A few simple steps can lead to guilt-free cinema snacking.
Is it possible to enjoy a cinema outing without overindulging and falling off the proverbial weight loss wagon? What’s a movie theater trip without a big bucket of popcorn, an oversized box of candies, and a giant cup of soda?
Movie theater concessions have traditionally focused on fattening foods.
Buttered popcorn, gooey nachos, cheesy pizza, greasy hot dogs, and countless candy choices have long filled the counters of cinema concession stands.
The average medium-sized bag of buttered popcorn, combined with a sugar-sweetened soft drink and a package of chocolates (such as Goobers, Milk Duds, M&Ms, or Whoppers) can ring up to a shocking 1,000 calories – the daily caloric allotment for some dieters. Yet how many moviegoers pick up such an order to consume while sitting still in a cinema seat for nearly two hours?
Certain cinema concession stands are offering healthier snack choices.
Some of the top movie theater chains in the United States have begun promoting diet-friendly snacks in their concession stands in recent years. Moviegoers may now choose baked chips, fresh fruit, fruit cups, granola bars, roasted nuts, veggies and dips, trail mixes, yogurt and other healthy snacks.
Fruit juices and water bottles are often available as alternatives to sugar-laden or artificially sweetened sodas at movie theater snack counters.
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How can moviegoers minimize overeating at the cinema?
Movie buffs can take certain steps to eat healthy, diet-friendly snacks at the cinema – and perhaps even save plenty of dough in the process. Here are five steps to guilt-free cinema snacking.
1. Eat a real meal first, before going to the cinema.
Film lovers can eat healthy at the movie theater by dining before arriving at the cinema.
A nutritious and balanced meal, either at home or in a restaurant, can set moviegoers up for making healthier choices at the cinema concessions stand (or perhaps skipping the movie theater snack bar altogether). Many cinemas are located within shopping malls with food courts, where diet-friendly food choices are readily available.
By dining before a movie (rather than afterwards), film lovers may arrive at the cinema already satisfied, rather than craving mountains of concession stand snacks. This strategy also cuts costs at the movies, just like it does for smart grocery shoppers. Arriving satisfied leads to fewer impulse snack or junk food purchases.
Of course, nutrition-conscious parents often choose to feed children before traveling to the cinema.
2. Skip the sugary sodas at the cinema.
Film lovers can eat healthy at the movie theater by choosing bottled water instead of high-calorie juices or sodas.
Even the smallest cinema snack bar sodas tend to be enormous. Sugar-sweetened colas, juices and sodas can contain tons of calories. Bottled water, or even diet soda, may be a smarter choice for diet-conscious moviegoers.
3. Ban the butter on movie theater popcorn.
Film lovers can eat healthy at the movie theater by asking for butter-free popcorn. Most movie theater concession stands season their popcorn with buttery salt already, so the added butter may not be necessary. Melted butter adds fat and calories to popcorn, while also making moviegoers’ hands greasy.
Why ruin a nice outfit and dash a diet by eating popcorn drenched in melted butter?
Here’s another trick for cutting calories at the cinema. Movie lovers can order smaller servings of popcorn or share popcorn buckets. After all, who can stop eating crunchy popcorn before it is all gone?
4. Choose to chew gum at the movies.
Film lovers can eat healthy at the movie theater by chewing gum (especially sugar-free gum).
Movie theater munching is often a form of unconscious eating. And unconscious eating spells death to diets. By grabbing some gum or even hard candies, a cinema lover can satisfy his or her need to snack without packing away tons of calories or fat.
A single crunchy candy bar can be consumed in an instant (perhaps even before the previews of coming cinematic attractions are over), but a stick of gum or a couple of hard candies can last through an entire movie.
5. Pack some healthy snacks for a trip to the cinema.
Film lovers can eat healthy at the movie theater by planning ahead and taking along a few healthy snacks. A small bag of cut-up apples, celery and carrots, pretzels, or air-popped popcorn can be just the ticket, providing a super low-fat snack for a trip to the cinema.
Be advised, however, that many movie theaters do not permit patrons to carry in foods from outside the facilities, so it pays to ask ahead of time.
How can moviegoers find additional guilt-free cinema snack options?
Movie theater managers may consider adding healthier snacks, if their patrons request such options. Why not make a suggestion, either through on-site comment cards or by speaking directly to cinema managers, and ask for diet-friendly movie theater refreshments?