Mitzi Dulan: How to Avoid Movie Theater Food Traps

| by Mitzi Dulan

How many calories are in a large buttered popcorn? a) 500 b) 800 c) 1,200 b) 1,400. The answer is at the end of the post.

When we walk into the movie theater, we are bombarded with smells of nachos, popcorn and pretzels…and don’t forget the counters displaying candy, ice cream and soda!

The FDA is fighting movie theater operators to place calorie counts on concession items. Considering that a large buttered popcorn is 20 cups…portion sizes and thus calories are out of control and movie theaters don’t want you to know that!

So what can you do to make your next trip the the movies stay within your calorie budget? Read on!

1. Eat before! Munching while watching TV, a movie or reading the paper are all ways we eat mindlessly. Since we aren’t focusing on eating, we ignore hunger signals and eat more than we normally would…often until all the food is gone! Have a snack beforehand such as a piece of fresh fruit so you aren’t lured by the smell to stop and get a snack after purchasing your tickets. Apples are a great choice and contain fiber that helps keep you full for the two hours you’re in the theater.

2. Bring your own! If your theater allows, bring some fresh or dried fruit to snack on. That will satisfy your sweet craving without containing the extra sugar and calories found in candy.

3. Eat…wisely! Eating at the movies is all about portion control. Buy the smallest size possible and make sure to share with your friends. Nuts are healthier options. They contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are heart healthy (as opposed to the saturated fat in the buttered popcorn). Skip the soda and opt for water.

Movie theaters are a tricky place to navigate from a nutritional standpoint. If you’re afraid you’ll go overboard with the treats, remember renting a movie can be equally as fun and you’ll have tons of healthy snack options!

Answer: Over 1,400 calories!!

Research assistance provided by Jessica Bennett