Healthy Orlando Guide [Holiday Edition]
Orlando, nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” is in fact, quite beautiful- with many wonderful things to see and to do. Whether you’ve just moved to the city or you’re simply looking for something new to do, this Healthy Orlando Guide [Holiday Edition] will be continuously updated with our favorite healthy restaurants, activities, adventures, hidden gems, and so much more! We will include holiday events + special restaurant holiday offerings in the beautiful city.
Feel free to save this link to follow along with our continuous updates- and if you try out any of these places, we would love to know what your experience was like. If you have any spots you love during the holiday seasons in the beautiful city of Orlando, feel free to reach out at any time and we will be sure to update our guide to share with everyone to see. Let’s get started- Happy Holidays!
Healthy Eating Orlando [Holiday Edition]
When it comes to food, it is important to note that every body is different and discovering what works for you can be fun- especially when you approach it through an exploratory lens and decide to create health. Within healthy eating, there are many categories but I have found that going gluten- and dairy-free seems to be a great way to still stay social while decreasing inflammation and shift your system into a healing mode naturally. Many restaurants now offer gluten-free and dairy-free menu options but if you are unsure, it is completely okay to let your server know ahead of time that you are eating gluten and dairy-free. If something that you want to order has these ingredients, they can let you know and make any adjustments necessary! For more on this topic and what to look out for when going gluten and dairy-free, check out our Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet article right here.
If you are interested in learning about meal prep services and how these could benefit your healthy everyday eating habits, please feel free to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep Delivery Services right here. Some great options are Daily Harvest, Fresh n Lean and Paleo On The Go.
The key to healthy eating is to up the quality of how and what you eat so that you can provide your body with the key nutrients to help it function properly. Remember that food has the power to bring about vibrance and fuel your being- providing you a way to implement what you have learned, embracing the human experience and communicating with your body so that you can build a strong and intuitive relationship with it. Here are some options for healthy eating in the Orlando area for the holiday season.
Thanksgiving for dogs- Barksgiving! Bark Orlando offers Barksgiving meals for your pup which includes ground turkey, peas, carrots, bone broth, tumeric, sweet potato and marshmallow to spoil your dog. All of these ingredients are organic and healthy for your pet- you will not have to question if they can eat it or not. This meal is made with love + safe and delicious for your dogs so they can also enjoy a Thanksgiving feast for $7.99! Barksgiving meals will come frozen and they can go in the oven with your meal or you can thaw it out and let them eat it cold. Check their website right here for more information and to order.
Buku Vegan was created in 2018 by Chef Chicoye to satisfy any sweet tooth craving someone might have without having to worry about dairy, eggs or other hidden animal products. Love is always the first ingredient with quality being a close second. Nowadays, you can find Chef Chicoye at her restaurant in Downtown Winter Garden inside of Main House Market serving delicious food and amazing treats. Check out Buku Vegan’s website right here!
New General Cafe’s interpretations of familiar dishes are designed to consider nutrition and wellness while satisfying your appetite! All Thanksgiving dishes from New General Cafe are gluten-free/vegan optional and serves 8-10 people. For more information and to order your Thanksgiving catering, please check their website right here. New General Cafe offers plentiful sides and delicious desserts, including:
- Harvest Salad
- Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Marshmallows
- Root Vegetable Hash with Candied Pecans
- Whole Pumpkin Pie
- Mini Apple Pop Tarts
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Scones
Nourish Coffee Bar + Kitchen provides Winter Park, FL, residents a coffee bar and seasonal cafe where comfort meets nutrition with fresh, made-from-scratch menu items. This coffee bar & kitchen is located at the Center for Health & Wellbeing (free parking is available in the CHWB parking garage located at the corner of S. Edinburgh Drive and Crosby Way). For their holiday specials, Nourish Coffee Bar + Kitchen is offering several Thanksgiving pies: Australian Apple Pie, Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie & Florida Pumpkin Pie! They offer special order vegan and gluten-free pies and seasonal beverages such as the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte with delicious milk alternatives. To order online, check their website right here or call directly at 407-848-3678.
POTG has options to customize your own AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Diet) meal delivery, allowing those who follow specific diet guidelines to enjoy nutrient-dense, delicious meals that are delivered right to your doorstep! With their Thanksgiving menu, they have everything you’ll need to create an unforgettable “AIP” holiday season. Use code drbrookestuart for $15 off your first order! To order online and for more information on POTG meal delivery, feel free to check their website right here. A few options off their Thanksgiving menu include:
- Thanksgiving Empanadas
- Pumpkin Pie (a classic!)
- Sweet and Savory Pork and Biscuit Stuffing
- Broccoli Casserole
- Pumpkin Spice Crumb
- Mashed Potatoes
- Cranberry Orange Relish
- Coconut Whipped Cream
- Turkey Gravy
- And Much More!
This bakery located in Market On South is the perfect place to order vegan-friendly holiday sweets! Valhalla Bakery search out for the best ingredients and make sure that they know what is in everything so customers can rest assured that their favorite desserts remain completely egg-free and dairy-free. Please note that their seasonal pies are 100% vegan (dairy-free) but not gluten-free. They offer baked pies and cream pies along with add ons such as cornbread, pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin loafs and more! To view their menu and order online, please check their website right here.
Pastries at Valkyrie Doughnuts are plant-based, scratch-made and vegan! Their doughnuts, cookies, pies, sandwiches and other treats can be enjoyed by anyone- and as a side note, they offer an incredibly large square vegan doughnut that barely fits in a 14″ pizza box (roughly the size of 9 of their signature doughnuts) which is perfect for any occasion including the holidays! In addition to this giant square doughnut option, they offer a few holiday pie options including pecan and pumpkin pies.
Kelly’s offer a variety of dairy-free sorbets and ice creams that you can enjoy at three Orlando area locations. Flavors at the stores rotate quite frequently so make sure to keep updated on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram page! Their featured holiday flavors include Pumpkin Cheesecake- and they offer a holiday ice cream pie! For more information on dairy-free ice cream & other delicious options, please check their website right here.
Jilly and her team are competing on Season 3 of Holiday Wars of the Food Network this year (2022)! This gourmet cupcake & specialty cake bakery serves the Greater Orlando area of Central Florida and all items are by special order and can be tailored to fit the clients’ needs. Fresh, baked from scratch cupcakes are made to order in over 40 flavors (vegan, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free items are available upon request). Their seasonal line of flavors include:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Churro
- Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast
- Pumpkin Pecan Donut
- Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Spice
- Pumpkin Latte
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- And Much More!
Located in Disney Springs, this bakery focuses on the underserved- people with gluten, dairy, egg and soy sensitivities, the health-minded and allergic kids who are often unable to indulge in sweets. All ingredients are selected responsibly and use natural sweeteners sparingly. The goal of Erin McKenna’s Bakery is to make eating vegan and gluten-free fun and delicious! For their menu and custom cake options, please check their website right here. This year (2022) their Disney Spring location is also offering mini holiday pie options!
This deli opened in February 2019 with the goal of using honest ingredients to make some of the city’s best sandwiches and charcuterie. Hinckley’s Fancy Meats is offering several Thanksgiving options, including a “Thanksgiving Dinner For Two”, Fancy Terrines, Porchetta (Italian Pork Roast), and Whole Apple Wood Smoked Ham! For more information and to order, check their website right here.
Special Holiday Events & Activities
There are many exciting activities to do in Orlando- especially during the holidays. Here are some special events happening during this special time of the year. Feel free to share your favorite places to go during the holidays. Do you have any traditions?
Orlando Thanksgiving At Rosen Plaza. The Rosen Plaza Hotel welcomes everyone into their home for their popular Thanksgiving Day dining experience located on International Drive. Family & friends gather every year to enjoy delicious foods prepared by their chefs which include classic roast turkey and many unexpected favorites. Follow along on their Instagram & Facebook as they take you through some pictures of what to expect during Thanksgiving dinner!
Avalon Park Turkey Trot 5K. Avalon Park Foundation, a non-profit organization hosts an Annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day where proceeds help support programs and services that enable them to protect stable neighborhoods and community organizations. For registration information, location and pricing, please check their website right here.
AdventHealth Groveland Turkey Trot 5K & 10K. Participants may walk or run on a course where beautiful hills on the Wilson Lake Parkway trail are visible! For the 10K option, there is some off-road action for a portion of the walk/run. There are team discounts with group pricing when 4 or more members register under the same team name, so make sure to bring the whole family!
Florida Turkey Trot At Oviedo Mall. This fun Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day will feature many vendors, live music, live performances and much more! This race will be timed and scored with a disposable chip provided and medals will be distributed for top overall male and female in various age groups. You may participate in this event with your dog!
Night Of A Million Lights. This special light event at Island H2O Water Park located in Kissimmee takes place between the beginning of November through January. Step into this beautiful winter wonderland featuring millions of lights, luminous displays, festive family activities, live performances, and more for a fully immersive holiday experience.
Christmas Nights In Lights Immersive Light Show. Orlando’s #1 immersive light show attraction rings in the holiday season through a magical and immersive winter wonderland experience from the convenience of your own vehicle! This drive-through showcase is more than a mile long and features over a million lights. Starting in November until January, sit back and enjoy a spectacular light show fully synchronized to popular holiday classics!
Gaylord Palms Shine Light Show. This is a free light show located at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center which features thousands of dancing lights synchronized to a seasonal soundtrack. There is an animated light curtain that glows with Christmas imagery around a centerpiece tree! Although the light show is free, additional Christmas activities and parking prices may vary.
Dazzling Nights At Leu Gardens. Immerse yourself in the wonder of the holidays at Leu Gardens! This immersive experience includes walking through a beautiful forest with giant, neon flowers, a laser light show with live singers, meet and greet characters for kids, a 70 foot long candy cane vortex light tunnel, a snow dome with swirling snow, a million lights and much, much more!
Lake Nona Lights. This light show premieres Thanksgiving evening and runs nightly through December 31st. This house is quite popular as people from all over Central Florida go to see the display! The house’s light show was even featured on Better Homes and Gardens as their favorite light display in 2012. In 2014 & 2015, it was chosen by Orlando Sentinel as one of the best displays in Central Florida!
Holiday Light Displays At Cranes Roost Park. This light show is brought to you by the City of Altamonte Springs, Emerson International and AdventHealth. The Plaza foundation show features dancing water and dazzling lights choreographed to classic holiday songs. Shows run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm.
I-Drive District Holiday Tree Lighting. Kick off the holiday season with an evening of family fun as I-Drive dazzles with a glittering lighting ceremony of the 50 feet holiday tree sponsored by the I-Drive District on December 1st. There will be live special performances at the event as well. A Santa Workshop Experience can be purchased as well with beautiful holiday family photos with Santa. The holiday tree will be lit for viewing at ICON Park through New Years Day.
City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration. Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer invites Central Florida residents and visitors to ring in the holiday season and help countdown the lighting of the City of Orlando’s Christmas tree at Lake Eola Park’s Washington Plaza. This event will include holiday performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, food trucks, a holiday market and more!
Lights At Lake Eola. The Lake Eola winter wonderland features a 72-foot Christmas tree featuring a light and music show. The fountain at Lake Eola displays Christmas colored lights (a classic Orlando tradition!)
Events At Downtown Winter Garden. Downtown Winter Garden features many holiday events including the art exhibition: “Holidays in Winter Garden” and a very merry light show at Winter Garden’s City Hall. During the nights of the light show, the entire downtown Winter Garden area is festive and decorated.
The Lights On Jeater Bend. The lights on Jeater Bend are homes decorated for both Halloween and Christmas- the lights are synchronized to music, projections and even feature water and fire! They are in the running for the 2022 USA Today’s Top 10 Public Holiday Displays in the United States.
Winter Wonderland Of Lights. The Winter Wonderland of Lights is a drive-through holiday celebration located at Central Winds Park. View the holiday lights for free by the city and local businesses/organizations. If you are a business, organization, club or group, you may participate by showing off your decorated car, tent or structure to display!
Gift Giving Ideas + Unique Experiences
Giving gifts to your loved ones is a wonderful way to invest in relationships- celebrating love, life and friendships- especially during the holidays. Dr. Brooke’s dad used to say that when you put thought into buying someone a gift, it is incredibly powerful and emotional, but when you do something for someone’s child or pet a gift- you have really won their heart. It’s also great to be conscious in your gift giving. Put research into companies before purchasing to learn more about sustainability initiatives, their actions to give back, etc. We can also always look for items locally to support our community and also find a unique gift!
Order Heirloom. Heirloom is designed to encourage and support the value of family meals. Heirloom provides a family meal, without the time-consuming prep and clean up, delivered straight to your door. It is their goal to serve you and your busy lifestyle so you do not have to compromise quality time with your family!
The Heavy. The Heavy works closely with a variety of plant nurseries around central Florida to bring the highest quality plants at honest prices. Each week, members of their team spend their days hand-picking plants and trees to bring them back to the shop for you to enjoy. They also make custom arrangements from a rotating selection of pots! Winter Park’s happy place.
Universal Studios Theme Park or Walt Disney World Passes. Celebrate with Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Annual Passes! Annual pass holders have a variety of benefits and perks that allow you to explore the parks and resorts like a pro. Some may include extra discounts at favorite dining and shopping locations.
Woofgang Bakery. This pet store does it all- they offer a number of services to help keep your pets healthy and spoiled. Each location is a neighborhood store committed to the well-being, health, and happiness of pets. They are a leading specialty retailer of pet food, pet supplies and professional pet grooming.
Quantum Leap Winery. This Florida sustainable winery offers a renewable take on the freshest wine around the world. This is also a wonderful space to have an event if you want to host something special for someone! They are committed to bringing you quality, environmentally friendly wines at a great value- Quantum Leap Winery offers wine tastings, wine tours, and much more.
Athlete Recovery Room. Located in Orlando, Florida, Athlete Recovery Room offers affordable world class recovery therapies and tools to everyday athletes and people to better their lives. They offer cryotherapy, massages, infrared saunas, red light therapy, stretching, myofascial release and more!
- Healthy Orlando Guide
- What Is Functional Medicine?
- A Practical Guide To Supplements- Favorite Brands, Philosophy & Function
- The Heart Based Practice, A Simple 3 Min. Meditation
- Diet Philosophy: Drop The Dogma & Discover What Works For YOU
- Diet Philosophy Part II: On Personalization
- Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diet
More Resources From Dr. Brooke Stuart + Let Go & Grow
Sign up for a Free Let Go & Grow® Membership right here to receive instant access to the heart based practice, a simple 3 min. meditation, a wellness workshop designed to optimize mental health + well-being, and many other free resources.
For extra support and the opportunity to connect with others implementing a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, please check out Let Go & Grow®’s Mind Body Reset. In the Mind Body Reset, Dr. Brooke Stuart will be there to guide you through every step of the way, healing your system through fundamental shifts in mindset, diet, lifestyle, and other natural methods. You will also be able to engage in an elimination provocation diet to personalize and tailor a diet that works for you.
You can also schedule a free 20 min. holistic consultation with Dr. Brooke Stuart- we would love to help you in any way that we can and hope to connect with you soon!