Last time we checked, the local cinema didn’t have a magical healthy smoothie spout next to the soda machine, or a nozzle to crank out coconut oil and chia-infused goodness over our air-popped organic popcorn. With so many awesome books being turned into movies this year, you’ll want to catch at least one afternoon matinee. But rather than settle for sugar-laden candy bars or uber-buttery popcorn that causes just-gimme-one-more-handful syndrome, use these six strategies from top nutritionists to eat healthy while you sit back, relax and enjoy Ryan Gosling’s handsome physique. Erm, we mean the movie.


1. Have a plan before you head to the theater. Think through what you’ll buy or bring before you get there and inevitably want all the things. Staying hydrated helps combat mindless eating, so pack a water bottle to fill up and plan other meals around the movie. “Remind yourself of your health and fitness goals and what the ‘movie food’ is actually made of (not real food!). Having dinner beforehand or planning a dinner for after is another good way to stay away from mindless eating,” advises says Lisa Hayim, New York City-based registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities.

2. Get a hot pretzel at the concession stand. They might not be as cutely presented and fluffy as the ones at your local artisanal bakery, but they’re a good bet at the movies. “If you haven’t had a meal before the movie, a pretzel can be the perfect snack,” says Lisa. “Pretzels aren’t saturated in fat and sugar, like the rest of the foods behind the counter, and it’s a fun treat to have on a night out. Knock a bit of that extra salt off and you’re golden.” Just be sure to skip the added cheese, which is typically loaded with sodium and fat.

3. Not feeling the pretzels? Go with this option. “Though the concession stand is super tricky to navigate, you can always order water, unsweetened tea and popcorn without butter if you have no other options,” shares Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. We’re also waiting for the day when concession stands offer more than status quo slim pickings.

4. Shhhh! Bring your own snacks. If you’re willing to throw a few healthy snacks in your purse, your options really open up. “Bring an energy bar, bottled water, pack of pistachios, a cheese stick or seaweed snacks,” offers Mitzi Dulan, RD, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin and team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals. More BYO snack ideas from Lisa: pretzels, homemade trail mix and chopped-up fresh veggies. “This way you can graze and kind of check out mentally, without feeling like you’re missing all the movie fun,” Lisa adds. Frozen grapes, apple slices, whole grain cereals and PB&J sandwiches on whole grain bread are some of Julieanna’s fave movie snacks.

5. Or bring some DIY popcorn. “Try popping oil-free salt-free popcorn at home (microwavable versions are perfect) and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, flavored vinegars and/or seasonings, such as chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano and salt-free shakes,” suggests Julieanna. “You can make sweetened popcorn by drizzling maple syrup or date syrup with cinnamon and/or nutmeg, but bring plenty of napkins because it can get deliciously messy.”

6. Meditate. We’re not talking about reaching for your phone and cueing up your favorite meditation app. “If you succumb to ‘the just one bite’ rule, and snatch a few Sno-Caps, or Twizzlers, that’s okay. Just take a moment to breathe and enjoy the sweet flavors. If you feel you are ‘losing control,’ take a step back, place your hands on your lap and breathe in and out slowly five times. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which produces a calm and relaxed state. When we do this, we restore our balance, and naturally slow down our place in life,” offers Lisa.

What other popular activity would you like to get advice on making healthier? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)