Tips on Allergen-Free Snacking at the Movie Theater

When most people think of a fun family outing, near the top of that list is going to the movies. Whether you have preschoolers or teenagers the movies often provide an opportunity for your entire family to spend time together enjoying a great film. And in actuality, it is not only about family time, but plans between couples and friends, and even birthday parties often include a trip to the theater. For most people, the hardest part of going to the movies is choosing what to see or where to sit. However, for those with food allergies, those are the easy parts.

With over 15 million people being reported as having food allergies, knowing what to eat at the movies becomes a common concern. While it is always an option to bring a snack from home, getting food at the movies has become a social part of the whole experience. Kids' faces light up as they stand and look at the many candy options to choose from, while families decide whether or not to indulge in the refillable popcorn tub. There are plenty of options that make the concession stand an important part of going to see a movie.

When you or your family member has a food allergy, the concession stand can become a dreadful experience. You must walk up the counter and determine what foods or snacks are safe despite your food allergies, all while tons of people are ​in line behind you hoping to be served before the movie begins. This in itself makes the whole experience even more overwhelming. Before you head to the movies, it is wise to understand what options are available and safe for those with food allergies. 

Generic Gummy Candy
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Before Heading to the Movie Theater

Take the time to call the theater ahead of time to find out details about how their popcorn is prepared and details on ingredient lists. Some popcorn is dairy free, while some brands do contain additives that can be problematic for those with food allergies. It is important to also know what oil is used in making the popcorn, with regard to nut allergies.

Aside from popcorn and candy, see what other foods are available at the theater. Many theaters today also serve foods such as meals, nachos, ices, and ice cream. Asking what other foods are offered at the theater may offer your family additional options to enjoy safely at the movies.

Ask the manager if they are familiar with food allergy needs. This can help you to feel more at ease about going to the movies for an enjoyable outing with your family.

If your child has a nut allergy be sure to ask the manager about earlier show times, to ensure that the theater has been properly cleaned. While this is not a guarantee that your child will not be exposed to their allergen, there is less of a chance of food contaminants on the movie seats and floor. Be sure to always carry an EpiPen in the event of a reaction.

Become familiar with ingredients on favorite candy options. Knowing what candy is gluten-free, dairy free, nut-free, etc. will enable your child to choose a candy along with friends when enjoying a movie.

At the Movie Theater

Be sure to read the label on the ingredients for popcorn or foods you purchase to ensure its safety for you or your child.

Wash your and your child's hands with soap and water to avoid chances of contamination with food allergens.

Suggested Allergen-Free Foods That Can Be Enjoyed at the Movie Theater

Here are a few options you might enjoy:

  • Sweet Tarts - This candy is free of the 8 major allergens
  • Sour Patch Kids - This candy is free of the 8 major allergens.
  • Skittles - Gluten Free
  • M&M’s Original - Gluten-Free
  • Starburst - Gluten Free
  • Laffy Taffy - Gluten Free
  • Mike & Ike - Dairy Free
  • Nestle Wonka Runts - Dairy Free
  • Swedish Fish - Nut Free
  • Wonka’s Nerd Ropes - Nut Free
  • Whoppers - Peanut and Tree Nut Free
  • Twizzlers - Peanut and Tree Nut Free

Movie Time

By planning ahead, and keeping your food allergies in mind, you can be sure to sit back, snack and enjoy the show.

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