Here are some ideas for diet-specific snacks:
- If you're following Weight Watchers, consider bringing along a pre-packaged, portion-controlled snack with a low Point value. A small box of Cracker Jacks, for example, only has three points ... and, of course, a free prize. ;-)
- On NutriSystem Nourish, like me? Why not save today's snack for the cinema? Make sure you have NutriSystem caramel corn, white cheddar Soy Snackers, or snack mix on-hand for movie time.
- Low-carbers will want to have those trusty pork rinds in tow for munching away as everyone else around you is crunching.
Give in ... But Just a Little Bit
If you decide to get theater popcorn (and why shouldn't you treat yourself once in a while?), keep just one hard and fast rule: Don't convince yourself to buy the largest size available just because it doesn't cost that much more. The Center for Science in the Public Interest warns:
"Moving from a small to a medium bag of movie theater popcorn costs about 71 cents — and 500 calories. A 23% increase in price provides 125% more calories and two days’ worth of saturated fat."
Truth be told, I've reasoned away the cost to portion theory many times: I usually say, “Oh, but I'll share with ____ (fill in the blank with that night's partner in caloric crime.)” But in reality, even if you think you can keep from eating too much by sharing ... you probably won't end up eating less when you have such a large portion within reach.
In fact, a study by Brian Wansink, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, showed that people who were given a big bucket of popcorn at a movie ate 50% more than those who were given a medium-sized bag. The worst part? They thought they only ate as much as those with the smaller bag when asked to estimate how many ounces they'd consumed. Over-eating can happen before you even know it when portions are oversized.
Your best bet? Order a small popcorn without buttery topping or better still, a kid's size. Share with your neighbor, but don't get talked into the special deals like "family combos". Don't get bamboozled by that bucket that reads "Free refills on large size." in big, bold letters, either. Here's my rule of thumb: If you have to hold it with two hands, you've made the wrong choice.
Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
If you've just got to have candy, force yourself to ignore all candy bars (sigh). Choose the lesser evil like Junior Mints, Pepper Mint Patty, Gummy Bears, jelly beans and Tootsie Rolls. Forget about chocolate covered anything ... even if what's inside is ok (e.g. pretzels).
Continued: Beverage Basics >>