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What a THRILL to see and eat!

Hey - it’s Maxine again just soaking up the sun and good weather. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and staying cool.  So today I started thinking about when I get the opportunity to hang out with my family and friends at an amusement park in the summer, what a thrill! Besides the excitement of roller coasters, water rides, and arcades, what makes the experience complete for me is the satisfying thought of PARK FOOD! When I think of “park food”, what comes to mind are delicious hot dogs, cheese fries, funnel cake, fried oreos, etc. But today I challenge myself on whether I can see myself choosing healthier alternatives at my favorite amusement park or not.

Today, we live in a culture where it’s the norm to have excess foods that contain large amounts of sugar, sodium, and fats – it’s just everywhere we turn. There has always been this strong connection between fast food and amusement parks, making it hard for people to imagine one without the other. There are also these great novelty foods such as funnel cakes, fried oreos, and DOTS ice cream that are seemingly only available at parks and fairs, but does that mean that they need to be a must-have when visiting an amusement park? When we drool over the thought of these foods being accessible to us and over consume, we begin to create this reality and use these types of outings as almost a free pass to essentially over indulge. But can we associate healthier food options at parks with the fun and fond memories that we have experienced and learn to create new ones?

As a way to promote healthy lifestyles for children and families, Disney World teamed up with First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her Let’s Move campaign. As a result, Disney World has kept many of their favorite park foods, yet incorporated a variety of healthy options as well. What if amusement parks and fairs had vegetable rolls, chicken and roasted peppers with low-fat cheese quesadillas, or frozen fruit snacks, could you see yourself eating these healthy alternatives as part of your amusement park fun? For me, the answer is yes. If Disney World can make these changes, could we encourage the smaller parks to take on the same challenge by incorporating healthier options? However, as part of SHIFT we have to let them know that we will buy the healthy and prefer the healthy as well.

SHIFTDemand, Maxine

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