Movie popcorn is notorious for Calories. It’s a nutritional deviant, and one of the worst!
We all know it’s bad, but just HOW bad is it?
Popcorn starts out as a pretty healthy treat. It’s a whole grain that is naturally high in fiber, and fat free. A few handfuls of air popped popcorn is a great snack. Unfortunately, the bright yellow stuff at the theatre leaves the stuff nearly unrecognizable.
In Canada, Cineplex theatres have switched from using coconut oil (high in saturated fat), and now uses non-hydrogenated Canola oil for popping its corn – a better choice it terms of oils. Empire also uses Canola.
Cineplex (no butter):
Small popcorn – 480 Calories
Regular – 780
Large – 1,120
Adding Becel loads another 160 – 270 Calories on top, and butter will set you back about another 190 – 320 Cals.
Empire (no butter):
Small – 360 Cals
Regular – 530 Cals
Large – 730 Cals
Adding Becel at Empire will load another 220 – 370 Calories on top, and butter, about another 250 – 420 Cals.
Empire’s sizes are a bit smaller (1-4 cups less, depending on the size) than Cineplex, and therefore you will get slightly fewer Calories, however, they use about 2-3 times as much sodium!! A medium popcorn will get you 370mg of salt at Cineplex, but a whopping 1090mg at Empire. Empire’s butter pumps are also a bit bigger, so adding butter will do more damage.
And let’s not forget the pop. A regular pop will run you from 150 Calories (11 tsp sugar) for a small, up to 450 Calories (31 tsp sugar) for a Large. Yuck!
If you must indulge (and we all do now and then) – keep these things in mind to minimize the damage:
–Skip the butter. The popcorn at movie theatres is already yellow with butter flavour, without the extra fat pumped on top. It may be a touch change at first, but you’ll get used to it – I promise!
–Go for a small, or better yet, the kid’s size! One of my favourite tricks for portion control is ordering kid’s sizes. Most kid’s sizes actually used to be adult sizes years ago, but companies have over sized and super sized everything over the past few decades.
– Just say “no” – to candy! Most theatres only sell the largest packages of candy. If you must have the candy, pick up a small package from the corner store before you go – you’ll save money and Calories!
– Skip dinner! Well, ok, I’m not advocating you regularly fore-go a balanced meal for a night at the movies (and even by doing so, you will still definitely be going over your fat and Calorie budget for the day), but a night of movie popcorn does not constitute a “snack”, so cutting back on something during the day isn’t a bad idea.
*Thanks to Nutrition Action for the nutrition info