And the winner of the best movie theater snack goes to…
With award season in full swing, it’s prime time to catch up on the most-nominated movies. And it helps that the frigid weather makes you want to spend all your time indoors! When you hit up your local theater this weekend, don’t get tempted by all of those boxes of high-calorie candy or the smell of buttery popcorn. We did the research for you and came up with some ways to leave the cinema feeling as light as when you entered it.
Overall, there are a few best-practices to keep in mind:
- Avoid the combo packs. You may save $2 by buying a large popcorn, soda and candy combo, but you also may take in 2,000 calories.
- Personalize your popcorn. It’s hard to resist the aroma of freshly popped popcorn at a movie theater. If you’re craving it, satisfy your need with a junior or kids size (it’s even smaller than a small), ask for no butter and don’t shake on any extra salt.
- Stay away from soda. The cup sizes at theaters are humongous and the colas can clock in at almost 700 calories. It’s just not worth it.
- Free refills are costly. Many theaters offer a deal where they will fill up your empty large popcorn or soda for free. Don’t do it (in fact, don’t ever order a large in the first place!).
- Pay attention the portions. Movie theater candy often comes in larger-than-usual packages. With up to five servings in one container, be sure to read the label and stop after a certain point.
Now…what to buy. Here are some specific items you can order without guilt:
- Craving something salty? Step away from the nachos! Weighing in at over 1,000 calories, you’re better off with a soft pretzel (no cheese) or junior-sized popcorn (no butter).
- Chocolate calling your name? You’ll cut out about half the calories by choosing Junior Mints or Sno Caps over M&M’s. (Remember: Read the label so you know how many servings are in a box!)
- A cool treat? Hard to imagine in this cold weather, but some people want ice cream all the time. The good news is that many theaters are starting to carry fruit popsicles and Skinny Cow treats, which are healthy alternatives to packaged ice cream bars.
- Thirsty for more? Drinking a large soda is like eating a Big Mac: Not worth it. Water is obviously the best pick since it keeps you hydrated for zero calories. Another great option movie theaters are now offering is coffee. Just be sure to order a classic cup of joe as opposed to the sugary mocha.
Photo credit: Wahlander