|Remy can tell you. Settling for junk is easy. But making better choices is worth the effort.|
It’s hard enough to get your family to eat healthy at home, so how can you be expected to do that on vacation? When menu after menu is pushing fast-food style meals with french fries, and carts and shops are offering such temptations as cupcakes, pastries, candy, and ice cream, how do you persuade your family to eat anything on the healthier side? Well, there’s some hope in Disney. Over the past few years, Disney’s been coming up with ways to help you and your family identify and make healthier choices.
It’s all part of the “Disney Magic of Healthy Living”…
The first key to eating healthier is Opportunity. Disney has been hard at work improving its menus to provide a wider selection of healthy items. Kids meals in Disney Parks now default to coming with healthier sides instead of soda and fries. This wasn’t the case that long ago. I remember ordering a kids meal for my daughter in the Magic Kingdom just a few years ago and getting fries even though the menu stated it came with grapes and carrots. I had to ask the Cast Member to substitute the healthier items. I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t have to go out of my way to get the healthier items.” Apparently, Disney has come to the same conclusion. Enter the “Mickey Check.”
“Disney’s “Mickey Check” is a tool that makes it easier for kids and parents
to identify healthier food and menu items in stores, online, and while on
vacation at Disney Parks and Resorts. Food and beverage items that feature the
“Mickey Check” meet Disney’s specific nutrition criteria for limited calories,
saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. The nutrition guidelines pair the fun of
Disney brands and characters with a nutritious portfolio of foods and make ‘Good
for you – fun too!'”
Making the healthier options more available is only half the battle. The other half, as we well know, is getting our families excited about trying new things. Have picky eaters in your family? Well, picky eating is less about not liking foods and more about being uncomfortable with new things. How do I know?
I’m a lot better today than I used to be. That’s because somewhere in my adulthood I finally opened myself up to trying new foods, and now that I’ve gotten past that fear of trying new things, I’ve discovered so many new foods that I enjoy. I wish I had been encouraged to try new foods as a kid. For me, being picky held me back from some great culinary experiences.
Because of my history, I try to encourage my kids to expand their palates and open up their minds to new tastes. In fact, we have a game we play when we go on vacation: try one new food. This applies to all of us. It could be something as simple as new fruit or vegetable, or something adventurous. And what better place to try new things than at Disney!
This is where Disney’s TRYit! Initiative comes in. Across the company and its many outlets, Disney is making an effort to encourage kids and adults to live a healthier lifestyle by trying new foods and activities. The most recent evidence of this can be seen at EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival. This year, the festival includes various food and beverage kiosks throughout the park, and many of theses kiosks offer “TRYit!” items, such as:
- Beet Lollipop
- Wild Berry Slush
- Baked Goat’s Brie with Kumquat Chutney
- Frushi (Fruit Sushi)
- Lasagna Primavera
- Potato Pancakes with house-made Apple Sauce
- Spring Pancake with Grilled Chicken & Green Apple
- Watermelon Salad with pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese & Balsamic Reduction
- Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida Berries
- Ratatouille Tarte with Goat Cheese
- Moroccan Sweet Pancake
- Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar & Basil
The Flower and Garden Festival only lasts until May 19, but hopefully Disney will find a way to keep the TRYit! foods in the parks. I think it’s a great way to sample smaller servings of new tastes, without breaking your budget.
Not heading down for the Festival? Well, here’s a tip for any park or resort restaurant:
**Look at the menus for the restaurants you’ve chosen before you travel and plan your meals. Talk about the choices with your family and get them excited to try something new**
Since we won’t be attending the Flower and Garden Festival this year, we decided to try one of the TRYIt! items at home: the Beet Lollipop from Intermission Café at the Festival Center. If your kids like carrots and potatoes, your kids will love this at home twist! The following recipe is based on reviews and pictures we’ve seen of this dish only. Since there wasn’t a lot of information out there, I took my best guess. (especially when it came to the topping)
- 3-4 beets
- 1 rutabaga
- about 10 sprigs of thyme, pulled away from the stems
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- cream cheese and a splash of milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the beets and the rutabaga and cut them into one inch chunks. **Heads up! Beets can stain , so cut them on a plastic surface and watch out for your fingers!**
Place the chunks on a shallow rimmed cookie sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to combine.
Roast for 35-40 minutes.
While the veggies roast, place about 1/4 cup of cream cheese in a bowl. Thin out the cream cheese with a splash of milk so it’s more of a frosting consistency.
Once cool, place one piece of rutabaga and one piece of beet into a push pop container. Top with a dollop of the thinned out cream cheese mixture.
Although neither of my kids would eat them using the push pop, they did LOVE the roasted beets and rutabaga.! We will definitely be adding these veggies to our menu!
For me, the sweet veggies topped with the tart and creamy cream cheese, made for one delicious bite. I could eat a dozen of these!
What do you think of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living campaign?
Have you noticed any difference in how your family eats in the park since they’ve implemented it?
What TRYit! food do you think you and your family would like to try most?