I love a good movie night. It is such a great way to spend a cozy night in, relax and let all your worries of the week fade away. Whether it's snuggling up on the couch with a blanket, heading to the theater for an immersive movie experience, or a good old drive-in with the car seats reclined, the snacks are definitely one of the essentials.
When you have prediabetes it might feel like you can't enjoy a good movie night without fear of spiking your blood sugar. But there are delicious low carb movie snacks you can choose to satisfy that crunchy, sweet, or salty craving you might be looking for and keep those blood sugars in check. I recommend choosing minimally processed, complex carbs (ie. carb foods that are high in fiber, like fruit, starchy veggies, whole grains, etc.) and pairing with either a fat (choose heart healthy unsaturated fat choices like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds) or lean protein (ie. lower fat protein choices include poultry, fish, nuts, peanut butter, greek yogurt, tofu, etc) to satisfy that snacking urge. Read on for some of my favorites.
The first option is, of course, popcorn! Those who know me, know that I am a little bit of a popcorn fiend. I have my own popcorn machine and it gets used at least once a week in our home. The trick is to make it yourself (or buy it plain/lightly salted) and measure out your portion before digging in.
Popcorn is actually a fantastic, complex carb, meaning it doesn't spike blood sugars quickly. Because it contains a significant amount of fiber as a whole-grain, digestion takes longer and you feel full sooner. In 3 cups (the magic serving size) there are 93 calories, 18 grams of carbs, almost 4 grams of fiber and even some bonus nutrients like folate, riboflavin, and B vitamins! The toppings can usually be the biggest downfall, think movie theater butter... the calories and saturated fat can add up fast. A few toppings to try instead are salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, spicy ranch, cinnamon, cocoa powder, peanut butter powder, chili flakes, zaatar, or grated parmesan cheese.
Another movie snack I love is a good crunchy nut mix. You can toss together a variety of your favorite nuts, seeds and spices to make a super low-carb move snack. My favorite is pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, cinnamon and mini dark chocolate chips!
It can also help to designate a small "snack bowl" from which you can serve yourself from rather than eating directly from the container as this tends to lead us to overeat. Nuts and seeds are loaded with heart-healthy, unsaturated fats which are great for managing cholesterol levels. They also have protein so a small portion is surprisingly filling! Pistachios are a flavorful choice that can keep your hands occupied opening the shells while enjoying your movie.
Veggies and Dip
A truly unrated low carb movie snack is veggies and dip. Veggies provide that great crunch we seek from a snack and the risk of overeating vegetables is usually quite low.
For effortless prep simply purchase veggies already sliced and grab a pre-made dip of choice. Some great options are sour cream and onion, tzatziki, bean dip or hummus, classic ranch and my favorite - dill pickle dip! The fiber from the veggies will fill you up a lot quicker than simple carbs like chips or pretzels. Choose light dips for reduced calories or whip up a homemade dip with nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with seasonings. Grocery stores sell some of these dips in convenient spice packets that can be added to sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and made in seconds.
Baked Kale Chips
Baked kale chips are another fantastic movie snack with a light, satisfying crunch and they are loaded with fiber and beneficial nutrients.
I always recommend removing the "spine" of kale for a more even texture throughout your batch. Rub chopped kale with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread on a pan. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. They can also be made in the air fryer from what I hear!
Fruit with peanut butter or whipped cream
Lastly, if you're craving something sweet, why not try a sliced apple drizzled with peanut butter and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or even frozen blueberries with a dollop of whipped cream?
Fruit does contain carbs, however, choices like apples, berries, pears, cherries and kiwi are loaded with fiber so they fall into the complex carb category. As long as your portion doesn't go overboard your sugars won't spike and pairing some fat (cream or peanut butter) with the fruit slows digestion and promotes fullness even more. A whole cup of berries is only 15 grams of carb which is a decent sized portion. I prefer buying fresh blueberries and freezing them for better flavor and texture. A small-to-medium sized apple will also run around 15 grams of carbs.
Make a low carb movie snack choice you can feel great about
With prediabetes, it's important to avoid spikes in blood sugar especially before bedtime. But this doesn't mean we need to forego the movie snacks or go to bed hungry. Our bodies need fuel for the repair and rejuvenation that goes on while in sleep mode so an evening snack can sometimes be helpful. But rather than going for the simple carbs (like candy, soda, etc) that leave you crashing and falling asleep 20 minutes into the movie, pick a healthier choice that you will not only enjoy but it will keep you feeling good throughout the evening.
If you've been planning a movie night (or if there's a new show you've been wanting to binge) and you need a low carb snack try one of the options above and let me know in the comments what your favorite go-to movie snack is! For more information on working with me to lower your blood sugars and reverse prediabetes check out my Better Blood Sugar Program now!