I LOVE going to the movies! Like, I really love it. I get giddy as if I was going on a roller coaster... but I actually hate roller coasters as I feel like I am strapped to a death chair, so maybe that's why I love the movies so much. Just safe, cushy, entertainment and the best part is that going to the movies comes with the built-in excuse to eat truckloads of popcorn. My fave. If only someone told me how to eat vegan at the movies sooner!
When I first went vegan, I was worried that I was going to have to be that person who brought veggies and hummus to the movies. I mean, if you are that person, kudos to you, but personally, eating junk food is part of the fun of going to the movies for me (hello salt my old friend).
I've got excellent news for you, your local movie theatre may have more vegan options that you realize. INCLUDING the movie theater popcorn! Yes, really. So I wanted to share with you my guide on How to Eat Vegan at the Movies and not miss out on a single scrumptious, delicious, flavor.
Believe it or not, a lot of movie theatre popcorn is made free of dairy products! Yup, a lot of them are made of vegan-friendly ingredients such as coconut oil or canola oil (and are always gluten-free). Vegan popcorn brands at your local theater? Who knew??! Even though the popcorn is yellow, that's often a result of the oil they pop the corn in or whatever seasoning chemicals they use. Mmmm... vegan chemicals. I reached out to several popular national theater chains to see what they said about their popcorn. Check out my list below for your favorite popular movie-theater chain!
The popcorn is vegan! While the popcorn is vegan, they did warn me the popcorn is prepared in a facility where animal products are used so there may be cross contamination if you are worried about that.
Regal Cinemas (Regal Entertainment Group):
The popcorn is vegan! I thought that both the popcorn and buttery topping at Regal were vegan after seeing this article from PETA, but I decided to do my own research to be sure and contacted the company directly. While the popcorn is vegan, they said the popcorn butter is not, so there must have been a change in the recipe since PETA wrote that article in 2014. Regal did say to check with your local theatre to see if there are any differences in your specific location.
Most likely vegan. Landmark told me that the butter supplier differs at each location, but for the most part, the popcorn is vegan-friendly. So just to be sure, you might want to double check with your local theater.
AMC Theaters (AMC Theatres):
The popcorn seasoning isn't vegan, but AMC told me that they are always happy to make a fresh batch without the seasoning upon request. So just arrive at the theater a little early and request a seasoning free fresh batch of popcorn. If you are shy about asking for this, I say just go for it! Maybe even try calling ahead. The more people requesting vegan-friendly popcorn, the better!
How to check with your local theater:
If your local movie theater isn't listed here, or you just want to be extra sure, you should contact them directly. I found it easiest to contact the theater ahead of time as the server at the popcorn counter might not know off hand, and they will likely be pretty busy and stressed trying to decipher nutrition information. I had the best luck by reaching out to theatres Facebook page since you can see if they respond to messages and how quickly you will likely get a response, or you can give them a call.
Perhaps your theater doesn't offer vegan-friendly popcorn, or perhaps popcorn just isn't your jive (I don't understand you if that's the case). Depending on the theatre there are plenty more vegan options that you can indulge in.
Some candies are accidentally (or on purpose) vegan. Common ones that can be found at the movies are Sour Patch Kids, Fuzzy Peaches, Swedish Berries, Swedish Fish, Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers, Red Vines, and Skittles. Yep, they are all vegan! You can see a list I made here of all the vegan gummy candies I have found.
Other than popcorn and candies, lots of movie theaters offer more snackage. Soda, slushies, soft pretzels, and french fries are usually vegan-friendly. Landmark theater told me that many of their locations offer vegan cookies and edamame. Cineplex told me that they have a Santa Fe Grain bowl. I have seen larger movie theaters selling pizza from popular chains that now offer dairy-free cheese. Some theaters offer up Starbucks so you can order a fancy vegan fappucino or latte. And if you aren't sure, just ask! I suggest asking ahead of time so that you can relax and enjoy your time there.
Bring your own:
Shhhhhhh.... you didn't hear it from me ~looks shifty eyed~ but sneaking in your own snacks to a theater is super easy. Just grab a big purse or bag and fill it up! Hey, if they don't offer vegan popcorn, I think it's fair game. You can bring in whatever your favourite vegan treats are, or even a shaker of nutritional yeast for your popcorn, because, yeah, I'm that kind of vegan nerd.
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