How to Manage your Movie Food Cravings in a Healthy Way
I will be the first to admit that I LOVE movie food. Nothing compliments a great movie more than popcorn, pop (soda for my US friends), and candy. However, just because it is something I crave, doesn't mean it's something I should succumb to each time Ryan and I go to a movie. We tend to see on average one movie a week and before our conscious effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, we were indulging in movie food each time we went to the theater. We were pretty much asking for our arteries to fill up with plaque and gain weight! One large bag of popcorn can contain as many as 1200 calories (equivalent to the total daily intake for some people...aka me when I wasn't active). Crazy right?
Although, I believe that it's OK to occasionally have movie food as a treat, we were taking things to a whole new level with the amount of junk food we were consuming on a weekly basis. Don't get me wrong, we still have movie food, but we do it on a MUCH less frequent basis. This got me thinking about how I could satisfy my craving to eat something during the movie without filling my body with junk. At the time, I was also doing 21 Day Fix and was using the portion containers to make sure I ate the appropriate amount of calories in the right portions/day. So I started getting creative with my movie food alternatives. Here are a few things I did to help manage my movie food cravings.
1) Bring portioned snacks that are BITE sized
By choosing options that are bite sized, you are helping duplicate the action of eating popcorn. I tricked my brain into thinking I was eating more than I actually was. This was crucial to my success.
I would bring with me 1 purple container (~1 cup) of fruit, 1 orange container (2 tablespoons) of nuts, and 2 teaspoons of dark chocolate chips.
Possible fruit options: grapes, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Anything that was small enough to fit a bunch into that container so I felt like I had lots to eat.
Possible nut options: peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
By choosing dark chocolate chips you will help with your overall cravings for candy
You could also bring a protein bar (1 red and 1 yellow) or use a yellow container (1/2 cup) for plain kettle chips, but you don't get very many and I found that it left me wanting more.
2) Bring your own drink
The only way for me not buy a pop (I'm addicted to diet anything) was to bring my own huge bottle of water. I fill up my Shakeology bottle and sometimes add flavoring (crystal lite, lime, berries, or cucumber) to spice things up.
If you think you absolutely cannot go without a fizzy option, I recommend Zevia. It's a carbonated drink that uses natural sweeteners like Stevia to give you the flavor of pop without the calories, sugar, or aspartame. Zevia is clear (no artificial coloring), is part of the NON GMO project, and is caffeine free.
Another option would be carbonated water. Just make sure that there isn't any aspartame in it as this will defeat the purpose of not getting pop.
3) Recipe for healthy multi-seed cranberry bars
After a few times of using the above options for my movie snacks, I felt like I needed another alternative to keep things interesting. I got this recipe from a co-worker and I can't rave about it enough. It's equivalent to 1 yellow and 1 blue container and 1 or 2 teaspoons. Takes about 30 mins total to make.
Original credit for this recipe goes to Canadian Living.
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
4 cups puffed rice cereal (can get it in the organic isle at the grocery store)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup (250 ml) liquid honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
Spread sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in oven at 350C (180F) for about 6 mins until lightly toasted. Let cool. Transfer seeds to a large well-greased bowl (we use spray coconut oil). Add the puffed rice and cranberries. Mix together.
In a large saucepan, boil honey with salt over medium heat for about 5 mins. Do NOT stir. As the honey boils it gets thicker, but less sticky and easier to work with. Mix honey into the puffed rice/nut mixture until the rice puffs are well coated.
Immediately scrape into a greased (again we use coconut oil spray) 13 x 9 inch (3.5 L) pan and press down to smooth and level the top. Let cool. Cut into bars with greased knife.
Can store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Hopefully these alternative options are helpful for those of you who want to snack at the movies, but don't want the extra calories. Tell me how you fight movie food cravings! I'd love to have more options to add to my arsenal of healthy snacks! Feel free to share this post to those who would benefit from it and may not necessarily see this! Thanks!!