How to Eat Healthy at Disneyland

disneyland castle

Disneyland is a magical place, filled with characters, rides, and…unhealthy, expensive food. Disneyland isn’t a big as Disney World of course, but it can still get tiring from walking and being in the sun all day. Mix in the sugar crash and carb overload from the food, and you have a recipe for an exhausted Disneyland experience. And who wants to pay that admission money to get tired a few hours later? The reason why I know about this is because it happened to me. Many times.

I didn’t know at the time that it was what I was eating that was making me a zombie mentally and want to go home several hours early. After making a few small adjustments to what I eat, my experience at Disneyland is as different as night and day. Which means I can actually last from the day to the night, and pretty easily too.

Here are a few tips to eating healthy at Disneyland that I’ve learned from my experience living in California and as a nutritionist.

Downtown Disney Pitstop

The cool thing about Disneyland versus Disney World is the walkability. You can walk from California Adventure to Disneyland usually in just a few minutes. And the same goes for Downtown Disney.

When you’re inside the park (California Adventure or Disneyland), the food is pretty expensive. You’ll find even the most basic entrees for $15+. The good news is that since Downtown Disney is right outside, and doesn’t require a pass to get in, the prices aren’t as high. Meaning you can find much healthier options for a similar price.

The outdoor Uva Bar, in front of Catal Restaurant, at Downtown Disney District
Uva Bar at Disneyland. Photo source: Disney

I personally like Uva Bar for this option. You can eat outside in the shade and have much healthier options than the majority of other places. They also have a full bar and good service. If you’re finding yourself hungry for some healthier lunch, Uva is definitely a good pitstop.

Bonus tip–Starbucks has free water, meaning you don’t have to spend $5 per bottle as you do in the parks. Just ask for a venti ice water and simply take it back into the park with you.

Bring a Picnic

backpack, lunchboxes, and water bottles

Since both my girlfriend and I ran into the tired issue at Disneyland and wanted to stay longer, we started bringing our own lunch.

Sometimes we cook dinner the night before and bring leftovers, and sometimes we just stop at Whole Foods and get their hot lunch (it’s still the same price as most food in Disneyland, but way better quality).

An advantage of bringing Whole Foods is their disposable containers. So, after we eat lunch, we don’t have to carry anything extra during all the walking and rides.

We also bring a backpack with a couple of snacks for later in the day. This helps divert the sugar cravings and saves us money by eating healthier. And drinking enough water is especially important to curb sugar and hunger (pack some water bottles!)

My girlfriend will usually bring an apple or two, and I’ll pack some Keto Cups, which can be found at Whole Foods (they melt, so pack them in a small lunchbox to keep them cool). I’ll also pack some almonds or walnuts.

These quick additions will last us the entire day. We’ll then grab dinner after leaving the park, which is great because there are some amazing restaurants around the Disneyland area.

Eat Beforehand, and Plan What You’re Going to Eat

A woman using a smartphone

Obviously, there’s a lot of walking at Disneyland, which means hunger will come up several times while you’re there. Eating before you enter the park can help you stay full for a good part of the day. If you want an affordable breakfast and decent options, there’s at least 3 Denny’s right next to the park. Filling up on some eggs and other protein can get you far.

But, when you start getting hungry, it’s nice to know what options you have. By doing just a few minutes of searching, you can find a couple of restaurants and view their menu in advance. This way you know where to stop and what to get. If you’re looking at not having your blood sugar crash while at Disneyland, or if you’re sticking to a particular diet, this is a great step to keep in mind.

It’s no secret Disneyland makes a lot of money on expensive, but nutritionally cheap food. It may taste good, but reducing your energy and making you hungry again an hour later isn’t a good strategy for maximizing your Disneyland experience. My girlfriend and I recently found these tips to work wonders for us, and we’re going to apply them again tomorrow when we visit the park.

Have any tips or tricks that worked well for you at Disneyland? Share them with us in the comments below!

Want more Disneyland health tips? Checkout this video by Jordie Andrade

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