Nothing is more thrilling than sitting down in a cushy movie theater seat anxiously awaiting to see your must-see flick on the big screen. Most of us go to the movies on the weekend, and weekends frequently transform into two-day splurges that sabotage our well-intentioned healthy eating efforts of the week prior.
The movie theater is where our food demons tempt us to fall for the buttered popcorn and Goobers. But movies and snacking do not need to be so traumatic.
Before the weekend hits, read on to find out which of your devilish movie snacks are best left behind the concessions counter and which ones you can peacefully nosh on.
Skip the buttery large popcorn. One tub can contain as much as 1,400 calories and 60 grams of fat.
Choose a small or junior-sized popcorn. You can also consider splitting the popcorn with a friend. The AMC’s small popcorn contains 370 calories and 20 grams of fat. The Cinemark’s small popcorn contains 420 calories and two grams of saturated fat.
Skip the movie theater boxes of chocolate. Here’s why: The boxes are giant and contain at least three servings per box. One box of Reese’s Pieces contains 1,160 calories, 35 grams of saturated fat, 122 grams of sugar. And since you’re mindlessly eating as you watch your movie, you don’t have the mental capacity to count out 36 Sno-Caps or 7 mini Snickers squares.
Bring your own chocolate. Unless you can muster up a lot of restraint when eating your favorite box of movie theater chocolate, you’re better off bringing a small pack M & M’s, a handful of mini’s or making your own trail mix with a combination of raw nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit.
Skip the Skittles (6.75 ounce) and Twizzlers (6 ounces): Once again, the issue here is quantity. Granted sugary candy like Skittles, licorice or fruit chews are empty calories. But, you can eat them on occasion and not sabotage your health. One box of movie theater-sized Skittles contains 765 calories, 9 grams of fat and 166 grams of carbohydrates. A movie theater-sized bag of Twizzlers contains 600 calories, 4 grams of fat and 136 grams of carbohydrates.
Choose Gummi Bears (four ounces): One bag of these chewy fruity bears contain 390 calories, zero grams of fat and 90 grams of carbohydrates. Since the calories are still pretty high, split them or skip them, if you can’t eat only one or two servings.
Other movie theater snacking tips
- As mentioned, if you’re going to head to the concession stand, split the bag, box or tub. Your body does not need, nor does it want all of those calories.
- Hit the coffee bar and order a small skim milk latte (100 calories), herbal tea (zero calories), or black tea with a few splashes of milk (40 calories).
- Bring your own snacks. Even though this goes against most movie theater policy, bring your own air-popped popcorn. Choose a light or fat-free microwave version and save hundreds of calories. Or make a small portion of trail mix, mixing sweet (dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries) with salty (almonds, peanuts or pretzel sticks).
- Many movie theaters now offer lighter-calorie fare like low-fat ice cream sandwiches or biscotti. Take advantage of these options or request that they start carrying healthier snack options.