13 Jan

Movie Munchies

Warning: the following post is shocking, reader discretion is advised. Your movie experience may dramatically change.

Movie food is outrageous in price and nutrition value. A water for $3.50? No thank you. Popcorn for 1,5oo calories? I’ll pass.

Here are some nutritional facts of typical movie theater foods. I always knew it was bad, but I didn’t realized how bad until investigating the numbers. I’ve highlighted some of the more shocking numbers:

Wait a minute, I thought popcorn was a good snack? Popcorn, when air popped, is high fiber, low in calories, making it a perfect snack. Most big chain theaters (AMC, Regal), pop popcorn with coconut oil because of its ability to  withstand high heat, but it’s very high in saturated, artery-clogging fat. Plus, they load on the butter.

For shock value:








1 large (20 cup) popcorn has the  same calories and less fat that 3 Big Macs. That’s food for thought.

And for those out there thinking,”it’s not so bad, I only get mediums”… a medium popcorn + soda combo at Regal has 1,610 calories and 60 gm of saturated fat. And, to those who get small popcorn, which can have 450-630 calories, it may seem like nothing compared to the medium and large, but it is close to 1/4-1/2 of your whole day’s calorie needs!

Healthier Moves:

It’s a lot more fun discussing what TO eat instead of what NOT to eat. It’s all about compromise.

  • If you want a popcorn, get a small, limit the butter and skip the soda + candy.
  • If you know you’re going to movies in the evening and cannot resist the purchases, limit sweets elsewhere in your day.
  • If you have kids, lay down the ground rules before you go to the theater.

To be healthy and save $, I always sneak in snacks like dark chocolate, air popped kettle popcorn, pretzels, fruit/nut bars, grapes and my own water. While I like seltzer, the fizz makes it a pretty noisy beverage. If you habitually feel you must be eating the whole movie, try gum as an aversion or stick with low calorie choices like mini rice cakes or air popped popcorn. Air popped kettle corn has ~20 calories per cup; in other words, you could eat 75 cups to take in the same calories from 1 large movie theater popcorn.