The new year is here and of course I over-indulged during the holidays so I decided that in order to reel things back in, I would go back to a meal plan that has worked for me in the past and is usually realistic to do in most situations, Keto.
I managed to drop my diet down to near 0 carbs a day while increasing fats for a full 7 days with no issue, but ahead of me was a hurdle that I knew would be challenging – 5 days in Disney World while running two races (a 10k and a half marathon).
I decided to give keto my best shot in Disney World and see if it could be done, in a place not known for particularly low carb foods, and share how I did it with you. I was partly successful – I maintained keto the entire time! However, I did sort of fail at one thing: running 19.3 miles in just 24 hours on zero carbs is not a good idea, more on that later.
The important thing for the average, non long-distance running Disney World guest is that maintaining your keto diet is possible at Disney World and here’s how I did it plus some quick tips and food ideas to help you stay in ketosis in the place where dreams come true.
I was staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin so that affects my items below but here’s a rundown of keto friendly foods you can find around the resorts.
The Swan and Dolphin’s Picabu Buffeteria offers a nice assortment of salads (chef, Caesar that has no croutons, and southwest). These are great lunchtime offerings for when you first arrive or happen to be at the hotel in the afternoon.
I love a snack in the evening, but my choices here were more limited. I was dying for something salty, but the beef jerky they had was all heavily flavored with sugary additives so I skipped that. They did have some great nut options such as salt and vinegar flavored almonds. This was a great salty snack with a crunch that didn’t put me over my daily carb limit and gave me some needed fats.
On a different night I was really craving something sweet before bed. That’s when keto can get really challenging. In Fuel, the other take-away locations in the swan dolphin I did manage to find a few options to satisfy my sweet craving. I grabbed on of these little chia dessert cups that only had 14g of carbs. I had been so low on carbs this would still keep me under my daily rate. I picked up an RxBar to have in the morning on the way to the race so I’d have something in my stomach and it contained 16g of carbs. Not exactly keto, but a lower carb option that I was perfectly willing to accept before running 13.1 miles!
Overall I wasn’t thrilled with the options the Swan/Dolphin had. On another night coming back from EPCOT, I decided instead to pop in to the general store at the Walt Disney World Beach Club. These little shops, which tend to be at Disney Vacation Club properties, offer a broader selection of foods for the longer term guests that are staying in the Vacation Club Properties and making use of their kitchenettes. Here I found take-away meat and cheese packs (I tossed the bread slices), babybel cheeses, hard boiled eggs, and beef jerky that had much less added sugar than what I had seen over at the Swan and Dolphin.
They also had a wide selection of cold cuts and cheeses available.
Cold cuts available in the general store of the Beach Club Resort
I never miss a coffee at Joffrey’s and I usually get the shot of Kahlua. But, wanting to minimize sugar and alcohol I opted for a regular large iced coffee with room. I then loaded it up with a healthy dose of cream to get my fat intake, and sweetened it with a Splenda. It tasted like a milkshake only with no carbs, no sugars, and plenty of fat. I was hungry though and I had a fast pass for Soarin. So off I went to The Land to check out what food items were available there. I checked out the breakfast options at Sunshine Seasons and it came down to two. A meat and cheese plate with grapes (grapes aren’t keto) or a caprese salad. I didn’t want to pay for a meat and cheese just to throw away the grapes, so I opted for the not-so-breakfasty caprese salad. Not ideal breakfast food, but it was tasty and met my nutrition needs.
A bit more research would have told me that I could have gone over to the bakery in the France pavilion and eaten a breakfast quiche, so long as I didn’t eat the crust.
I was at EPCOT for dinner that evening and searching for place to eat. Being on a low carb diet, one would assume I would pass right by Italy given the large offering of carb-heavy foods such as pasta and pizza. However, we stopped by one of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World, Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. This restaurant is a gem whether you’re on Keto or not. It has an authentic feel inside and you can usually find a table pretty easily for a glass of wine and some great small plates. I had the very Keto friendly Carpaccio di Manzo. If you haven’t had it, it’s a plate of very thinly shaved, charred wagyu beef with arugula, parmesan cheese, and lemon and olive oil dressing. Get it even if you aren’t on keto!
Carpaccio di Manzo from Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar at EPCOT’s Italy Pavilion.
I arrived at Magic Kingdom and went straight for Starbucks. Starbucks is known for having heavy cream available for coffee so this was easy. They also offer meat and cheese options for a nice European style breakfast with your coffee and heavy cream.
The most obvious keto item at the Magic Kingdom (and Epcot and other parks as well) has to be the Jumbo Turkey Leg. T