Healthy eating at the movie theatre?


Watching a movie in a multiplex seems incomplete without a tub of popcorn and cold drink. But what you don’t realise is the amount of calories you add within those two hours. Earlier people often brought something from home to munch on whilst enjoying the film. But those days are gone when you could sneak in your own snack in the theatre. Nowadays, there’s no choice but to buy those overpriced snacks sold by the multiplexes. These can be very unhealthy. Nutritionist Sweta Uchil-Purohit tells us how to choose wisely when buying snacks in the theatre.

Here’s a quick look at the approximate calorie count of some of the popular snack combinations sold at movie theatres:

Snacks Calories (approx)
2 vada pav + soft drink 670 kcal
Veg burger +soft drink 530 kcal
Chicken sandwich +soft drink 460 kcal
Veg grilled sandwich + soft drink 450 kcal
2 samosas+ soft drink 440 kcal
Potato chips (small)+ soft drink 315 kcal
2 bondas + soft drink 368 kcal
Butter popcorn (tub) + soft drink 320 kcal
Caramel popcorn + soft drink 330 kcal
Nachos (1 bowl) + iced tea 405 kcal

If you look at the calories, some of the snacks have almost as many calories as an entire meal! If this leaves you wondering what to do, firstly just keep in mind that the star of the outing is the movie. The snacks and the drinks are just add-ons that contribute to ‘mindless eating’ (eating food without actually paying attention to what and how much is being eaten).

That being said, there are ways to avoid or reduce the amount of mindless eating at the movies:

Pick a snack to share: Nothing better than sharing the calories. Popcorn is always great to share – keep passing on the tub so that you end up consuming lesser calories. You can buy the smaller packets of snacks if there are less people to share with and the larger sizes if there are more.

Eat a small snack/dinner before the movie: A bowl of fruits, chana chaat, home-made soup or proper meals are great to fill you up. Chances are that if you are already full, then you won’t be tempted to overeat on the snacks.

Avoid aerated drinks: Drink water or fresh juice without sugar. Iced teas, bottled juices and aerated drinks sold at multiplexes are loaded with sugar, so avoid ordering them unless you have people to share it with.

Check if you can get made-to-order snacks: Grilled sandwich without the butter or mayo, steamed corn without the dollop of butter, plain popcorn instead of the cheese or caramel flavours, lime juice with 2 tsp sugar (or a dash of salt), fruit chaat without the honey, cream or sugar are all tricks to reduce the number of calories.

Recommended snacks Calories(approx)
Steamed corn (no butter) 1 cup 130
Grilled tomato sandwich (no butter/mayo) 170
Plain popcorn (1 cup) 64
Lime juice (2 tsp sugar) 60
Fruit chaat (no sugar/honey) 100
Plain nachos (4-6 nachos) +salsa 135

Choose the lesser evil: In case you are left with no choice, then pick the snack with the least number of calories and share it.

Even though Bollywood movies are longer and last up to two-and-a-half to a good three hours, just remember that nobody has till date starved to death at the theatre. You can always grab a healthy bite after the movie.

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