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Dining On The Go
How to Survive the Movie Theatre

Welcome to our newest series – “Dining on the Go.” In the coming weeks we hope to bring you tips and tricks for surviving situations that find you away from your calorie-friendly kitchen, and your stomach rumbling. Read on for the first installment…

Ah, the beginning of summer! It means fun in the sun, and when the sun gets too hot, it means cooling off in the local movie theater with a new summer blockbuster. Trips to the theatre can be a nice treat. It gives you a chance to relax and decompress from busy summer plans, running errands and everything else that fills your day. Instead of thinking about shuffling children back and forth to camp, you can indulge yourself in a couple of hours of entertainment.

However, going to the theater is not without its obstacles. Aside from long ticket lines, and disagreements about which show to attend, everyone who enters a theater must pass through the “danger zone” – the concession area filled with the tantalizing smells of buttered popcorn and vast array of jumbo-sized candy. Rather than sprinting by the concession counter blocking out the sights and smells, or succumbing completely to such goodies, comes to the rescue with movie theater survival tips.

Popcorn, Candy and Sodas – Oh My!

There is something comforting about relaxing in a comfy movie theater seat with your favorite treat by your side, ready to view the summer’s newest film. However, don’t let a moment of weakness turn a summer blockbuster into a diet-buster. Check out the calorie counts for the following popular movie treats:

Popcorn Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  Small (7 cups):    
1 small package
250 calories
400 calories    
1 king-sized package
420 calories
W/ Butter
580 calories        
  Medium (16 cups):   Chocolate Covered Raisins
900 calories    
1 package
210 calories
W/ Butter
1170 calories        
  Large (20 cups):   Chocolate Covered Mints
1150 calories    
1 box
200 calories
W/ Butter
1500 calories        
          Regular Soft Drink
Gummy, Sour and Chewy Fruit Candy    
12 oz.
150 calories
1 package or ~2 oz.
200 calories    
16 oz.
200 calories
32 oz.
400 calories

* All calorie counts represent approximations for various brands and package sizes. Calories may vary slightly depending upon brand and serving size.

All Things in Moderation

While it may seem like a recurring mantra around here, there is truth (and calorie-savings!) in moderation. Do you really like movie theater popcorn? Then by all means, don’t completely deprive yourself of a treat. Order a small size of popcorn, and leave off the extra butter. Although the larger size may be a better financial deal, consider your “calorie-bank” to avoid a diet pitfall. While a larger size may only be $0.50 more, it can cost an additional 500 calories!

In the mood for something sweet? Order a small container of chocolate-covered mints, or a small package of gummy candy. When it comes to liquid refreshment, always opt for the diet soft drink or bottled water for calorie-savings that can quickly add up in your favor.

Here are some additional tips to consider:

  • Avoid “king-size” treats.
  • Don’t talk yourself into larger portions, even if it’s less expensive.
  • Steer clear of “free refills” unless it’s for water or diet soda.
  • Extra butter equals extra calories.
  • Don’t be afraid to order the “child” size drink or popcorn.
  • Split a small treat with a friend, as long as it’s not jumbo-sized!

No matter what treat you choose you can always make room for the calories in your daily diet. If you are rewarding yourself with a special treat at the theater, walk an extra 20 minutes, swim some extra laps, or take an extra pilates class the morning before your movie.

Or perhaps you would rather completely avoid the temptation of the concession counter. Consider bringing a healthy snack to the theater, stashed in a purse or backpack. Snacks such as carrot sticks, apple slices with peanut butter, whole grain crackers topped with low-fat cheese, dried cranberries or low-fat granola will not only be a satisfying replacement snack, they will offer nutrients your body needs.

And if all else fails, you can always try the sprint past the counter. After all, the movie is the focus of the trip. So whether it’s a romantic tearjerker, an action-packed epic or a fall-on-the-floor comedy, sit back and relax. Enjoy the movie and be confident that you are making healthy decisions!