If you’re like me, you’re probably looking forward to seeing at least one Oscar contender or blockbuster movie before the end of the year. While I must point out that engaging in activities that don’t involve sitting, such as bowling or dancing, confer more health benefits than sitting in a dark theater, I won’t fault anyone who wants to enjoy a good movie every now and then. Since sitting in a movie theater doesn’t burn many calories, it’s up to you to make your movie-watching experience as healthy as possible. And that usually means steering away from the high-calorie and high-fat options lurking at the concession stand.
Your best option for healthy snacking at the movies, if you can get away with it, is to bring your own snacks. Good movie snacks meet the requirements of any healthy snack: they contain fewer than 200 calories; are minimally processed; include fiber and protein to fill you up; and are low in sugar, salt, and fat. You might also want to consider packing snacks that can be eaten quietly – you don’t want to be that person the entire theater can hear munching away! Here are some good movie theater snacks to pack:
- 2 cups air-popped popcorn with one tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- Homemade trail mix: two tablespoons almonds, one tablespoon raisins, and one teaspoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 15 Wheat Thins and a string cheese
- Kashi granola bar and 15 grapes
- ¾ cup high-fiber cereal
- ½ cup whole grain pretzels and a hummus dipping cup
- PB&J sandwich on whole wheat bread
If you must give into buying a snack at the theater, better choices include:
- Unbuttered, lightly salted popcorn
- Soft pretzel with mustard
- Peanut M&Ms
- Junior Mints
Since everything is jumbo-sized at the movies, try and keep calories down by eating before you go, so you’ll be tempted to eat less concession-stand junk food; ordering the smallest size possible (it’s okay to ask for “kid-sized”); sharing your treats with a friend; refraining from eating after the movie has started; and filling up with water to help you feel fuller quicker.
I hope you’re able to enjoy a few good movies, as well as everything else that goes along with the holiday season. The WellMASS blog will be taking a break the next two weeks, but I’ll be back with lots of healthy tips in the new year!