Host a Happy & Healthy Movie Night

Even though the weather, you, and your family have transitioned out of summer, that doesn't mean that movie nights must also be a thing of the past.  Hosting a happy, healthy movie night can develop positive relationships within the family, with neighbors and friends, can reinforce positive behaviors and food habits, and can be just plain fun. 

SNACKBAR sign from a surprise movie night full of our favorite movie snacks

When deciding on a movie night, the type of film you choose and the snacks available can actually influence what you eat!  According to this study published this month by Cornell University, action films led participants to eat approximately 65% more calories than participants watching more laid-back programming.  So, check out the list below for some other options.

If movie nights normally consist of greasy pizza, bottles of soda pop, and tons of processed snacks, you might welcome a happy and healthy movie night--one where you won't need to get over a junk food hangover the next day!  Here are some suggestions on how to make it a success.

What you need:
- a great movie
- fun friends/ family
- a comfy space with plenty of seating/ lounging spaces
- a few healthy snacks and drinks for everyone to enjoy (or premeasured portions of higher calorie snacks)

Movie suggestions:

If you want a kid-friendly/ kid-focused movie night, take a look at these fun kids' movies:
- any of the Muppets movies
- Monster's Inc.
- Finding Nemo
- Up
(- If you're a parent, you may have seen Frozen more than once at this point...)
- Goonies
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
- The Wizard of Oz
or scan this 50 greatest kids' movies list

If you're thinking classics, check out:
- Roman Holiday
- Cool Hand Luke
- The Shawshank Redemption
- Casablanca
- Gone With the Wind
for more ideas look at the AMC Greatest 100 list

or these classic movie series:
- Star Wars (and check out this Star Wars post)
- Indiana Jones

If you're interested in doing the whole movie experience, but you and your moviegoers want to learn something from your movie night, try one of the following documentaries/ informational programs:
- Happy
- Food Matters
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- (my current favorite, on Netflix) The Cosmos

If you're interested in healthy dose of laughter, you could try some of these comedies:
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- The Big Lebowski
- Zoolander
- Groundhog Day
- The Hangover
- Shaun of the Dead
for more ideas see the College Humor 100 Best Comedies of All Time

Snack Ideas:

- fruit salad or cut fruit (berries, apples, pears, oranges...)
- hummus plate with veggies or homemade tortilla chips
- eggplant pizza or gluten-free homemade pizza
- stove-popped or air-popped popcorn (See FoodBabe's avoid microwave popcorn post)
- easy, homemade peanut butter granola
- small bowls of pistachios, almonds, or other nuts
- individual peanut butter and celery stick cups
- everyday trail mix
- crunchy carrots or celery sticks or green pepper slices
- black bean brownies (I love this recipe by Natalie on SuperHealthyKids)
- chocolate peanut butter banana avocado pudding

or even make it a smoothiefest with any of these smoothies:
- chocolate peanut butter veggie dessert smoothie
- blueberry banana kale and spinach smoothie
- pumpkin pie smoothie

Whatever you decide, take the time to choose what you consume (audio/ visuals, as well as food/ drinks) mindfully.  If you make it a priority when it doesn't come naturally, it's only a matter of time before you'll be making healthy choices for your mind and body as second nature.

What is your favorite movie night movie?

Labels: , ,