When I was younger, I went to baseball games with my family all the time. I got all dressed up in my blue and white and laughed with my cousins as we sat side by side eating Dodger Dogs. Looking back, the limp hotdogs did not look extremely appealing, however, back then, they were exactly what we wanted. Now, being vegan, I no longer have the luxury of ordering a plain Dodger Dog with ketchup. In fact, I don’t think that I can eat anything at Dodger Stadium. Does this mean I should stop going to Dodger games? No! Not at all. It just means that I need to do a little preparation beforehand.
While LA itself is extremely accommodating to people who need food accommodations, its amusement parts and sporting events aren’t. There is good reason for this. Big events like a Dodger game or Disneyland attract thousands of people. In order to feed all of these people, these events need to serve food that is both quick, easy, and satisfies the nostalgic crave of its consumers.
These people working events don’t have time to replace the Cesar dressing with balsamic, take off the croutons and cheese, and add vegetables. They have pre-made Cesar salads ready for purchase and want to give you your food as fast as possible so they can get to the next person in line. This system ensures the most minimal amount of chaos possible. It is a perfected science.
So, as a vegan in LA, it can be challenging to eat at attractions. It can be especially hard if you are also gluten free or have another food limitation. That said, this lack of available food doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun. It could mean though that you may have to sacrifice a filling meal for a good time out.
For my grad nite night this past year, my school took us to Universal Studios. Universal Studios is an amusement park with active movie lots on site. It attracts tons of tourists and lots of fun rides. The bottom line is that there was no way that my allergies would prevent me from going.
Knowing I would have nothing to eat, I made myself a big dinner prior to leaving. This meal kept me satisfied for a while, however, we were gone from 4pm-2pm. Needless to say I was really hungry coming home. I wasn’t allowed to bring a bag into the park otherwise I would have packed myself a smaller, second dinner to take with me.
Going off of this, my first tip is to eat prior to leaving for an event. Even if there is a possibility that you will be able to eat wherever you are going, it is smart to eat prior as well. It is better to be full and refuse the meal at the attraction than to be hungry and wishing you had eaten before.
My second tip is to bring food with you if you are able to. Unlike my experience with grad nite, generally people are allowed to bring bags into sporting events and amusement parks. My go-to snack to bring with me if I know food will be scarce is a peanut butter and jelly rice cake. The rice cake fits easily into most purses or bags, and it is a really easy snack to eat. If you are worried that the jelly will melt and be messy, (which it can be), I recommend putting some banana on the peanut butter instead. Another snack you can bring is a nut packet or any type of granola bar.
My third tip is to bring a water bottle. Water at amusement parks can be extremely expensive. Bringing your own water bottle will save you money, trust me. Aside from that, water is an appetite suppressant. If you are constantly drinking water, you will stay full from your previous meal for a longer amount of time than if you scarcely drink. If you are drinking enough water, chances are you are less likely to be in extreme hunger while you run around visiting princesses at Disneyland or are cheering on your favorite basketball team.
Now, I am not going to lie, it can be hard being out at events with no food. I have a friend who has celiac and barely goes out to events because he is worried about there won’t be food for him. And that is absolutely ok.
Because my last tip is to consider before going out if this outing is worth it. And it’s okay if it isn’t. That said, I personally love doing things and having new experiences. I refuse to let my dietary restrictions prevent me from going to things and doing things I like. This is why I either always pack my own food whenever I go somewhere or deal with the consequences of not eating for a few hours.
Yes, I am often times hungry after a while when I go out to events with my friends. But honestly, my friends often prefer my peanut butter rice cakes to their cold, chewy amusement park burger.
It is definitely still possible to have fun at amusement parks and games being vegan. It may just require a few sacrifices.
But can you have fun without bringing your own food? It really depends on how full your last meal made you and what amount of hunger you can tolerate before succumbing to hangriness. (PSA: being hangry is a real thing). There may be some events that aren’t worth attending. There will be some events that are.
You just have to remember that you aren’t the only vegan at the Dodger Game, at Disneyland, or at Six Flags. There are other people like you, going through the same things, and I’m one of them. With the right attitude and preparation, anything’s possible.
My name is Gabriella. Join me on my health and wellness journey as I discover foods that not only please my taste buds but my stomach as well!