The month of May starts off the summer season with its famous popcorn films that are generally geared for kids, teens and families. It’s also a great time for adults to see a fun action-packed movie. However, when you think of going to the movies what automatically comes to mind is the concession area. That’s where popcorn, soft drinks, nachos and cheese, soft pretzels and candies are served. You’re not likely going to find any healthy movie theater snacks there. Besides the actual movie, the concessions are the second favorite part of going to the movies. I absolutely love popcorn, especially when watching a movie.
Needless to say, concession prices are getting higher and higher. Not only that, the calorie intake on these standard theater snack items is extremely fattening to say the least. For instance, small buttered popcorn is 470 calories and 35 fat grams; medium buttered popcorn is 900 calories and 50 fat grams; and last but not least large buttered popcorn is 1,640 calories and 126 fat grams. There’s still more, a medium soda to go with your popcorn is an additional 385 calories with a 100 grams of sugar. You might think nachos would be healthier. They contain 1,101 calories and 54 fat grams. Hotdogs are 300 calories and 18 fat grams. Soft pretzels are 483 calories with only 4 fat grams, but contain 2,008 milligrams of salt. The typical 6 oz. candy boxes are anywhere from 300 to 1,200 calories.
Some of the major Hollywood film studios are asking movie theater owners to consider offering healthy movie theater snacks as alternatives. Unfortunately this will likely take time for a complete overhaul. Some theater chains are offering healthier snack alternatives while most are following the traditional movie snacks that make them money. Here are some ideas for you to consider the next time you go to a movie theater while wanting a healthy change from fattening popcorn, sugary sodas and chocolaty candies.
Movie Theaters with an Extended Menu
A few theater chains are offering more than the usual popcorn fare. One such movie theater chain is Muvico. They offer pizza, popcorn shrimp, buffalo wings, mini burgers, crispy chicken breasts and frozen treats at some of their locations. The local Muvico in Tampa, Centro Ybor 20, actually has sushi. I’ve been to this theater in Tampa’s historic and entertainment district. Believe it or not sushi is of course healthy, but also non-fattening and low in calories. It’s even practical to eat in a movie theater. Granted, sushi is an acquired taste, but one you may want to think about. Thin crust pizza is generally less than 300 calories in a slice. Just about everyone loves pizza. It certainly is a lot healthier for you then a tub of popcorn doused in trans fat-laden “butter” which consists of partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, butter, citric acid, beta-carotene and milk.
Movie Theaters with your Standard Concessions
This will be your greatest challenge as most movie theaters do not have an extensive or extended menu on hand. Your pickings for a healthy movie snack alternatives are just about slim to none. There are some ideas you can try. Instead of sodas or other sweetened drinks get bottled water or unsweetened tea. If you are craving for a soda then opt for diet sodas. Candies are a great treat and easy to eat when watching a movie, provided they aren’t chocolate, which tends to get messy. Sweet Tarts, Starbursts, Lemonheads, Tootsie Pops, Blow Pops and other lollipops are fat free and just under a 100 calories. Good & Plenty, the candy coated bite-size licorice pieces are only 130 calories and fat free. These are my favorite candies.
BYOS – Bring Your Own Snacks
More than likely this will be your best option. You’ll save both on the cost of food at the movie theater and the enormous intake of calories. I always bring my own popcorn to the movie theater in addition to bottled water, fruit juice or soda. All I do is simply microwave a mini bag of Orville Redenbacher’s or Jolly Time popcorn, put it in one of those zip-loc storage bags, sprinkle it with some salt and put it in my bag with my sweater since I get cold inside a movie theater. I’ve never been asked to leave, because I brought something from the outside. Many articles I found online advocate bringing in your own snacks into the theater. You can also bring in fruit, vegetables, granola bars, nuts and other low-calorie and fat free candies. In all honesty the sky’s the limit when it comes to bringing in your own healthy movie theater snack alternatives.
If you aren’t comfortable bringing in your own snacks, but still want something healthy to eat before a movie you can always eat before you arrive at the theater. That way you’ll not be tempted to order anything from the concession area. You can also have a meal at a restaurant beforehand. The chances of ordering something healthy from a menu at a restaurant is far greater than ordering what is offered at the movie theater. Not long ago a major Hollywood studio asked moviegoers what snacks they’d like to see offered. Here’s what they had to say: yogurt, veggies and apple slices with dip, fruit cups, granola bars & trail mix and air-popped popcorn. That sounds good enough for me.