BYO movie snacks that are healthier than popcorn

I’m sure for a lot of people, a typical trip to the movies goes a little like this: you buy your ticket, load up at the candy bar, head to the cinema, eat your choc top before it melts, and then drown yourself in the jumbo-sized popcorn sitting on your lap. Am I right?

Before we get started, let’s make one thing clear: a choc-top or a bucket of popcorn isn’t going to ruin your health.

In the context of a balanced diet, enjoying the total cinema experience once in a blue moon is completely fine.

But, if you’re a frequent movie goer, or if you just don’t feel like the impending food coma, you might be wondering what some healthier options are.

Image: iStock.Source:BodyAndSoul

So, with that in mind, here are my top seven dietitian-approved picks:

Healthy muesli bar

If minimal effort is what you need, the muesli bar aisle is your game. But, as you’re sure to appreciate, nutrient bang for your buck can differ greatly between brands. So, opt for the bar with the most fibre and least sugar you can find.

Image: TiffXO.Source:BodyAndSoul

Small bag of store-bought popcorn

Popcorn can be a very nutritious choice – but not the kind with lashings of butter and salt. Instead, opt for a plain, air-popped variety from the supermarket in pre-portioned bags to slash the calorie content and avoid mindless movie eating.

Homemade bliss balls

For a healthier sweet fix, you can’t go past a homemade bliss ball. My recipe uses dates, coconut and nuts, so is brimming with gut-loving fibre which can help to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied. Don’t demolish a whole batch, though – only a couple of bite-sized pieces should do the trick.

DIY kale chips

If salty potato chips are your weakness, this one’s for you (disclaimer: it does take a little bit of effort, but you’ll thank me later). On the plus side, you’ll get in a couple of serves of those all-important veggies without even realising.

To make kale chips, simply wash a big bunch of kale and tear it into bite sized pieces. Lay them out on a baking tray, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a tiny sprinkle of salt, then bake until crispy. Voila!

Image: JS Health.Source:BodyAndSoul

Pre-portioned packets of nuts

The trick here is that word pre-portioned. We all know how easy it is to demolish a whole bag! While nutritious, nuts are energy-dense thanks to the heart-healthy fats, so it’s wise to stick to just a small handful (or 30 grams).

Pre-packaged cheese and crackers

Just like nuts, cheese is easy to over-eat, too (just think back to last weekend’s cheese board). But, cheese is still an excellent source of calcium, which is key for strong bones and teeth. So, opt for a cheese & bickie snack pack that includes a couple slices of cheese and some wholegrain crackers to get the best of both worlds.

Source: SuppliedSource:BodyAndSoul

Roasted chickpeas

Last but not least, roasted chickpeas are always in my list of snack suggestions – whether you’re at the movies or not. They’re a great way to get in those all-important legumes that have so many health benefits. Plus, they also count as veggies (#winning).

And there you have it! Healthier snack ideas for your next blockbuster.

For more stories from Mel try: A dietitian’s favourite anti-inflammatory recipes and Why this dietitian refuses to recommend the keto diet.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at, or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

It’s award season which means that some of the year’s best movies are in movie theaters now. Whether you are in the mood to watch a comedy or a drama, there’s one thing that ever movie-goer loves and it’s movie snacks. While at home you can consume an entire meal while enjoying a movie night, things are a bit different in the theater. Popcorn is the king with giant jugs of soda. Thinking about that bag of your favorite candy at the concession stand? Better have saved up some extra cash!

Movie theater snacks are priced as if you were the star of the show. Instead of spending an arm and a leg, why not bring your own snacks? While it is looked down upon, here are a few of our favorite snacks that will fit snugly in your purse or bag. We did the hard work of sorting through Pinterest for you. You might have to bring your own soft pretzels, though. Also, some of these snacks are best brought in Tupperware, but we know you can manage to sneak them by.

Our Favorite Homemade Movie Snacks

Lil’ Luna

Why settle for buttered popcorn at the movie theater when you can whip up a batch of your own caramel popcorn at home? This recipe uses microwaved popcorn then gets it’s stickiness from melted marshmallows.

We recommend storing this in little plastic bags to bring along with you. And, oh ya, lots of napkins.

Get the recipe here.

2. Mexican Street Corn Nachos

Closet Cooking

Artificial cheese sauce this is not. Unlike the concession stand nachos that seem like they’ve been out for way too long, these Mexican street corn nachos are delicious.

Crunchy tortilla chips are topped with corn, cheese, cayenne pepper and lime making this a salty snack you cannot resist.

Find the recipe here.

3. Churro Popcorn

Homemade Hooplah

Churros have to be one of my favorite treats so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to jump on it.

The popcorn is first coated in cinnamon then doused in a sugar coating, making this treat extra sweet.

Find the recipe here.

4. Easy Pretzel Hot Dogs

Dash of Sanity

A combo of pretzels and hot dogs are always a winner in my book. The dough is made from thawed frozen dinner rolls, which means that the recipe is super easy to prep.

And let’s not forget it’s handheld, making this instantly the best movie theater snack. We recommend making this right before going to the theater and wrapping it in a layer of tin foil to keep the snack piping hot.

Get the recipe here.

5. Pretzel Chip Caramel Popcorn

Like Mother Like Daughter

If you love combining sweet and salty snacks (I am a huge fan of goldfish crackers and dark chocolate, no judgement please) this popcorn is for you.

In this recipe you cook up the popcorn, make a sticky caramel sauce with sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar, then mix in pieces of chocolate covered potato chips and pretzels. Heaven I tell you.

Get the recipe here.

6. Sharp Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

Houseful of Hamemade

If a simple bowl of popcorn is more your style, you’ve got to make up a batch of this sharp cheddar cheese popcorn. The trick to getting super finely shredded cheese is using something like a microplane or the smallest holes on your box grater.

Take this to the theater in a brown paper bag hidden in your purse. Shh!

Get the recipe here.

7. Homemade Turtle Candies

The Idea Room

Made with only 4 ingredients (5 if you add the optional sea salt), these chocolate candies make a great snack to munch on. The recipe recommends using lightly roasted and salted pecans instead of raw. You can find them in the store or even roast them yourself.

Pack a few of these in a small plastic bag and carry them in your pocket.

Find the recipe here.

8. Homemade Butterfingers

Pip And Ebby

As classic a movie theater candy can be, butterfingers will always take the cake. I never knew you could make homemade butterfingers before I came across this recipe which contains candy corn and peanut butter. Is that really what’s in a butterfingers bar?

Get the recipe here.

9. Homemade Caramallows

Sprinkle Some Sugar

A perfect match between caramel and marshmallows, Caramallows would be a perfect snack to eat alongside your bucket of popcorn. We recommend making this candy a full day before to ensure the marshmallow has had time to set up.

Find the recipe here.

10. Venison Nachos

Wide Open Eats

If you are seeing a Western, we highly recommend chomping down on a big plate of these Venison Nachos served with jalapeños and cheese. This dish really benefits from homemade chips or “restaurant-style” chips found in the grocery store.

Get the recipe here.

11. Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears

Le Creme de la Crumb

Whenever my sister and I are in a candy store these are the only candies that she buys. Spicy with a coolness of chocolate, these gummy bears will keep your breath fresh while enjoy your favorite rom-com.

Find the recipe here.

12. Cheesy Pizza Sticks

I Wash You Dry

If pizza is your go-to movie theater snack, I highly recommend making up a batch of these bad boys before the previews start.

Made with Pillsbury pizza dough and mozzarella sticks, this pizza roll is a snack to put together.

Get the recipe here.

Watch: Peanuts and Coke Go Together Like Peas and Carrots

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The 25 finest snacks to have with a movie

When writing list articles for Den of Geek, I feel a real weight of responsibility. These lists are definitive, and once published become lore not only at Den of Geek Towers but also the world. We take them incredibly seriously, and we’re sure that you understand: these are not meant as mere playthings or subjects of idle disqussion, no. To us, these list articles are nothing less than the breath of god. Without them, Den of Geek’s opinion would carry no weight.

So, having itemised objective truths about Harry Potter, Middle Earth, and such like, I’ve felt pressure. Of course I have. I’m a regular guy (you can tell because Zack Snyder has no interest in making a film about me). However, those were just films. Ephemeral pleasures that pass like failed reboots in the night. They are nothing in comparison to food. Without films, we’d merely have nothing to write think pieces about. Without food, at best we’d end up in a post-apocalyptic situation like the one depicted in The Death Of Grass. At worst we’d be dead, but at least then there’d be fewer think pieces.

QED: Food’s kinda a big deal.

Not going to lie, I really felt the pressure on this one. In did the only thing I could, and took it immensely seriously.

25. Popcorn

Type: Savoury/Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: No

In the comfort of your own home, you can watch a film however you want, but in the cinema there is an unspoken code of conduct. Plus, there’s a spoken Code of Conduct which anyone who listens to Mayo and Kermode will be familiar with. Essentially, eating and drinking is fine but consider the noise and smell created. Basically if it’s hot or noisy, don’t bring it in. Cinemas do, unfortunately, stock a lot of food that goes ‘crunch’ when you eat it and give you drinks with straws, because apparently the noisiest foods have the highest profit margins. Hence, popcorn.

I hate popcorn. It’s partly because it’s just dry little bits of stuff that taste like twig farts sprinkled with sugary or salty water, but mainly because I used to work in a cinema with three small malfunctioning vacuum cleaners. People always buy a huge box, their mouths dry out, and then they get bored and turn it upside down like it’s a bucket of wet sand at the beach. Plus, it makes a noise. However, it’s on this list because it’s a great staple of cinema, and real people who aren’t me probably quite like it. Also cinemas have got to make their money somehow, so just make you sure you get a small bucket rather than a bag, and try not to knock it over when you leave.

24. Hot Shreddies

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: No

I might as well mention that there is some logic to this list. I’m trying to limit it to things that require minimal effort, i.e. stuff you can order from a takeaway or simply put in the oven/microwave, or eat straight away. Hence the lack of things like nachos which, even at their simplest, do still involve buying three things, pouring them onto each other and then microwaving it, and who’s got time for that? Seize the day. Indulge efficiently.

Chocolate cereals are helpful in this respect, and some of them respond well to hot milk. However, if you’re in a hurry or lazy I would cheerfully recommend giving a bowl of Chocolate Shreddies a 20 second blast in the microwave on medium heat and then eating them dry.

23. Parmo

Type: Savoury
Acceptable in cinema: No

The North East has given us Vic & Bob, Byker Grove and Geordie Racer. It’s also given us Parmo, which is essentially pizza with chicken instead of bread.

The only reason it’s this lowdown on the list is because it’s not that widely available yet. Expect to see gourmet versions of it in craft beer pubs for £10 a pop within the next few years.

22. Wotsits

Type: Crisp
Acceptable in cinema: No

Because cheese. Because you can put them on your tongue and wait. Because once you’ve picked one up your hand is covered in a yellow powder as moreish as crack and you have to lick it off, which means more gets stuck the next time, so you have to lick it off until you’re a cheese-addicted modern day Sisyphus.

Wine pairing: a light, fruity Asti.

21. Onken

Type: Yoghurt
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

When I worked at a cinema one of the projectionists bought me yoghurt most nights so I would be strong, like Jason Bourne. He would go out to Tesco and bought back a tub of Onken and a spork. He would then toy with General Franco – one of several identical Swiss Army Knives he owned – while I ate the yoghurt with said spork, and talk about the notion of honour as depicted in Quentin Tarantino movies.

While all this is true, I wish to point out that I was essentially getting free, healthy food out of it and that Onken is really nice. I would recommend it to a friend.

20. Pickled Onion Monster Munch

Type: Crisp
Acceptable in cinema: No

These crisps have always been there for us. They are cheap. They are chunky. They’re shaped like monsters feet with little holes in so you can put them on your fingers and pretend they’re legs and this will never get old.

Wine pairing: one of those big cartons that comes with a tap.

19. Bananas

Type: Fruit
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

Bananas, like hot dogs, are a famously quiet foodstuff. Unlike hot dogs they are multifunctional. Not only can you eat them – and they’re a good source of potassium, which helps aid blood pressure and stress – but as James Clayton of this parish points out, you can pretend they’re a gun on the way into the cinema and that’s five minutes of free entertainment right there (er, don’t try that for real). Plus once you’ve eaten it you can leave the skin as a trap for your enemies. Bananas piss all over hotdogs.

18. Carr’s Cheese Melts

Type: Biscuit (Savoury)
Acceptable in cinema: No

The simple, quiet genius of coming up with a cheese biscuit that already has cheese on it means these biscuits are suitable for the sorts of parties where everyone passes port round and there’s curvy knives with prongs on the end, but they’re also suitable for sitting in front of Netflix watching the entirety of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in your dressing gown.

17. Viennetta

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: No

Everyone knows that you aren’t a proper adult until you’ve bought a Viennetta. They’re perfect for those classic romantic comedies that have aged quite badly and bits of which make you genuinely uncomfortable.

16. Party Rings

Type: Biscuit (Sweet)
Acceptable in cinema: No

At no point in my Philosophy degree did we get to study the question: Does a party really exist until someone brings Party Rings into it? Waste of four years, frankly.

Party Rings say so much about parties, and indeed life. The holes in the middle are slightly too small for your fingers to fit through, so they balance precariously on your fingertips as you blitz your way through the packet. The sugar high is indeed potent, but then once you’ve Party Ringed too hard the icing sugar starts to taste bitter, and you crash. The dichotomy of Party Rings is that they need to be consumed in moderation but this is clearly impossible. There are so many life lessons to be had with Party Rings. Party Rings. Yeah.

15. Doritos Chilli Heatwave

Type: Crisp
Acceptable in cinema: No

I had to put these in or the editors would have killed me. I’m a Cool Original man myself. Simon, however, consumes these without chewing whenever he feels a rant coming on and wants to get in the zone. “Taste the pain,” he yells through the tears, though with the amount of crisps in his mouth it sounds more like “Tfft dur brn.”

Wine pairing: Alsace Riesling

14. Falafel

Type: Savoury
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

Because you can eat them cold, and they’re soft, and you get a more pleasant waft from them than you do cocktail sausages, falafel is great to bring into the cinema for a quiet nomming session while you ignore the adverts. Or you can sit at home dipping them in hummus and feeling temporarily healthy while watching art house cinema.

13. Lidl cookies

Type: Biscuit (Sweet)
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

The big ones in the Lidl bakery section are crammed full of hefty great chunks of chocolate, and as such yield probably the best biscuit/chip ratio of any known cookie. Plus they’re usually four for a pound, so treat yourself: they’re soft enough to take into the cinema for when you’re flagging at the two hour mark.

12. 60 piece party platter

Type: Savoury
Acceptable in cinema: No

Available from the freezer section of most supermarkets, the 60 piece party platter is not only fun to say but fun to scoff. Generally consisting of your orangey brown foodstuffs, if you want to cover all your bases for a large assembly of movie-watching types this is what you need. For smaller gatherings, the 24 piece party platters are an alternative option, but who doesn’t enjoy a challenge?

11. Starmix

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: No

It isn’t that Starmix are necessarily the best chewy sweets, it’s simply that they’re the best chewy sweets that aren’t individually wrapped. Also they’re really good chewy sweets. Also I’ve discovered to my cost that rogue Skittles can cause minor injuries and shatter glasses if deployed carelessly, so Starmix are a safety-conscious alternative.

10. Fudge

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

Sweet, silent fudge. Did you know a finger of fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat? Here’s the evidence.

Other brands of fudge are available.

9. Pic ‘n’ Mix

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

If you don’t like fudge, or if you’re indecisive, several cinema chains sell Pic ‘n’ Mix, dispensed into cardboard cartons to minimise rustling (and should you wish to re-use these cartons in order to enjoy other cellophane-wrapped products, no one should judge you). Pic ‘n’ Mix has got all the sweets, or at least cheaper-to-make variations on all the sweets, that you remember from that one newsagent. The one that stocked that flavour of Millions you saw nowhere else. This enables you to efficiently fling your childhood favourites into your gob without causing any major distractions in the cinema, keeping your blood sugar high so you can stay incredibly awake for the three hours of moving images. It’s a win for everyone, except perhaps cardiologists.

Beware, though: Mental Floss dug into how much each individual sweet at the Pic ‘n’ Mix counter is costing you…

8. Sensations Lime/Coriander Poppadoms

Type: Crisp
Acceptable in cinema: No

At school someone’s Advanced Higher Chemistry project involved the active ingredient in cocaine. I forget why. The point is that you can clearly get hold of this ingredient, and I’m convinced that Walkers are deploying it in these crisps. Er, not really, Walkers lawyers…

Wine pairing: Gruner Veltliner

7. Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: Yes

Because peanut butter had to feature somewhere in this list, but because I wanted to maintain a facade of dignity I didn’t just go for the ‘paw it out of the jaw and into your mouth’ option. Also, if your cinema has a Ben & Jerry’s stand and you’re a millionaire, you can totally afford to buy a small tub of this and take it into the film (tubs of ice cream edge out the Cornetto based purely on the relative lack of noise pollution).

6. Pakora

Type: Savoury
Acceptable in cinema: No

Glasgow is better at pakora than all other places in the universe. This is a fact. It’s one of two facts in this article. The other is that the best way to watch an Eighties action film is accompanied by a polystyrene container full of deep-fried spicy nuggets, a corner of unwanted salad, and a tub of sauce the colour of burnt skin.

5. Cadbury’s Fingers

Type: Biscuit
Acceptable in cinema: No

There’s a lot of science goes into making a packet of Fingers. Specifically, whoever it was calculated the exact size of box so that by the time you start feeling slightly ill, you notice there’s only about a fifth of the box left, and that’s hardly any, so you might as well finish them. Then there’s the informed psychological aspect of making a product where you can try to – with only rare successes – suck all the chocolate off so you’re left with a shard of purest biscuit, even though you will immediately eat the proof of your victory.

4. Salt and Vinegar Twirls

Type: Crisp
Acceptable in cinema: No

No one knows why food tastes better when it’s in a twirl shape, but it definitely does. As Monster Munch tend to be stocked mainly by newsagents, the other Old Reliable are these; stocked by supermarkets and Co-ops across the land, available after the corner shops have closed, acidic enough to give you a subtle hint when your gums start bleeding.

Wine pairing: a full-bodied Picpoul

(Wine pairings courtesy of Andrew Smith, teaching fellow at University College London, ex-Threshers employee and author of proper wine-type books Terror & Terroir and The Wine Bible)

3. Pizza

Type: Savoury (sweet options available)
Acceptable in cinema: No

Versatile, freely available, easy to share, and essentially an edible container for melted cheese, pizzas are entirely sensible. Kudos to whoever came up with them. Also kudos to whoever it was first had a go on a cow, because we’ve really got a lot of mileage out of milk.

2. Revels

Type: Sweet
Acceptable in cinema: No

Minstrels are all very well and good, but they’re a bit samey after a while. They’re the MCU, and Revels are Batman films. There’s something for everyone, an emotional journey through the highs and lows of life; from the pop art bursts of pure chocolate to the sweet but substantial toffee to the badly edited, over-caffeinated mess masquerading as a sweet, there’s dynamic contrast in Revels. Plus you can put them on a pizza to see what happens.

1. Chips

Type: Savoury
Acceptable in cinema: No

I’ve just realised that this article will translate quite badly if it gets put on Den of Geek US. For reference purposes, by ‘chips’ I mean ‘fries’ and by ‘crisps’ I mean ‘chips’ and by ‘The Avengers’ I clearly mean ‘The popular ITV spy series that ran throughout the Sixties’. Anyway, chips are another incredibly versatile foodstuff. They can be thin or curly or huge and thick and clearly just eight chunks of a potato served in some sort of bespoke luxury bucket. You can fry them once or – get this – twice. All the savoury sauces, spices and herbs can be applied. They’re easy to share. They go with basically anything. Sometimes they come with a tiny fork so you can pretend you’re a giant. Chips are amazing. This is even canon in Doctor Who.

It’s worth noting that enough food is produced in the world to feed 10 billion people, and yet around one in nine people on the planet does not have enough food to have a healthy life. If you’re able to, please consider donating to an organisation such as the World Food Programme, or to a local food bank.

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Movies are the perfect time to pig-out and eat, but traditional movie-time snacks tend to be super fattening or really high in sugar. But just because over-buttered popcorn and candy seem to be theater go-tos, doesn’t mean they have to be your go-tos!

Here are my 10 favorite healthy snack options to eat during a movie.

1. Pop-corners chips or non-buttered popcorn:

Popcorners chips are my favorite. They are light, crunchy and the perfect alternative to buttery, salty fingers that movie theater popcorn gives you. The best part? They come in so many flavors, you’ll never get bored!

2. Fruit Salad:

Fruit is a nice, sweet alternative to candy. Fruit does have sugar, but unlike candy, natural sugar is easier to break down in the body (in other words, it’s better for you). Fruit salad is diverse and perfect for indecisive people. You can even freeze fruit for a great and tasty icy alternative.

3. Yogurt:

Instead of fattening, thick ice cream, the perfect alternative is yogurt. Yogurt (frozen or not) is lighter, contains health beneficial active cultures and still gives you that cold and creamy sensation you ever crave from ice cream.

4. Cereal:

Cereal such as Kashi, flavored Cheerios and Ancient Grains are both filling and have a full serving of whole grain. This is a good satisfying snack for crunchy and sweet cravings! You can even make your own trail mix with your choice of cereal or granola.

5. Veggies and Dip:

Put the chips away and enjoy this delicious, veggie alternative. This is one of my favorite substitutes. Cut up some carrots and celery, add some fat-free dip and enjoy all that crunch without all that bad stuff.

6. Cheese:

My favorite form of protein — cheese. This creamy surprise is perfect with some crackers. Cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, and even help fills you up.

7. Soup:

Whether you’re sick or not, heating up a container of soup to accompany your movie is a great alternative for someone who’s looking for something savory and filling. Chicken noodle, lentil, and vegetable soup are some popular options that will make your movie-watching experience more enjoyable.

8. Mixed Nuts:

8. Trail Mix:

Adding unsalted nuts to anything is my favorite way to get some raw protein. The best thing about nuts is that you can even add them to your own trail mix! Check out 10 ingredients that will take your homemade trail mix to the next level.

9. Homemade Oatmeal Cookies:

Having an oat-filled snack is perfect as oats are incredibly healthy! Rich in magnesium, oats can help prevent heart attacks and even strokes. Plus, they taste great in healthy oatmeal cookies. Adding honey or walnuts gives the fabulous treat an extra sweet-filled crunch.

10. Jello:

Having this spongy, jiggly snack is the perfect throwback to grade school. And I bet you never would have guessed the main ingrident of Jello, gelatin, is actually cause for clear skin and can help build strong bones (among other health benefits). Plus, Jello comes in a variety of flavors and is simply, just fun to eat.

*Disclaimer* — Do not have all of these snacks in one sitting. (Maybe save it for binge watching a Netflix series).

8 Healthier Movie Snacks for Netflix Nights

By Sarah Sarway

Whether you’re binge watching The Crown or finally tuning in to What The Health to see what all the controversy is about, one thing is for sure: you’re going to need healthier movie snacks.

No Netflix night-in is complete without a stash of sweet, salty or savory snacks. But one look at the labels of some your favorite theatre-reminiscent treats and you’ll find a slew of sketchy additives and ingredients. And crunching down on celery and carrots instead isn’t exactly exciting.

RELATED: 7 Must-See Food Documentaries on Netflix

So to help you get your popcorn-Twizzler-Sno-Cap fix, we’re sharing some of our favorite homemade—and healthy—versions of classic movie snacks. They’ll hit the spot, no matter what you’re craving or watching.

8 Healthier Movie Snacks

Homemade Vegan Sno-Caps
Heads up: Fork and Beans says to cool down your kitchen before you whip these up to ensure they keep their shape before freezing.

Clean Eating Caramel Popcorn
Gracious Pantry’s secret ingredient is…almond butter. Yes!

Fudgy Chocolate Chickpea Brownies
All the fudgy goodness, none of the flour.

Banana Ice Cream
Make this instead of digging into an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

10-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese
Pair Vegan Richa’s creamy cheese sauce with your favorite organic tortilla chips.

Rosemary Spiced Nuts
Make a big batch of these and grab a handful to munch on whenever the TV bug bites.

Raw, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Each spoon tastes so decadent…but is actually filled with protein and healthy fat.

Fruit Juice Jelly Sweets
You wouldn’t want to eat these on the reg, but Nest & Glow’s recipe will help you satisfy that gummy bear fix, fast.

(Featured Photo: )


8 Healthy Snack Ideas for Movie Night

Hot summer days call for cooling off with the latest blockbuster in a dark theater or on your living room couch. Unfortunately, typical concession stand fare tends to be filled with some of the worst offenders when it comes to ultra-processed foods: sugary drinks, neon candy, and “buttery flavor” topping. Not-so-fun facts: A large buttered popcorn can set you back 1,640 calories, 126 g fat, and 1,945 mg sodium. It’s often popped in coconut oil (read: saturated fat) or canola oil, which may be a few days old. And that topping is actually soybean oil, pumped with artificial colors and flavors. Still want to share a bucket with your date (shudder)?

Skip the fake butter bomb in favor of these healthy snacks. You can sneak a zip-top plastic bag of popcorn or veggie chips into your bag before hitting the mall—or whip up homemade slushies before settling in for a movie night at home.

1. Healthy Homemade Popcorn

Underneath all of the salt and grease, popcorn is still a whole grain! And it can definitely be a healthy, crunchy, and satisfying snack. Make it fresh at home, and treat it right with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of sugar and spice, a little parmesan and black pepper, or any of these healthier ideas for toppings.

2. Frozen Grapes

If your movie candy of choice is gummies (62 g sugar), chewies (90 g sugar), sours (65 g sugar), or any other fruit-flavored candy, one theater-sized box is easily double to triple the recommended daily limit for sugar! Frozen grapes are the more natural choice. They’re cool, easy to pop in your mouth, and a sweet-tart solution to sugar cravings. Spread grapes out on a baking sheet, so they freeze separately, before tossing them into a zip-top plastic bag.

3. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocoholics can really rack up the calories on movie night—chocolate caramels can set you back 595 calories, peanut butter pieces at 600 calories, and malted milk balls at 665 calories. Consider nibbling on an ounce or two of quality dark chocolate, instead. You can savor it longer and get in a serving of fresh fruit—strawberries and bananas love a dunk.

4. Crispy Crunchy Beans

Both chickpeas and edamame are doing a pretty good job of pretending to be popcorn these days, and they offer some satisfying plant protein. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and roast until crunchy. You can roll them around in some Italian-inspired garlic, oregano, and parsley, or Indian-style coriander, cumin, and cayenne, to up the savory edge.

5. Garlicky Kale Chips

Sweet potato, kale, and zucchini chips are one of those on-the-fence foods. They’re probably better for you than plain old potato chips, but before grabbing a bag, check the label for fat and sodium. Roasting at home is really the best option—you have more control over the ingredients and can preserve some of the nutritional benefits of the veggies. Toss kale leaves with olive oil and garlic, and toast until papery and crisp in a hot oven.

6. Tortilla Chips & Guacamole

Nacho cheese is another mystery sauce that can mean almost anything—is it cheese? Wait, what kind? You can make your own at home with skim milk and sharp cheddar, so at least you know what’s going in the pot. But better yet, reach for nature’s butter: avocados, of course! Mash them into a homemade guac, and serve with veggie sticks and whole-grain chips. (As with veggie chips, keep an eye on fat and sodium and look for tortillas made from real and recognizable ingredients, starting with whole-grain corn—you might also see multigrain wheat, barley, or rye.)

7. Chicken Dogs with Grilled Veggies

There are a lot of good reasons to avoid processed meat—starting with that foil-wrapped dog. But if you love your summer sausages, there are for sure some better alternatives. Fitbit nutrition expert, Tracy Morris, feeds her kids all-natural chicken dogs, made with real boneless, skinless meat. Put them on a whole-wheat bun, and pile on grilled onions and peppers.

8. Homemade Slushies

The number one ingredient in that electric blue drink? High-fructose corn syrup. But homemade slushies, made with real fruit, are so much fun! Blend cherries or raspberries with ice, sparkling water, a squeeze of lemon, and only if it needs it, a touch of honey. Then make your way to your seat for some living room theater.

If you’re setting out a spread at home, dips and dippers, like veggies and hummus, or fruit and yogurt, are also a great option. If you need something quick to throw into a bag, take a handful of spiced pecans, rosemary almonds, or olive-oil granola to go. What’s your favorite healthy movie snack?

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

Becky Duffett

Becky Duffett is a contributing nutrition editor for Fitbit and a lifestyle writer with a passion for eating well. A former Williams-Sonoma cookbook editor and graduate of San Francisco Cooking School, she’s edited dozens of cookbooks and countless recipes. City living has turned her into a spin addict—but she’d still rather be riding a horse. She lives in the cutest neighborhood in San Francisco, spending weekends at the farmers’ market, trying to read at the bakery, and roasting big dinners for friends.

5 Healthy Snacks You Can Carry Into a Movie Theater

Ever since I was old enough to buy my own movie tickets, I made a point of avoiding the outrageously expensive concession stand and bring my own snacks instead. Maybe it was because I grew up in Manhattan where an average movie ticket costs more than $16, but—even knowing it was frowned upon—sneaking in contraband goods became a regular occurrence. (Sorry, not sorry.)

But bringing your own snacks isn’t just a way to save money. It can also be a much healthier option. For example, a medium-size popcorn with butter racks up more than 800 calories and 36g of saturated fat as well as 600mg of sodium.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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We asked our assistant nutrition editor, Jaime Vespa, MS, RD, to check out the snack aisles of pharmacies and major retailers to find the most satisfying and nutritious picks for your next movie. Here are the snacks she recommends.

Single Serving Sabra Hummus Cups

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These powerhouse snack packets are sold individually and in bulk in different snack sections (I recently picked one up in a 7-Eleven!), and they’re compact enough to pack into any bag or pocket. Pair with a bag of baby carrots or whole wheat crackers—the Sabra hummus cup is a great low-calorie option at just 160 calories for an entire serving.

Dang Sticky Rice Chips

You’ll love these faux potato chips that are coated in a savory and spicy sriracha flavoring—you can split a whole bag with your friend and rest easy knowing it’s just about 250 calories.

Justin’s Single Serve Peanut Butter Packet

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You can find these squeezable, snack-sized servings of organic peanut butter near checkout at retailers like Target for $1 or less. They can easily be spread onto veggies or crackers of your choice and a serving of the peanut butter will only cost you 190 calories.

Annie Chun’s Gochujang Seaweed Crisps

These are the perfect balance of sweet and spicy—plus, the entire pack is just 160 calories. And the resemblance to the flavors of a full-on nori roll are striking. It’s like a spicy salmon roll in a bag.

Eat well. Lose weight. Live healthy, with the Cooking Light Diet.

Waterloo Sparkling Waters

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If you think movie-sized popcorn bags are bad, the beverages are even worse. You can still get your fizzy fix with Vespa’s favorite sparkling water on the market—Waterloo’s cans tout a lovely row of zeros on the nutrition label, meaning you can have refills and feel good about it, too.

I love going to the movies. There’s something so thrilling about the moment the theater goes quiet and the opening credits start to play. Of course, no movie experience is complete without some snacks to accompany the film. However, it can be tricky to find healthy movie theater snacks that aren’t packed with hidden fats and calories.

These snacks are all about 200 calories or less per serving with less than 15 grams of fat. You might read that and think “that’s definitely not healthy,” but I want to make it clear that I am not trying to say that any of these snacks are “healthy.” These snacks are just better options than some of the other, crazy unhealthy treats at most movie theaters.

Chocolate-Covered Nuts

I always crave chocolate at the movies, but the giant packs of Butterfingers or Reese’s are definitely not the healthiest snack option. If you’re craving something chocolatey, try going for some chocolate-covered nuts. These provide protein to fill you up and aren’t as unhealthy as other chocolate options. For example, a serving of Goober’s has 5 grams of protein, 210 calories, and 14 grams of fat. Dark-chocolate covered nuts would be an even better choice if they’re available.

Popcorn with No Butter

Sara Carte

Popcorn is the OG movie theater snack, and for many it can be hard to enjoy a movie without that salty, satisfying crunch. I get it, but movie theater popcorn packs a lot of calories. Your best bet is to get popcorn with no butter, since butter can add almost 150 calories to your snack. I learned from my mom to always get a kids’ sized popcorn rather than a small. It’s far healthier and still super filling.


Raisinets are another good choice when it comes to healthy movie theater snacks. One serving comes in at about 190 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. However, raisins are super rich in antioxidants, which bumps them up a peg on the healthiness meter.


If you’re more of a gummy bear lover, Twizzlers are one of the healthiest options for you. They come in at 150 calories, with 0 grams of saturated fat. Hello, Mr. Twizzler, allow me to introduce myself, I’m Emma, your new biggest consumer.

Swedish Fish

Swedish Fish are also a great choice for those of you who prefer fruity gummy snacks. One serving has only 150 calories, and 0 grams of fat. That being said, non-chocolate desserts tend to have a TON of sugar and Swedish Fish and Twizzlers are no exception. As with everything on this list they are by no means the healthiest options, but they’re better for you than some other, less healthy movie theater snacks.

Red Hots

If you like to keep things a lil spicy while you watch the latest blockbuster, look no further than Red Hots. These cinnamon-flavored treats are only 60 calories and they contain no fat. They also have less sugar than both Twizzlers and Swedish Fish. I call that a “red hot” snack.

Pretzel Bites

If you want something from the hot food section of the snack stand, you should go for pretzel bites with no toppings. Melted cheese adds a lot of fat and calories. The pretzel bites are about 150-200 calories, depending on the theater. Be wary of larger soft pretzels because they tend to have more calories.

Overall, there are ways to cut down on calories and fat when at the movies without necessarily sacrificing the full experience. However, if you’re really trying to make a change in your diet I would suggest forgoing snacks at the theater itself altogether. Sneak in some of these healthy snacks instead—just don’t tell them I told you to do it if you get caught.

21 Healthy Snacks for Movie Night In (or Hiding in Your Bag)

12. Strawberry Mango Salsa With Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

This recipe puts a sweet spin on chips and salsa with cinnamon sugar-dusted tortilla triangles and a fruity mix for dunking. Jalapeño, cilantro, and lime elevate the chopped strawberries, mango, and kiwi from a regular fruit salad to salsa status.

13. Vegan Peanut Butter Temptations

A peanut butter cup-stuffed peanut butter cookie may not strike you as the healthiest treat ever, but as far as peanut butter cup-stuffed peanut butter cookies go, these make some surprisingly better-for-you choices by using coconut sugar and chia seeds but staying away from white flour. They may not be for everyday eats, but they certainly fit the bill for a well-deserved night at the movies.

14. Not Quite Maltesers

Can’t watch a movie without a big tub of malted chocolate balls? Recreate the concession stand staple with more wholesome ingredients than glucose syrup and palm fat. This gluten-free recipe has nuts at its base and goes for dark chocolate instead of milk for a few more antioxidants.

15. Healthy 3-Ingredient No Bake Junior Mint Cups

They look like chocolate peanut butter cups, but these pretty bites are dedicated to that other theater treat, Junior Mints. With the same dark chocolaty outside and melty mint center, they’re the perfect clones of the original where taste is concerned. But made with just three ingredients—none of them involving corn syrup—they’re considerably healthier.

16. Vegan Gummy Fruit Snacks

Tell us we weren’t the only ones who snuck bags of gummy bears into movie theaters as kids and demolished them. This recipe is a nod to those childhood memories, but goes for pure fruit juice and agar powder for a vegan and more real food-based version of the sticky sweets. You can go all out with the gummy bear molds, but any candy mold will do.

17. Healthy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Klondike’s got nothing on these Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan ice cream sandwiches. Not only does making these nut-based, date-sweetened treats at home give you a healthier snack, but you also have control over portions—cut them as large or small as you’d like.

18. Healthy S’mores Dip

Bring this campfire favorite inside and serve it up in dip form to make the perfect sweet snack for movie night. The chocolate base tastes like brownie batter, and the gooey marshmallow layer gives it the signature s’mores flavor, but you’ll never guess that hiding in the middle of it all is an entire can’s worth of protein-rich chickpeas.

19. Milk Dud Mini Muffins

Instead of mindlessly munching on Milk Duds, turn them into mini muffins. The gooey surprise waiting in the middle of each chocolaty treat will turn any movie-watching experience into a major hit.

20. Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Bites

Movie night isn’t complete without a dessert involving cookie dough, even if you’re trying to eat a bit cleaner. Egg-free, lower in sugar, and higher in fiber thanks to oats and cashews, these balls of dough will satisfy any cookie craving the healthy way.It doesn’t matter if you’re a snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, or oatmeal fan, you’ll be happy.

21. Almond and Peanut Butter Caramel Popcorn

Caramel corn is sweet. Really sweet. Often too sweet. This recipe cuts that overly sugary taste with a slightly savory and healthier peanut butter-based caramel, and dusts the popped kernels in almond flour and flakes for an extra nutty flavor.

What is it about movie theaters that makes us all too eager to dig out our wallet and drop $15 on snacks? Among the most perplexing of all cinema treats is movie theater candy. Served in iconic jumbo boxes and somehow so much more appealing than drug store varieties, movie theater candy sells for over a 104 percent markup. That means the same $2 box of M&Ms at Walgreens will cost you more than $4.25 at a movie theater.

If you’re going to splurge on movie theater candy–like we know you wanna–make sure you’re getting the very best for your buck. Check out our list of every movie theater candy ranked from the very worst to the very best.

18. Whoppers

Historical records show the last time anyone craved malted milk candy was 1939.

17. Goobers

These guys are the older, weird and creepy uncle of Peanut M&Ms.

16. Lemonheads

Yeah, we love it when our candy is rock hard and tastes like lemon floor cleaner.

15. Milk Duds

Hours after leaving the theater, we’re still tonguing Milk Duds off our molars.

14. Dots

Cute and colorful, dots look delicious. Too bad they’re chalky, plastic tasting, and (much like Milk Duds) impossible to get out of your teeth.

13. Jujyfruits

Holy crap, they still make these?

12. Skittles

Fruity and tangy, Skittles are fine on their own–but they pair weird with popcorn.

11. Swedish Fish

Experts have long deliberated over the true flavor of Swedish fish, suggesting everything from cherry to fruit punch to lingonberry.

The company’s official statement is, “Tastes like fruit, not like fish”. Thanks for the clarification, guys.

10. Buncha Crunch

Grab a Buncha Crunch, grab a buncha popcorn. Repeat.

9. Butterfingers

Fun fact: Millhouse made his first TV appearance in a 1988 Butterfingers commercial, when Bart explains to him the four major food groups–sandwich, cow, jungle, and Butterfinger.

We like the way you think, Bart.

8. Reese’s Pieces

These peanut-butter bits are beloved by moviegoers and extraterrestrials alike.

7. Starbursts

Word on the fifth-grade playground was that if you can unwrap a Starburst with your tongue, it means you’re a good kisser.

Next time you’re on a first date, grab a box of Starburst and show off your skills!

6. Twizzlers

The Twizzlers vs. Red Vines debate has caused a lot of controversy in the candy world. We happen to love them both.

5. Red Vines


Did you know that Red Vine you’re working on can double as a drinking straw for your giant fountain Cherry Coke?

4. Raisinets

Raisinets harness the mighty power of milk chocolate to transform boring ol’ raisins to magical mouthwatering morsels. Mmm…

3. Sno-Caps

It seems like Sno-Caps only exist within the walls of movie theaters. We’d suffer through Pirates of the Carribean 14 just for the chance to chow down on Sno-Caps melted over hot, buttery popcorn.

3. Junior Mints

Cosmo Kramer said it best: “Who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious!”

2. M&Ms

There’s a reason M&Ms have been around for more than half a century. It’s because they’re flipping delicious.

1. Sour Patch Kids

Sweet on the inside, sour on the outside, these little gummies are sneakily addictive and easily the superior of all movie candies.

Set us up with a box of Sour Patch Kids, and they’re not lasting past the opening trailers.

How to Make: Chewy Potato Chip Cookies

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Healthy movie theater snacks

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