There is something different about snacks when watching a movie; be it on the couch or at the movie theater.
They just hit different.
Getting to your seat as the trailers are playing with a hot bucket of movie theater popcorn, some chocolate and a soda is a staple experience for many - but a diabetes diagnosis means you have to be wary about snack time. The need to choose snack options that can help manage blood sugar levels.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size fits all guide to snacking with diabetes as, the American Diabetes Association notes everyone’s body responds differently to different types of foods or diets. How does one satisfy the cravings for popcorn, the movie theatre hotdog , chocolate and nachos in front of the big screen?
In an effort to provide healthy snack options for those who are following a diabetes diet - we’ve compiled a few options here below: Note: These are good for both the theatre and home! If you ever want to bring food into a theatre, just let them know you are diabetic at the ticketing booth/entrance and they will let you bring food in. (Just don’t be obnoxious about it.)
#1: Air-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is an incredible snack option for people with type 2 diabetes. It is packed with fiber, which can help keep you full, and prevent sugar cravings.
However, do note that popcorn is primarily made up of carbohydrates, so be conscious of your portion size.
Additionally, rather than diving into movie-theater style popcorn, loaded with butter, oils and saturated fats, you should air-pop your kernels instead. Air-popping means heating the hard popcorn seeds, or kernels, in hot air until they burst and become popcorn. You can buy these pre-popped!
Watching on the couch? Make it fresh using this affordable DASH Air-Popper on Amazon!
#2: Dark Chocolate
A great complement to some air-popped popcorn, dark chocolate makes for a great movie snack that can be a great option for those with type 1 diabetes or type 2.
However, there are a few things to look out for when choosing a dark chocolate!
- Check the Cocoa Percentage!
- Just because a bar is labeled “dark”, doesn’t always mean that it’s healthy. Many dark chocolates could be as low as 30% cocoa, making it closer to a milk chocolate in terms of nutritional value.
- For those monitoring their blood glucose, the chocolate of choice should be ~70% or higher to ensure there aren’t a bunch of additives that cause a blood sugar spike.
- A general rule of thumb to consider, when choosing a chocolate is the higher the percentage, the more bitter the chocolate will be. Your palate will know best, what your preferred percentage is!
- Watch out for Sneaky Sugars!
- The biggest danger when it comes to chocolate for diabetics is the sugar; more particularly, the added sugars, which are added during the production or preparation process. Many brands compensate for the bitter taste with excessive sugar - but added sugars, when consumed in excess, causes inflammation in the body, and can lead to metabolic dysfunction and heart disease.
- For example, a Hershey’s “Mildly Sweet” Dark Chocolate Bar includes a whopping 22g of Sugar per 41g of Chocolate (54% Sugar)! NOT A GOOD OPTION!
- Those with diabetes should also be wary of the filled bars with caramels, toffee, or other sugary add-ins!
- Our Nebula Dark Chocolate is 70% cocoa and is sweetened with allulose and monk fruit - both of which are shown to have no or little impact to blood sugar. With only 1g Net Carbs per bar, it’s a perfect sugar free dark chocolate option that won’t impact the glycemic index.
#3: Air Fried Chickpeas
This bite-size veggie is commonly mistaken for peas but are actually part of the legume family. When roasted or popped into the air fryer they can also be the perfect crunchy, low carb healthy snack!
In fact, The American Diabetes Association recommends chickpeas for diabetes patients as its high fibre content is associated with reduced blood sugar levels.
The best part is that you can be extremely versatile with your choice of seasonings each time you make these!
For some inspiration, here are some options to season before the roast:
- Classic: Just Sea Salt
- Hot: Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Chili Powder, Onion Powder and a pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
- Some Spice: Turmeric & Ginger
- Smoky: Smoked Paprika & Cumin
Don’t have an air-fryer or need something to take to the theater?
Try these Biena Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas - available on Amazon!
#4: Veggies w/ Hummus
We don’t get nearly enough veggies in our day to day and they make a great snack. If you’re sitting down for a movie and want something a little lighter - this is a great low-carb option!
The American Diabetes Association recommends a 1/3 cup serving per day, preferably with vegetables to round out a filling and low carb snack for diabetics.
Great thing about this is variety with hummus options - you can choose classic, olive, spicy, roasted pepper, jalapeño - this list goes on and on. Add a little sea salt to the hummus as an added touch.
If you’re on the go to the theater you can grab some pre-cut carrots from your local grocer and try these Kirkland Organic Hummus Cups on Amazon or pick them up on your next Costco run!
#5: Fruit with Nut Butter
A simple, yet efficient and tasty combo to get a sweet bite in as the movie plays, with all natural sugars. Sliced fresh fruit is delicious when paired with nut butters. The sweetness from the fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth while the protein and healthy fats from the nut butter will keep you satisfied.
However, many nit butters are also heavily sweetened with added sugar, so make sure to only buy the all-natural nut butters or low-sugar options on the shelf.
There are so many delicious nut butters to choose from—cashew, almond, peanut, hazelnut—the list goes on! Just make sure to choose a natural nut butter without added sugar!
There is a ton of variety to go around, but here are some combos to get you started:
- Apple with Peanut Butter
- Banana with Almond Butter
- Strawberries and Pistachio Butter
If you'd like it to be a bit more filling you can also top a piece of bread or toast with the nut butter and fruit!
#6: Cheese Crisps
Light and crunch cheese crisps are made of 100% real cheese for a delicious keto-friendly and gluten free snack that’s a good source of protein, and sure to beat even your cheesiest movie cravings. Those made truly, with only 100% real cheese are an excellent source of protein and calcium. With only 1-2g carbs and 0-1g of sugar per serving, these are the perfect snack for cheese-loving diabetics!
Parmesan, Cheddar, Asiago - the possibilities are endless for variety as well!
Just be sure to watch your serving sizes as cheese can be high in saturated fats!
Check out Whisps Variety Pack here on Amazon!
#7: Yogurt with Berries & Granola
A bowl of yogurt is one of the healthiest options out there, loaded with nutritional value, and can be made perfect for a movie watching experience. Now this could either be a full meal or a great snack depending on your portion sizes - but will always be delicious.
Firstly, make sure to get the plain or unsweetened greek yogurt from your local grocery to avoid the added sugars and keep it low-calorie. Greek yogurt is a nutrient-dense dairy product that's packed with minerals that help regulate blood pressure, including potassium and calcium. As an Austin, TX resident I buy HEB Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt, but another option if you’re looking for extra protein or a flavored base would be the Oikos Triple Zero, which is sweetened with monk fruit!
Now to get the texture for a true movie snack, we need to choose some toppings!
- Berries - Unsweetened yogurts are great because adding berries and other toppings will give you all the natural sweetness you need and allows you to get a variety of flavors! Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are incredibly sweet, rich in antioxidants and are lower in sugar than you’d imagine. Per 100g, raspberries only have 4.4g and blueberries only have 9.1g of sugar which is less than a typical single serving size of flavored yogurt.
- Granola/Some Crunch - Because yogurt has a very smooth texture, adding some crunch to the bowl makes for a complete snack and explosion when you get a spoonful! Adding in granola with no sugar added is a perfect option, but are hard to come by or are expesnive. I’ve recently been a big fan of Cascadian Farms Coconut Cashew Granola that is sweetened with fruit!
- Puffed Quinoa
- Dark Chocolate Chunks (Try Nebula Snacks shaved on top)
- Coconut Flakes
- Almond Slivers
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Hearts
#8: Flavored Nuts
A great diabetic snack that can come with a punch of flavor are roasted nuts. Almonds and pistachios are some of my favorites.
Almonds, while nutritionally beneficial for most people, are especially good for people with diabetes. There is research that supports that almonds may reduce the rise in glucose (blood sugar) and insulin levels! Just add minimal salt and some other seasonings in the oven for 10-15 minutes and you can put together a great diabetic friendly snack.
Pistachios, also have a low glycemic index and pair very well with spice and other seasonings.
Do watch your portion sizes with nuts however, as they are high in calories and fats. Stay under 4 oz if possible.
Check out these Chili Roasted Pistachios on Amazon!
If you give the above a try - let me know!
Would love to hear which are your favorite or if I missed any amazing movie snacks for those watching their blood glucose!