this days schedule is a bit off.
Lunch at Harambe Fruit Market - put simply, I'll be having apples with caramel. I'm guessing at about 90 Calories.
Meal at Le Cellier -Because of the odd timing I'm not sure if I'll be choosing from the lunch menu or the dinner menu. Since I'm not likely to enjoy this again for a long time, I'm going to splurge. From the lunch menu I'll order the NY Strip Steak. If I eat half the meat the calorie count should be about 381 for the steak and 131 for the potatoes. If I eat there for dinner I'll get the Prime rib. If I eat about 6 oz of the meat (I'm guessing this is about half) the calories will jump to 520 Calories.
Dinner at Yakitori House - Teriyaki Chicken. This should be about 440 calories. I'm not even sure I'll be hungry enough to eat a meal at this point though.
Dessert - A chocolate chip cookie. Two normal cookies are about 100 calories. I figure this is a good estimate of one cookie from Disney.
Including breakfast and both snacks, the caloric total for this day would be about 1751 calories (if I end up eating Prime Rib)

We'll be heading home on Saturday, so I won't post the menu for that day. I will say I'll plan on eating a salad at some fast food place on the way.

I'm sure some of you will read this and think, "This lady has a screw loose." But I hope others will be able to use this as encouragement to look for better options while they are enjoying the Disney resorts. I suppose I should promise at this point to give everyone an update on how well I did. I'm not promising anything because I am usually scrambling when we get back from vacation to get everyone back on a reasonable schedule, as well as getting caught up on vacation laundry. So we'll see.

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