What SparkPeople Coaches Eat at the Movies

Going to the movies can be an enjoyable experience, but it can provide a host of temptations for anyone trying to lose weight or eat healthier. As soon as you walk in the door, you're hit with the smells and sights of delicious goodies--buttery popcorn, boxes of chocolates, cheesy nachos--the list goes on and on. So how do you enjoy the show without succumbing to the tempting treats? We recently asked SparkPeople's coaches how they handle--or avoid--movie theater temptations. Find out which of their strategies could work for you.

Chris Downie, Author, motivation expert and SparkPeople founder
"We often have 'family night' with our boys where we eat a healthy dinner while watching a movie with the lights low or off and then have fairly healthy homemade popcorn."

Becky Hand, Registered and Licensed Dietitian
"My son and I share a unbuttered popcorn. I usually bring a bottle of water."

Nancy Howard, Certified running coach and SparkPeople Community moderator
"I make sure I eat before I go so I will not be tempted."

Tanya Jolliffe, Healthy eating expert and SparkPeople Community moderator
"I almost never get treats at the movies. My husband and I came from families of six, and our parents would feed us before we went to a movie because it was just too costly to purchase tickets and snacks for all. My husband and I have continued to follow this same practice and eat before we go to the movie so we don't need a snack."

Jen Mueller, Certified personal trainer and SparkPeople Community leader
"My husband and I pick a small serving of candy from the 'pick-a-mix' station. That way we can pick exactly what we wanted and control the portion. Otherwise I end up feeling sick after the movie because I ate a giant box of Milk Duds."

Nicole Nichols, Certified personal trainer and SparkPeople editor
"When I was overweight in the past, I looked for any excuse to eat more food and to eat all the wrong kinds of food. I'd tell myself, 'You can't watch a movie without candy!' and consume thousands of calories worth of sugar each time I popped in a video or went to the theater. I had to re-train myself as I learned to eat more intuitively and lose the weight. For a long time, I consciously chose to not eat movie snacks even though I wanted them. It paid off and now I don't always associate an outing like a movie with food, nor do I feel like it's a must or that I'm depriving myself if I don't get it. These days, I probably enjoy movie treats 1/3 to 1/2 the time I watch a movie at the theater. It all depends on my choices for the day and whether I TRULY want something. My love of Twizzlers runs deep, so they are my candy of choice. I don't like movie theater popcorn (never have) or soda, but I love candy and will usually get that when I'm in the mood for it--as long as I've made healthy choices that same day or the days prior. It's all about moderation!"

Denise Tausig, SparkPeople Community moderator
"I don’t usually eat treats at the movie theater because it’s hard for me to monitor how much I am eating when the portions are large and I'm paying attention to the movie. If I do eat a treat at the theater, I will take a small portioned snack with me (a granola bar, a small portion of nuts, graham crackers, etc). Doing that allows me to have a snack without going overboard and filling up on a lot of candy."

Looking for healthy and low-cal snack ideas when you catch your favorite movie on the big screen? Check out Movie Theater Snack Attack for more suggestions!
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Member Comments

I take a lollipop with me. It lasts for a while and I cant eat other stuff if the lollipop is in my mouth. Gum also works for me. Report
I don't go often to the movies so I get the buttered popcorn & a diet soda. I usually make it a meal for the day. Since my local theater offers a lower price ticket for the first showing of the day, the popcorn is my breakfast. I make sure to eat healthier for the rest of the day. Report
love the answers but some theaters do check ugh Report
Great suggestions!!!! Report
Thanks. Report
I don't go to the movies very often, as my movie buddy just got a job OTR truck driver. The theater now offers SoBe Lifewater, so I may get that, and I usually take either almonds or blueberries in a baggie. Report
Thanks for sharing Report
I bring bottle water & maybe a box of red vines.... Report
I go to the movies weekly and i some times take apples cut up, if its on a seniors day they give free tea coffee and a cookie . On very bad day i might have a child size popcorn. Report
I only go out to the movies once or twice a year, so I get butter popcorn guilt free when I go! At home if we are having a movie night I air-pop popcorn and do not add oil for a healthy alternative to microwave popcorn (and even then it is only a small percentage of the time). Report
I only go out to the movies once or twice a year, so I get butter popcorn guilt free when I go! At home if we are having a movie night I air-pop popcorn and do not add oil for a healthy alternative to microwave popcorn (and even then it is only a small percentage of the time). Report
I rarely go to the movies, so if I'm going, I will get regular theater popcorn. I do smuggle in a bottle of water though. My local theater sells a brand of water that makes me sick, so I can't drink it. Report
No problem. We just eat our planned meal before going to the movie and don't eat or drink anything there. There is no law that says you have to eat while watching a movie. Report
I smuggle in a bag of Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop butter flavor (if my husband is going to get a snack) I don't feel guilty because my husband buys enough snacks for two people. If hubs isn't in the mood for a snack neither of us eats anything. Report
I don't go to the movies very often, and part of going to the movies is the experience, which for me includes popcorn. I order a Junior Size without butter (it may not be on the menu, but all theaters offer this very small size--just ask for it) and bring my own bottle of water, which is always my preferred drink. My daughter slips a one-serving size of nuts or trail mix into her pocket sometimes, or just takes a couple pieces of sugarless gum with her. Me, I need popcorn. Also, check online, you'll find all the major theater chains list the calorie/nutrition info for each size of their popcorn, such as this one:

Movie Popcorn - Junior (Cinemark Theater)
Serving Size: 1 Junior bag (38g), Calories: 200, Fat: 11g, Carbs: 22g, Protein: 3g