Fun and healthy snack ideas for movie night

Jan 27, 2012, 9:01 a.m.

There's great news for movie lovers who are interested in pursuing a heart healthy diet. You no longer have to torture yourself or have your movie viewing experience tarnished by having to forgo typical movie snacks like buttered popcorn, Milk Duds and rot-your-teeth-out sugary sodas. With just a little bit of creativity and extra work, you can still enjoy movie night, whether out on the town or at home in front of your 60" flat screen TV. Here are a few ideas for heart healthy snacks you can enjoy on movie night.

Popcorn. Far too few people consider popcorn to be at the top of the list of heart healthy snacks, but the fact is that it's additives like butter, oil, and salt that make this time-honored movie tradition an unhealthy experience. Popcorn is a whole grain, and as you may or may not know, whole grain is great for you. The trick is in the preparation. If you're having a bucket of popcorn at the local movie theater, ask the person behind the counter serve it to you plain. You can then add a heart healthy salt substitute (as long as you remember to bring it with you) that'll spice it up and let you enjoy a guilt free movie experience. If you're having movie night at home, you can get even more creative by adding chopped herbs and garlic, lemon zest, or spices like cayenne pepper. Get creative!

Nuts. Did you know that people who eat nuts regularly are less likely to develop heart disease? It's true. Now that you know this, all you have to do is make a mix of your favorite unsalted nuts and either bring them with you to the movie theater or plant them in a bowl on your coffee table at home and press PLAY. The trick is to steer clear of packaged, salted nuts and to make your own mix. This is the only way you'll ensure that what you're eating is salt free and truly healthy snack.

Raisins. Raisins are full of antioxidants, but what's even better about them is that they taste great and are a wonderful alternative to non-healthy snacks. Besides being good for your heart, raisins are also said to be good for your gums. Want to effectively kill two birds with one stone while enjoying a tasty snack on movie night? Bring along a few boxes of raisins or mix them up with the aforementioned bowl or tasty unsalted nuts.

Water. Who said it's impossible to enjoy a bucket of heart healthy popcorn without an extra-large soda in your lap? Water is the original beverage and it's also the healthiest. Bring along a canteen or sports bottle of chilled water the next time you go to the movies. You might be surprised at how little you miss that super-sweetened soda or horribly tasteless diet drink.

Before you head out to the theater or settle down in front of the TV to watch your favorite movie with the family, it's a good idea to have a satisfying heart healthy meal. This will prevent you from feeling those familiar pangs of desire if you're still trying to get used to enjoying popcorn without lethal amounts of butter and salt, and if you're headed out for movie night, it'll also save you some serious money.

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