The calories in those go-to snacks can really weigh you down if you're not careful. Consumer Reports tested some movie-theater staples to see how healthy or not they are for you.
vWhen you head to the movies, you might not think twice before indulging at the snack bar, but Consumer Reports says maybe you should. "We looked at the calories, total fat, and sodium to see what sort of diet damage you can look forward to at your next movie outing," Jamie Hirsh explained.
Consumer Reports tested snacks from three national movie chains near its New York headquarters: AMC, National Amusements, and Regal. Testers analyzed the largest available sizes of nachos with cheese, pretzel pieces with cheese, and of course popcorn with and without butter.
No shocker. The results are not pretty. The portion sizes varied, but here's an estimate of what you can expect. A serving of large pretzel pieces with cheese had as much as half a day's calories and fat, and more than a day's worth of sodium. And, forget about the nachos with cheese unless you want a large helping of fat. Most had about 40 to 50 grams.
Everyone's favorite, a large tub of buttered popcorn and a large coke, can give you up to 2,000 calories. That's a full day's worth. And, the sugars in a large or jumbo soda are anywhere from 24 to 44 teaspoons.
Consumer Reports' advice? "If you want to buy a drink, choose diet soda, seltzer, even just plain water," Hirsh said. "And, if you want a snack, buy the smallest size that you can and share it with a friend."
If you crave popcorn while watching movies at home, Consumer Reports says go for the air-popped or try a light microwavable one. For example, Orville Redenbacher Light Popcorn has just 120 calories, five grams of fat, and 190 milligrams of sodium per serving.
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(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2011. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)