Healthy Hump Day: Is Eating Right at an Amusement Park Possible?

Posted: July 13, 2016  

Is Eating Right at an Amusement Park Possible? I Say Yes.

My family loves amusement parks. We have already ventured to Hershey Park, a family favorite, and have a fun-filled adventure to Disney World planned later this year. Taking kids, especially picky-eaters, to an amusement park for entire days can be difficult. As a registered dietician, even I have a hard time when choosing where and what my kids will eat. “Eating right at an amusement park can seem like an impossible feat, but it doesn’t have to be,” tweeted Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Jim White, RDN, ACSM-HFS. “Now that people are more health conscious than ever, there are a surprising number of healthy options. You just need to know where to look for them.”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shared some more great information in its article, 5 Tips for Eating Healthy at the Amusement Park by Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, CDN, published July 06, 2016.  A quick rundown:

  1. Scout it out. Nutritious options like grilled versus fried, vegetables versus fries are available.  How about fruit-packed smoothies as an option? Don’t wait until the kids are at hunger meltdown stage to find something. Be looking all morning and have a plan. Even better, places like Disney, have lots of information about meal options online. Do your homework.
  2. BYO snacks.  Start you day with a healthy breakfast before you hit the park. This guarantees a good start for the day. If you can, bring in granola, nuts, veggies and fresh fruit and store it in a central location so you can access it for snacks. If you cannot bring in your own food, most parks have some healthy options available. See number 1.
  3.  Sip smart. Stick to water. Filling up on sugar-filled drinks all day is not only bad for your health and waistline, it’s hard on your pocketbook. Refillable containers may be the way to go. Not only do you get a reduced, if not zero, cost for water as a refill, you have a memento of your trip.
  4. Don’t cave. It is hard when your kids keep asking, okay nagging is the better word, for sugary treats. Don’t give in. Easier said than done when everyone is hot and tired, I know. But, you will be happy you did. The kids will have more energy, no sugar crashes and are less cranky. Bonus!
  5. But you can indulge a little. If most of the day’s food choices have been healthy ones, later in the day is a perfect time to sit down and savor a small treat. Not only will the break be revitalizing, the treat will be appreciated more than a day full of forgotten sugary snacks eaten in haste and possibly even thrown away when entering a ride.

Focus on the fun, not the food. You will be happier and surprisingly so will your kids.

A few more articles: