We all know that feeling—nervously stuffing our hands into the snack bowl, eyes fixed on our favorite spooky flick. There’s just something about a horror movie that calls for the mindless consumption of snacks, as if we’ll be able to simply chew away our nerves. Although candy and sweets are front-of-mind this time of year, there are plenty of healthy movie snacks that won’t make you pay for this automatic reflex.
Here’s our list of the three best healthy snacks for scary movies (and our favorite ways to spice them up).
Popcorn is a perfect choice for a scary movie snack—because it’s mostly air, you can eat a lot of it without taking in too many calories. You can eat three cups of air-popped popcorn for just 90 calories. Plus, it’s technically a whole grain, so you’re getting a healthy serving of fiber, too.
Our favorite ways to add flavor to plain popcorn:
- Hot Sauce—Whether you prefer Sriracha, Crystal, Tabasco, or some classic Frank’s Red Hot, simply pop open the bag, add a drizzle, and toss the popcorn for a spicy kick.
- Smoked Paprika and Black Pepper—Bring savory flavor to your popcorn with a combination of these spices—you can sprinkle them right on top, toss, and dig in.
- Instant Soup Seasoning—This kitchen hack will bring your snack game to the next level. Take the seasoning packet that comes with instant soup (the possibilities are endless) and use it to give your popcorn delicious flavor.
- Truffle Oil and Sea Salt—Pop your own popcorn on the stove for this variation, using a little bit of truffle oil and sea salt. The result? A nuanced snack that will propel you through the scariest scenes of any movie.
- Nutritional Yeast—Want to make your popcorn even healthier? This vitamin-rich vegan protein will do just that—plus impart a deliciously cheesy, nutty flavor.
- Furikake—This spice, popularly used in Hawaiian ‘hurricane’ popcorn, adds a salty, seafood flavoring and a touch of spice.
- Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins—If you absolutely need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding a sprinkling of these into your bowl. Dark chocolate is a healthier option than milk chocolate and raisins are loaded with fiber, potassium, and iron.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients and minerals including zinc, magnesium, and iron. A one ounce serving also has 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, making them extra filling. If you just carved a pumpkin, roast up your own seeds—toss them with olive oil, salt, cumin, and curry powder for a savory snack, or coconut oil, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom for a pumpkin spice hit.
If you’re after the crunch and saltiness of chips, try spiced chickpeas instead. Unlike chips, chickpeas carry a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Toss canned (rinsed) chickpeas with your choice of spices and herbs.
Some of our favorite chickpea spice pairings:
- Rosemary and Lemon Zest—Incorporate a little tang with this aromatic combination.
- Cumin and Cayenne—There’s nothing like watching a horror movie, mouth on fire. Give your chickpeas a kick and distract your eyes with heat.
- Basil, Shredded Coconut, and Lime Juice—Elevate these crunchy delights with a zesty, southeast Asian-inspired seasoning.
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