Movie Theater Snacks: The Good & The Bad

Movie popcorn and other snacks play essential supporting roles in the theater-going experience. But many of your favorite cinema munchies could win Worst Food Oscars for their high levels of calories, fat, and salt.

No one goes to the movies expecting a salad bar, but you may be shocked to learn just how fat-loaded typical movie snacks are. And although AMC theaters announced its new healthier snack packs with items such as trail mix and bottled water, most movie offerings are decidedly less wholesome. Get ready to cringe: A medium popcorn and medium regular soda at Regal Theaters can pack as many as 1,600 calories, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit watchdog group. That’s about the amount recommended for an average woman…for an entire day!

Although many large restaurant chains and other places that sell prepared food will be required to display calorie counts under new federal regulations, movie theaters are exempt — making it even more important to get the facts before you go. Granted, an occasional movie splurge is unlikely to hurt anyone, but frequent theatergoers would be smart to seek out less sinful swaps.