Movie Theater Snacks

Posted 7.16.09 | Christine Graham-Garo

The summer movie season is upon us and while your little ones may be excited to see the newest Harry Potter film or Pixar’s Up, you may be wondering what to feed them at the theater. Movie theater snacks have never been the most healthful option for any child, but allergy parents have an additional set of concerns to think about at the concessions stand.

Thankfully, depending on your child’s specific food allergies, there may be a few safe options for you to consider during your next trip to the theater.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the movie theater concessions stand:

Popcorn. Plain popcorn is a great option for children with food allergies and of course, helps complete the movie experience.

Caution: Before you purchase a bag of popcorn, make sure you find out what types of oils it is popped in and be careful about the salt and toppings added afterwards. Movie theater popcorn may contain milk products, gluten or both and there is a possibility of cross contamination. If you’re not 100% sure that the popcorn made at your theatre is safe for your little one, you can make some popcorn at home and bring it in a plastic bag.

Candy. Many fruit flavored candies are free of peanuts, gluten and casein. Below are some options from the Official GFCF Diet Web site that are also commonly found in movie theaters.

Caution: Always read labels to verify ingredients and remember, even if these products don’t contain an allergen, there is always a possibility of cross contamination from the factories where the products are made. If in doubt, call the manufacturer with any questions.

Frozen Treats. Non-dairy frozen treats are available at most theaters and several have also been recommended by the Official GFCF Diet Web site for those following a GFCF diet.

Caution: Like I mentioned above, it’s important to always check ingredients listed on the label and be aware of possible cross-contamination issues.

If you decide purchasing food at the theater won’t work for your child call ahead to see what their policy is on outside food. Some movie theater chains allow outside food, and even those that do not may make an exception for children with severe allergies.

Let us know about your latest movie outings and any other advice you have for food allergy parents.


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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.