The entire family is together for the night and you're looking for
something to do that everyone can enjoy. A movie can make everybody happy--as
long as you don't argue over what to watch or eat a whole box of Milk
Duds by yourself. Here are five tips to ensure some good, healthy film
fun, whether it's at the local cineplex or at home on your couch.
1. Pick a movie with a good message. Superhero and shoot-'em-up action flicks may be summer crowd pleasers,
but violent or morally dark films aren't the best for family moviegoing.
Look for something with a good message or positive values; for instance,
"Lion" tells the story of a young Indian man who was separated
from his family and village when he was a boy, and how he finds them again
using Google Earth. And don't overlook documentaries, which can tell
true uplifting stories, such as "The Eagle Huntress," about
a young Mongolian girl striving to break into the traditionally male-dominated
custom of eagle hunting. Finally, animated movies are always a sure thing
to please kids and adults alike, and are guaranteed to have a few laughs
to boot. "Sing," a musical comedy about animals vying to be
"top dog" in a singing competition, comes out just in time for
2. Be smart about snacking. The sodas, the candy, the buttered popcorn--great moviegoing snacks, but
not so great for your health. Curb the urge to munch at the movies by
eating a meal beforehand so you go in with a full stomach. If you decide
you simply must have a snack to get you through all those previews, pick
something the whole group can share so portions are manageable. When you
order a bag of popcorn--unbuttered is the best option--ask for small plastic
cups, the kind usually given out for water, for each person. Fill each
cup with popcorn and you've got a manageable serving size. And if
you have any questions about calorie counts, movie theaters are now required
to list them as part of a new federal regulation.
3. Follow this "handy" tip. One way to ensure you don't overeat at the movies is to eat with your
non-dominant hand. According to a study published in the journal
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, people who made a habit of eating popcorn at the movies consumed less
of it when they used the hand they don't normally eat with (it disrupts
the pattern of the habit). So if you're a lefty, eat your snacks using
your right hand.
4. Give fruit-flavored snacks two thumbs up. Until theaters start selling apples and bananas at the concession stand,
fruit-inspired snacks are usually the next best thing. According to nutrition
information posted by the Cinemark theater chain, a box of Skittles is
170 calories, while a box of Peanut M&Ms is 242 calories. Instead
of an ice cream sandwich, try a fruit popsicle or scoop of sorbet. And
some theaters offer fruit-flavored iced teas as an alternative to sodas.
5. Make your own movie theater at home instead of going to the theater. Do those annoying moviegoers bother you, or you can't withstand the
temptation of the king-size licorice boxes? Is a movie ticket a little
pricey for everyone in your party? Get the family together and enjoy a
movie at home, whether renting, streaming or pulling something from your
own DVD library. You can stretch out on the couch, snuggle up under a
blanket, and make your own healthy snacks, such as air-popped popcorn
or a dip with veggies and baked pita chips.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.