Healthy Snacks: The 5-Step Cinema GuideBy Corrina Antrobus
We all know it: the cinema is where diets go to die. Sadly a typical tub of sweet popcorn racks up (brace yourself): 1,200 calories and 70g of fat. Throw in a hotdog with mustard (the best in town is at the Electric Diner in Notting Hill, their amazing cinema is picture above) and wash it down with a vat of Coke and you’re looking at running an uphill marathon with weights strapped to your shins to burn the fat you just guzzled during the latest Tom Cruise saga. But luckily there’s a solution: the trick is to alternate your choices, allowing more healthy fruit, vegetables and nuts into your cheeky cinema nibble. Here’s our 5-step cinema guide for your next visit:
What: Someone clever realised you don’t need hot fat to make kernels of corn erupt into fluffy clouds of goodness. For Propercorn, hand popping it in a little British rapeseed oil will do just fine and cuts about a third of the fat.
The swap: Just as well as the traditional method could see you shovelling a gut-wincing 5000 calories if you go large and choose sugar over salt. Propercorn is around 100 calories a bag.
Pros: The variety of flavours. Oh the variety. Propercorn is just one tasty brand that have gone beyond the sweet, salt or both conundrum. Coconut and vanilla? Worcester Sauce and Sun-Dried Tomato? You got it.
Cons: The smell of freshly-made popcorn is like a carnival in your nostrils. You don’t get that with packaged popcorn.
What: Sitting in the dark and shoving your hand in a paper bag with the hope of avoiding the Milk Bottles = fun. Half an hour on the treadmill = not as fun. The trick here is to pick your mix wisely. Jelly beans and real fruit jelly sweets like the ones from The Natural Confectionary Co. mean you can snack happy. Other tips are to chose suckable sweets to prolong the enjoyment, chewing gum or grazing on seeds, nuts or raisins which although not totally innocent, have more nutritional value.
The Swap: There’s around 324 calories per 100 grams in the Natural Confectionary Co. jelly snakes.
Pros: You don’t feel robbed. You still get to have something sweet, but with a fraction less fat.
Cons: There’s no chance of picking a white chocolate mouse in a bag of raisins.
What: Ice-cream as a cinema snack is a silly idea. It’s just a sad puddle of cream in a paper cup before the opening credits. But if you must have a frozen treat, the obvious substitution is frozen yoghurt; our favourite quick take-away is Yog, which does the most delicious, creamy dairy yogurts in town. Try the Coconut Yog with raspberries, granola and coconut flakes, it’s heaven. They also do larger pots in supermarkets (including Waitrose) so you can grab one to share – for more of their flavours, see here.
The Swap: Frozen yogurt can be as little as 100 calories for a small (such as the Mori one), whereas a small tub of Hagen-Daz Pralines and Cream can set you back 242 calories.
Pros: It really tastes like ice-cream. Promise.
Cons: It’s yoghurt. This means is melts faster. Blame science.
What: Marshmallows were once used for hot chocolate and campfires. Now you can find them on the shelves of the cinema snack aisle without having to sing Kumbaya and they’re now far sexier than your traditional pink and white blob varieties.
The Swap: Art Of Mallow have created raspberry, salted caramel and chocolate chip, to name but a few, and although they don’t advertise the calorie count, they claim to be ‘low fat’ – something you won’t find on a bag of M&Ms. Another winner is Marsh and Mallow (pictured above) which uses 100% organic ingredients and do kooky creations like Cappuccino Marshmallows.
Pros: You can be one of the first to say ‘I was in to posh marshmallows aaaages ago’.
Cons: Posh marshmallows are not widely available…yet.
What: Fruit: nature’s way of gifting the sweet-toothed but weight conscious. But when was the last time you saw a punnet of berries next to the pick ‘n’ mix? Sorry, but this one encourages smuggling in some five-a-day. This operation is a bit mean as picturehouses rely heavily on the food revenue to stay afloat, but you never know – this might encourage cinemas to provide fruit salads perfect for picking at.
The Swap: Grapes, blueberries, raspberries are all healthy, shareable and don’t make noise when chomped. As little as 60 calories for a small portion: just keep the Tescos bag out of sight, yeah?
Pros: You’ll be getting some of your five a day with your sneaky fruit salad.
Cons: If your local cinema goes bust, you’ll have your blueberries to blame.