Friday, June 7, 2013

Tips for Healthy Eating on a Theme Park Vacation

Written By Kendra Thornton

Theme parks are a lot of fun for kids and adults alike, but they can pose challenges for health-conscious parents.  Many parks do not allow outside food or beverages, and the fare inside the park can be overpriced and chock full of sugar and sodium.  Fortunately, it's possible to have a fun day out at the park without resorting to expensive and unhealthy meals; you just need to do a bit of planning in advance.  Here are some ideas for maintaining healthy habits at a theme park destination:

1.)  Eat a healthy breakfast before you arrive at the park.  Filling up at the start of the day will give you energy and prevent the urge to buy additional snacks inside the park.  Most Orlando hotels serve complimentary breakfast, and some of the nicer resorts will provide excellent healthful options.  Focus on filling, nutritious fare like oatmeal, eggs and fresh fruit and skip the sugary pastries.  

2.)  When eating out, opt to share entrees rather than ordering individually.  Many theme parks have restaurants that are worth sampling, but the prices can be quite high and the portions very large.  Solve this by ordering one or two entrees and sharing them among the family.  You can fill in any gaps with more inexpensive side dishes.  

3.)  Keep plenty of snacks in the fridge at the hotel.  By keeping the hotel room stocked with healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, protein bars and whole wheat crackers, you can stave off hunger after returning to the hotel and prevent any late-night cravings for fast food or vending machine visits.  If the theme park allows you to bring your own food, you can pack a small cooler of healthy snacks to bring with you wherever you go. If you have to get something on the go at the park, I would encourage you to still make healthy fast food decision to avoid repercussions later!

4.) When traveling by car, take frequent rest stops to allow your kids to run around and blow off some steam.  This will help prevent them from being too out-of-control once you arrive at the destination, and it can give them some exercise as well.  

5.) Encourage hand washing.  Before you sit down to eat, make sure your kids wash their hands properly.  Theme parks can be a breeding ground for germs, especially if kids are going on rides that may not have been sanitized all day.  Teach your kids proper hand sanitation habits to protect them from contaminants.  

 Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean that you and your kids need to be eating fattening processed foods.  By focusing on ways to eat nutritious meals wherever you go, you can give your kids a dose of healthy energy that will last throughout the day.