Low-Calorie Movie Theater Concession Swaps

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In preparation for all those summer blockbusters, we're rounding up some of the best packable snacks, spilling dirt on the concession stand (well, not literally), and giving you a GREAT new snack mix recipe. Enjoy!

Stuff to Sneak Into the Theater (Don't Tell Them We Told You to Do It; We'll Deny It)

Big purses are key when it comes to toting snacks, people! For anyone out there thinking, "HG! I don't carry a PURSE," we suggest a) cargo pants, b) messenger bags (backpacks are a bit conspicuous), or c) a lady-friend with a big purse.

See Ya, PB Cups! Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
PER SERVING (1 bar): 100 calories, 3g fat, 95mg sodium, 17g carbs, 1g fiber, 7g sugars, 2g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

Skip those freakishly fattening chocolate peanut butter cups and oversized bags of Reese's Pieces! Let's talk about these tasty bars. They're not new, but they're pretty terrific; a good pick to have on hand if you go straight for the decadent sweets. Other great ways to get a PB&C fix in your movie seat? Reese's Snacksters and Reese's 100 Calorie Peanut Butter Wafer Bars -- each has a PointsPlus® value of 3*. YES!

  No Bucket Required! Newman's Own Natural Microwave Popcorn 100 Calorie Mini Bags

PER SERVING (3.5 cups): 100 calories, 2.5g fat, 210mg sodium, 18g carbs, 4g fiber, 0g sugars, 2g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

High-fiber whole grains are a great snack, but all the butter and oil that theaters add to their popcorn make the nutritionals less than desirable. That's why single-serving mini bags of low-fat popcorn rock our socks. There are SO many popcorn brands we love, but we're calling out this one because it has a movie star's face on it! The trick here? You've gotta pop it before you leave home. (Remember what we said about that big purse!)

  Say NO to Nachos! Say YES to Baked! Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips

PER SERVING (1 oz.): 120 calories, 3.5g fat, 230mg sodium, 21g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g sugars, 2g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

If cheesy tortilla chips are your downfall, stay a step ahead of the game. Can't locate single-serving bags of these baked chips? Weigh out a serving and put it into a sealable baggie before you go out. (Baggies really are very important to the emergency-snacking process.) Want more crunchy, cheesy swaps? Check out Cheddar Cheese Quaker Popped Rice Snacks and Cheddar & Sour Cream Popchips. Just a tip: Bring a packet of wet wipes along to avoid finding orange dust all over you when the lights come back on...

  Can-Do Candy! Jolly Ranchers

PER SERVING (3 pieces): 70 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 17g carbs, 0g fiber, 11g sugars, 0g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

Hard candies are great to snack on during movie viewing, provided you know how to unwrap them quietly... or at least during a loud part of the movie. It's hard to overdo it, since it takes a while to finish each one. And Jolly Ranchers are especially ideal if you're heading to that new pirate movie. Get it? Because Jolly Rancher sounds like Jolly Roger... which is a pirate flag... Never mind. Just have your ID ready in case the movie is rated ARRRR! (OK, we'll stop, we promise.) Another hard candy we enjoy? Tootsie Pops -- only 60 calories a... um, pop.

  Soda's for Suckers... Crystal Light Skin Essentials Pomegranate Lemonade On The Go Drink Mix

PER SERVING (1/2 packet): 5 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugars, 0g protein -- PointsPlus® value 0*

Buy a bottle of water at the theater; these packets are sweet to keep on hand just in case you feel like something a little more flavorful. Sure, diet soda is okay, but there's usually only one option; CL's packets come in many flavors, so you can have exactly what you want! (We picked this schmancy lemonade blend -- it's SO good!)


For more treats to discreetly stash, click here!

  Rules of Concession: The SHOCKERS!

A 5.3-oz. bag of Peanut M&Ms contains about 770 calories and 38 grams of fat. ACK!

The 6.5-oz. pack of Reese's Pieces has around 855 calories and 40+ grams of fat. Peanut butter + sugar = CALORIE ATTACK!

Don't be fooled by fat-free food -- it can still pack a TON of calories. A 5-oz. Red Vines pack contains 560 calories... That's more than a Big Mac!

That large buttered popcorn can have between 850 and 1,500 calories... and up to 130 grams of fat!

Beware of those freakishly oversized sodas... 48 ounces of regular soda has about 600 calories and the equivalent of more than 30 teaspoons of sugar.

That perpetually churning slushy machine pumps out another unsettling beverage -- a 24-oz. serving of Blue Raspberry Icee has about 320 not-so-sweet calories.

That order of usually stale-and-disappointing nachos -- with its little tub of waxy cheese -- serves up as many as 1,400 calories! NO JOKE.

Fun Fact! Studies have shown that people eat more during sad movies than they do during upbeat funny ones! Alright, maybe it's not so fun... but it's a fact. 

  HG's Ultimate Movie-Viewing Snack Mix

PER SERVING (1/4th of recipe, about 2 1/2 cups): 187 calories, 3.5g fat, 235mg sodium, 35g carbs, 3g fiber, 14g sugars, 3g protein -- PointsPlus® value 5*

Wanna snack on something large, sweet, AND salty!? Smuggle in a serving of this stuff...

1 standard-sized bag 94% fat-free butter-flavored microwave popcorn
2 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter chips (found in the baking aisle)
1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups Chocolate Cheerios (or another low-fat chocolatey cereal with about 130 calories per cup)

Cook popcorn according to package directions. Meanwhile, place peanut butter chips into a small sealable plastic bag; using a meat mallet or another heavy utensil, finely crush chips through the bag.

Once popcorn is just cool enough to handle, measure 8 cups and place in a large microwave-safe bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels. (Save the rest of the popcorn for another time.) Evenly sprinkle crushed peanut butter chips, brown sugar, and cinnamon over the popcorn.

Microwave for 30 seconds, or until the crushed peanut butter chips have partially melted.

Gently but thoroughly mix contents of the bowl to evenly distribute the toppings. Add chocolate cereal and mix well.

Serve it up (or pack it into sealable bags) and enjoy!



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Uh-oh... It's Friday the 13th. Turn your luck around with these rockin' recipes and fun food-related superstitions!

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

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