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    Archive for the ‘popcorn’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Movie Popcorn

    popcorn bucketsCOB[In light of your post about calorie values in movie nachos], I have a related question — what about movie pocorn?

    — Purnima Anand
    Via the blog

    The figures certainly raise a red flag.

    First, some context.  Three cups of popped popcorn represent one serving, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture.

    That said, a small movie theater popcorn provides 9 cups.  A medium?  Anywhere from 12 to 14 cups, depending on the theater.  A large, meanwhile, packs in 18 – 21 cups.

    From a calorie perspective, this is what you’re looking at (before any fake butter is slathered on):

    • Small: 500 – 650 calories
    • Medium: 750 – 950 calories
    • Large: 1,000 – 1,250 calories

    Each pump of liquid “butter” adds anywhere from 130 – 150 extra calories.

    Remember, Brian Wansink’s most popular study on large portions and consumption was centered around popcorn!  Individuals who ate popcorn from large buckets ate more than those presented with “medium” buckets even though they didn’t report being more hungry (and the popcorn was a week old!).

    Here are my “I didn’t bring a healthy snack from home” movie-theater-survival tips:

    1. The absolute worst thing you can do is arrive to the movie theater hungry.  Make it a “dinner and a movie” night, rather than “a movie and dinner.”
    2. If movie popcorn is your thing, buy a children’s size (approximately 350 calories) for yourself or share a small with someone else.
    3. Skip the liquid butter.  Movie popcorn is already cooked in oil.
    4. If you go to the movies sparingly (no more than once a month), I don’t see a problem with getting a small order for yourself.  Plan the rest of the day accordingly, though (i.e.: leave the huge Chipotle burrito for another day’s lunch)
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    Numbers Game: Answer

    Forty percent of adults in the United States consume a grand total of ZERO whole grain servings every day.

    Not the most encouraging of statistics.

    Although whole grains are increasingly more available, I suspect this has to do with a lack of education and knowledge.

    Many people, for instance, think multigrain bread is a whole grain. It’s not.

    Additionally, the overwhelming majority of new whole grain products come in the shape of sugary cookies or cereals “made with whole grains,” which can mean that as little as 5% of the total wheat flour used is whole.

    Not the best approach.

    If your whole grain consumption isn’t up to par, here are some ideas.

    — Whether at home or at a restaurant, opt for brown rice. Kitchen-phobes have no excuse. Many companies now offer brown rice that cooks in 10 minutes in the microwave. Nutritionally, it is equal to regular, longer-cooking varieties.

    — Enjoy whole wheat pasta, like DeCecco whole wheat fusilli (pictured at right). If you are brand new to it, make your dishes with half regular pasta and half whole wheat.

    — Eat whole grain bread (at least 3 grams of fiber per slice and ‘whole wheat flour’ as the first ingredient).

    — Experiment with alternative grains like quinoa and whole wheat couscous (they cook the exact same way as rice. All you need is a pot and water).

    — Add barley to your soups.

    — Start your morning with plain oatmeal (sweeten it up with fruits; add fiber and protein with walnuts or almonds)

    — Make sure your morning cereal is whole grain (again, look for whole wheat or oat flour as the main ingredient).

    — Snack on popcorn (air pop it or make it at home in a pot with a little bit of olive oil).

    — Make waffles and pancakes with whole grain mixes. If you buy frozen varieties, make sure they are whole grain.

    Remember, whole grains offer more health benefits than non-whole grains with extra added fiber.

    If you need more assistance, check out the Whole Grains Council’s amazing and extensive list of whole grain products. It’s the perfect supermarket assistant!

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