Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by MickeyNicki, Jul 23, 2012.
Would love to hear your experiences on low carb eating at WDW
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I'm a low carber (type 1 diabetic), and I have to say Disney can be tough...but not impossible...while eating low carb. Because I am diabetic and use insulin I can (and do while in WDW) "cheat" and correct for the carbs I ear. However, at home I eat virtually no carbs at all, and the longer I eat that way the less I even WANT to eat the high carb stuff!
TS restaurants tend to work pretty well. You can always ask the server to substitute rice/potatoes/starch for a green/low carb vegetable. I've never had anyone turn me down. CS is more limited, but nearly every restaurant has at least some sort of entree salad option. Burgers or other sandwiches with no buns are always a fall back, too. I haven't been yet, but the new Art of Animation food court menu has some wonderful options with different veggie sides, so I imagine it would be easy to sub out something starchy for a delicious veggie dish. I did have luck once getting Columbia Harbor House to give me a side of broccoli as my "dessert" on the dining plan, so it definitely never hurts to ask!
For snacks, well, that's a tough one. There is the cheese plate in the bakery in France. Most of the CS places will sell their sides separately (and they're usually a snack credit), and many of them will have broccoli or cole slaw. But it's best to have some back-up snacks with you to stave off the temptation!
I'm interested in this as well, as this is how I eat at home.
My current plans for our upcoming trip are protein shake in our room for breakfast, taking nuts and protein bars (the simply bar- very low in sugar and carbs) for snacks and will get fruit in parks if needed. I will also take stevia for my morning tea. I will also have a Mickey Bar for good measure! Carbs in Mickey bars don't count!
Quick service :Taco salad - don't eat the shell, chicken and/or ribs with veggie side, burger no bun with carrot stick side, chicken Caesar salad - no croutons. Columbia Harbour House has the colony salad and salmon with broccoli side.
PO riverside has create your own salad. Oh and I love the beet salad at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot. The salads at WPE also look awesome.
Table Service will be much easier.
I do eat very few carbs day to day, and I have a large salad almost every day for either lunch or dinner at home, the bulk of my carbs come from sweet potatoes and quinoa, so Disney will be a challenge. I'm used to making my salad dressings, I haven't bought a bottle of dressing in at least 2 years, but I'm just going to do my best and not sweat the small stuff and enjoy our vacation! And a dole whip!
Flame Tree at Animal Kingdom has great choices for a low/lower carb meal although I'm not sure about their BBQ sauce.
One other tip for your QS meals. Usually the only thing listed on the menu are the combo meals, but you can get the entree w/o the fries and it will be cheaper. You could also ask if they will sub anything else for the fries.
This is a great tip... the combo isn't it the only option but people forget this based on how it's presented. Thanks!
In the 'real world' you can purchase no-carb no-sugar BBQ sauce but it is a specialty item. I would assume all BBQ at WDW is made with a standard BBQ sauce which is full of carbs (brown sugar and ketchup are two of the major ingredients); to me, that rules out Flame Tree.
At CS places, burgers without buns and chicken Caesar salads are your friends. Caesar salad dressing typically has fewer sugars/carbs than nearly any other type of dressing. The salmon w/broccoli at CHH does sound wonderful; skip the quinoa.
TS are mostly easy; you can pretty much always get a plainly cooked piece of fish or meat and green veggies; skip the starch or ask them to sub more of the veggies. Boring, but easy.
Desserts are the real bear. Every restaurant has a no-sugar-added option but as all low-carbers learn, low-sugar or no-sugar or no-sugar-added is NOT necessarily the same thing as low-carb. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, and there are no labels to refer to at WDW to help you figure it out. And subbing fruit is no good; fruit is full of natural sugar, which is why it used to be considered a dessert food all by itself. Even the cheese plates are troublesome because they consist of 4-5 tiny bites of cheeses that are meant to be paired with the accompanying fruits and breads - which are all high carb. You either have to decide to skip desserts or understand that you are likely to far exceed your normal carb counts even if you just "taste". I will say that plain cheesecake and creme brulee are actually two of the lower-carb options although both are still likely to push you over 50 carbs for the day.
Another Type 1 diabetic here, and I've been moving toward a lower-carb diet over the years. The things that I would suggest include:
1. Do NOT do the dining plan. They all include desserts with the meal, and even the sugar-free desserts are going to have a good number of carbs in them. So, essentially, you are spending money to pay for a whole course that you are better off (in the low-carb sense) not eating.
2. Buffets can be great; you can make your own meal and stock up on the lower-carb options (visit the carving station a few times, stay away from the vat of mashed potatoes). Other meals, as PPs have said, will allow substitutions, but some places have more limited choices.
3. Research ahead of time to figure out where you're going to have your indulgences. The research can help keep you from being tempted by ALL the good tasting carbs. You can pick, say, the baklava at Tangierine Café instead of the maple Creme Brûlée at Le Cellier before you get to either restaurant, so you don't overindulge due to the temptation, or feel disappointed because you indulged too early and shut yourself out of a "better" carb-laden choice later.
However, I waited all day to "save up" to get one of the giant Oreo cookies at the Confectionary on Main Street in MK, only to discover that they no longer had them.
4. Meals at Disney tend to include a lot of food. Even if you don't substitute (say, at 'Ohana, where all the food comes out family style), you can probably find enough low-carb stuff on the table to not leave the table hungry.
I am low carbing it now , but i can tell you once there , i will be carbing it up , not holding back !
I think Low carb diets are going to be about the easiest diet to do while in disney world! I recently cut out meat... that is going to be more of a challenge for me at WDW. Good luck.
I did cancel my reserations at Nine Dragons and San Angel Inn because the menus do not look to low carb and was able to replace them with Narcoossee's and Rose & Crown.
Breakfast is super easy for CS or TS (eggs and bacon/sausage!) and TS dinners are going to be a snap...CS is my problem and I am might just have to book TS lunch but I hate being tied down so much
CS has changed alot over the years though and maybe it will be alot easier than I think....and if not hopefully we can get walk up lunches lol!
Do you think I should note this on my reservations? Wonder if the TS dinners (especially signatures) can make a special low carb dessert?
I know you've already replaced your ADRs, but just for future reference, Chinese can be pretty easy to do on a low-carb diet! Ask for no rice, and stick to entrees that are not fried and not prepared in a sweet sauce--and, if you like the sound of the entree but need to skip the sauce, most places can prepare it that way for you. I've never been to Nine Dragons though--just speaking from experience at other Chinese restaurants. There seem to be several things on that menu that would work for me, though, including Spit Roasted Beijing Chicken and the Canton Pepper Beef.
We have reservations for lunch at San Angel Inn in October, and I'm looking forward to the Loma de Pue en Pipian, which is pork tenderloin with roasted veggies and pumpkin. The pumpkin will add some carbs, but I eat pumpkin pretty frequently on my meal plan with no adverse effects. As always, YMMV.
I'd go ahead and note your low-carb lifestyle on your ADRs. I don't know how much luck you'll have with a special low carb dessert--most chefs have very little experience in that area, and it is SO different from cooking with their usual wheat flour and sugar, etc. Their solution for diabetics is usually fruit (lots of carbs!) or replace sugar with artificial sweetener in a "regular" recipe (still full of flour and other carby ingredients, potentially even MORE carbs than when made with sugar!). However, noting it on your ADRs will alert the restaurant that you'll probably want to sub out veggies for the starches, etc. It certainly won't hurt.
In case you aren't aware, Disney has the ability to assist you with special diets for low carb, vegetarian, food allergies, etc. You simply need to contact them and give them the information and ressies, special diets will assist you if you choose to let them know in advance of your visit. The chefs can even come out to speak to you directly about your meal. I use them every visit and have not been disappointed with a vegetarian table service or dinner show meal yet.
I tend to eat on the lower carb side but if I'm craving carbs, I make sure to eat them at lunch, not dinner, so my body has time to process them. I stay away from the obvious ones; potatoes, chips, bread, and pasta for more than a nibble or two......my general rule is moderation on the low side as to not feel deprived.
Hi, Nicki...long time no see, lol.
Hubby & I just did low-carb (Atkins style, staying at 20 carbs per day) in May 2012.
We thought we were doing very, very well. For breakfast we either had Quest brand protein bars, or we ate at the food court...scrambled eggs & side of bacon or sausage w/coffee or diet coke. For lunch, we were eating entree-type salads (like chicken caesar salad) or cheeseburgers, skip the bun. All of our dinners were either buffets with plenty of protein choices, and salad bars...or restaurants with steak & salad on the menu.
We did not have a single "cheat" high carb anything the whole time we were there. Even for alcohol, we were just getting shots of tequila or rum and mixing our own Crystal lite lemonade packets in our water glasses, and adding the shot. had no baked goods, no ice cream,no pastries, no sugary beverages, no rice/noodles/potatoes...no high-carb veggies, and no fruit.
BUT we both gained 4-5 lbs. in 4 nights/5 days of supposed low-carb eating at Disney. Somewhere in there they are hiding a lot of carbs. I suspect way too much salt, sugar rubs/marinades on the meats, who knows what carbs added to the scrambled eggs, sugar on the green veggies (common cooks trick to make veggies taste great)
So...lesson we learned is...even if you think you're eating low-carb at Disney, look out for hidden carbs all over the place. We actually gained just as much eating what was supposedly low-carb in 5 days as we did eating deluxe dining 3 course meals in March for 3 days No Fair! Dieting & still gained as much weight as when we were eating like kings
And SKIP the idea of low-carb-desserts. They'll refer you to the no-sugar-added desserts on every menu. BUT these are typically high-carb (just no sugar, but full of flour, cornstarch thickeners, fruit, etc. that's not good for low carb. PLUS, worst of all...they usually have sweetened with sugar-alcohols which give gastro-intestinal upsets to about 1/2 the population!)
Hope that helps,
Cathy from Nebraska
I keep a chocolate bar in my purse at all times and eat 2 to 3 squares a day. It's my favorite treat, it's 88% cocoa so very low sugar and carbs (3.4 carbs for 3 squares). It complete satisfies my sweet tooth since I'm a dessert gal. You could try that if you're into dark chocolate.
I'm not sure if this is true. Meat in something is a bit more obvious. Whether there is sugar, flour, fruit juice, etc in a sauce is sometimes tough to detect. Many restaurants marinade their meat in fruit juices, like papaya, which addes a bunch of hidden carbs. Also, many people are on low carbs are for health reasons, like diabetes. Too many hidden carbs can put a damper on their vacation.
Just be careful. After being on a very low carb diet, going to even a moderate carb diet can give your digestive system fits. White flour and sugar can keep me in the restroom, if I get too much of it. I usually add a few more healthy carbs to my diet a couple weeks or more prior to a trip. Just add a bit more exercise and you won't gain. As a matter of fact, after too low of a carb diet for too long you will normally platu before loosing all your weight. You need some GOOD carbs to keep your metabolism burning high.
Thank you all for the good ideas and suggestions. I had no clue about marinating meats and what not in fruit juices...that has me worried. I thought I would be ok with sticking to steaks and chicken and seafood and of course as for no sauces if possible but if they are marinating it before hand I could be in for trouble. And veggies have some stuff on them too? Oy vey..
I have to call WDW and add it to my reservations...hope this helps alot.
Decided to ditch SAI and ND because the temptations for rice and beans and sweet sauces are just too much. Plus I am a sucker for a huge hunk of meat so steakhouses are better for me....although I think DH is going to get sick of it very fast.
The best you can do is ask if sugar or fruit juices are in any sauces or marinades. Ask for things on the side, if possible. Explain to the server what you are trying to avoid. A lot of people just think low carb is no pasta, bread, or potatos. They don't think of sugar, fruit, flour, etc. I don't mind having a piece of occasional fruit, but I sure want to avoid any high sugar fruit juices. We are leaving in 6 weeks and I have already added one fruit and one whole grain serving each day. I will probably double that a couple weeks beforehand. So far I have actually lost weight after adding the fruit and grain. But I am weighing everyday to monitor what is going on.
Just hung up with Disney and they noted on all my reservations no/low carb. The CM said the Chef will come out and tell me what is what and if need be make something different from the menu. She also said each CS has a list of food items and what the carb/sugar/sodium etc count is, I just have to ask for it.
Lets hope all goes according to plan! Thanks again everyone!
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