Movie theatre snacks?

This is the first time my son, 8 years old, will be going to the movies since being diagnosed in September. Any advice on how to ease the upset he’ll feel when we tell him no popcorn or candy from the concession stand? Any substitutes we should consider? Thanks so much!!

Why can’t he have popcorn? As long as you bolus for it, he can eat whatever he wants. I’ve never stopped eating stuff that will raise my BG. I just bolus from my pump and don’t even see a spike with my BG.


Thank you, and I’m sorry, I should have explained. He’s still only needing insulin at meal times. We caught his very early. So he can’t have carbs between meals, or he can’t have more than 15 carbs anyway.

hi @CoopsMom Rita, I get it, it’s pretty common to associate diabetes with “you can’t have sugar”. One of the harder things to learn is dealing with eating outside of the home, and parties - especially pizza parties, Halloween, school cupcakes, which will all tend to isolate your son and make the “new normal” all that much harder to incorporate.

in my travels, I have learned how to use insulin so for me it’s not so much “I can’t have sugar” but how to eat that pizza, or ice cream, or candy… if I want to. That is a bigger issue for me, not that diabetes ruined my life, but if I really and truly want to drink coca cola, I now know exactly how to do it.

now you didn’t say if you son is on a pump, which can make certain things easier, but even pens can be used in public and if he really wants a popcorn he can certainly have one but in my opinion, the very first time, it’s a good idea for you to have an estimate about how many carbs (hint, a “small” movie theater popcorn is about 70 grams carbs) and to try to keep a serving on the smaller side, maybe to about 35 gram or less carbs until you get used to the deal.

same for candy. Truth be told, I was never a big fan of a gallon of artificially flavored soda, but there’s that, and I always sneak in some food as well because I am too cheap to buy theater junkfood.

he’s a kid. kids should be able to be kids. the new deal is that you have to teach him how to live with a “manual” pancreas. i’m living proof it’s doable. Once you get to be an expert at insulin there isn’t anything he can’t eat. good luck!

Hi @CoopsMom–I agree with what @joe said above: if your son wants to have movie treats, he can have them! There’ll definitely a learning curve because popcorn and candy probably aren’t things that you’re used to bolusing for, so I recommend looking up the carb counts online and starting with a controlled portion so you can figure out how it’ll affect his bg. If he goes a bit high afterward, it’s not the end of the world–I had some pretty high numbers after movies before I got good at estimating carb counts. Just correct the high, learn from it, and before you know it you’ll be a pro! Bottom line: there are no foods that are “off-limits” for your son. I distinctly remember listening to my endo talking to my parents in my hospital room the day I was diagnosed; he told them, “She can eat 5 full-sized Snickers bars if she wants to!” My 7-year-old brain took that to mean that I was allowed to eat all the candy I wanted no matter what my parents said :rofl:… But the message still stands: this condition doesn’t have to stop your son from being a kid.


Well I understand if you want to tell him no candy and popcorn. I’m 14 and I usually use my own snacks at movie theaters. Smart food popcorn is a really good substitute and it’s already popped. It’s only had 13 carbs for 1 3/4 cup. That’s what I usually bring for snack and for like a soft drink if your kid wants soda or lemonade Minute Maid lite lemonade only has 8 carbs for 16 ounces. And for soda I bring diet A&W root beer or you can do any diet drink. That’s what I use for substitutes. Just some suggestions!

I’ll add my voice to what’s already been said. It’s really not a problem to have a snack with carbs apart from a meal time. My only suggestion would be that since this is all so new for you guys, have a plan and be prepared. So, like the rest have been saying, make sure he knows how many carbs he’s going to eat and then bolus for them accordingly, as if he was eating a meal. A quick google search says a small theater popcorn is 40 grams, but, personally, I think that’s a high estimate. In fact, I find it interesting that you ask about a substitute for popcorn because popcorn has tended to be my substitute for other high-carb salty snacks. Popcorn is pretty low on carbs, so I have learned to really like it! To echo @EveBq, if you’re more comfortable sending him with popcorn that you already know the carb count for, that’s fine, but to be honest, learning guestimate carb counts and bolus on the go is a skill we all learn eventually!
I hope this helps and have fun at the movies!

To the movie theater and pretty much anywhere, I carry snacks that have low carbs like crackers (ritz crackers), original animal crackers, Slim Jims, and dried vegetables. Beef jerky is pretty good too! I’ve grown to snacking on dried broccoli florets (from Trader Joe’s) and sunflower seeds (sometimes the kernels themselves). Peanut butter crackers are pretty good too and he shouldn’t have to count for them if he only eats one. I will eat a few bites of popcorn, but never enough to raise my blood sugar at the movie theaters. Does he carry around a backpack or a snack pouch?

The first couple times my son (now 12) went to the movies, I assumed they gave him regular coke instead of diet, b/c he went crazy high (400s). Talking to other Type 1 moms, I learned that this is a known phenomenon (also on planes…maybe from sitting so still??). Anyway, we now bump his basal with a 150% temp basal on the pump starting 30 min before the movie and lasting for the duration. It’s much better! Plus pre-dosing for the carbs by 20 minutes. Also thankfully one movie theater nearby has a reasonably sized “junior” popcorn that’s 22g carbs. That said, of course he wants candy or Icee sometimes, so we’ve figured out how to dose it. I agree with other posters - he needs to know how to dose for whatever. Good luck!

When I was little (25 years ago) I was on very restrictive, no-food-between-meals-unless-low diet, too. Back then we tried to time our movies around meals so that the movie snacks could be my lunch or dinner. Alternatively, try a small bag of Smartfood popcorn. The smallest bags they sell are 9 g each. And diet soda of course has 0 g.

1 Like

Popcorn is my fav! Dont ever limit your kid because of T1D just bolus for it

My perception might be wrong but I find interesting the fact that you said you guys caught early the diagnosis of diabetes. T1d is always insulting dependent unlike t2 where you can control it with pills until the body start needing insulin. You don’t necessarily need to restrict how many carbs he can take but rather work on how much insulin he might need for them. I say this because just by having an Orange he already reach the limit of 15. I would suggest maybe negotiating having just popcorn and diet soda so he doesn’t feel tempted in the future to eat many sweets or at least until you guys figure out his ratio of carbs to insulin and reaction to foods. It will take some time for all of you to adjust but once everything is figured then he will feel just the same as everyone else just like many of us here.

Thank you so much for your reply. It’s my fault for not being more descriptive in my original post, but you completely understood where I’m coming from anyway. I really appreciate your suggestions and will definitely use them until the time he can bolus whenever he needs to. Right now it’s just really tough because he does want to eat when he can’t or he wants food he truly cannot have because he’s only allowed between 45-60 carbs per meal. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m so sorry, everyone. I should have been more descriptive in my original post. As @bsteingard said, what we’re dealing with right now is a “very restrictive, no-food-between meals-unless-low diet”. He’s only allowed between 45-60 carbs per meal. When we found his diabetes, his A1C was 6.6 uncorrected. The doctors are trying to stretch out this honeymoon period for him. He’s getting 0.5 units of insulin most of the time with meals. At most, since he’s been home from the hospital at initial diagnosis, he will get 1 unit. His BG just hasn’t warranted more yet based upon the sliding scale he’s using. So we are no where near a pump yet. And, unfortunately/fortunately, we are no where near him being able to eat what he wants whenever he wants. And while that’s good news for his organs, it’s also very tough.

Firstly, it takes time for the immune system to completely destroy the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Like @CoopsMom said, sometimes if diagnosed early a TID can get by on very little insulin for a time. Secondly, there are a lot of variables involved in dosing insulin properly and it can be a lot to take in. Especially for a parent treating a child who may or may not be masking symptoms. Sometimes it’s helpful to restrict a child’s diet until you feel you understand the process well and can recognize the child’s low/high blood sugar symptoms. Then as you get more comfortable you can introduce more variability and spontaneity.

1 Like

Glad I could help. I remember being in your son’s shoes. I’ll never forget the day we made ice cream in first grade and mine melted by the time I was allowed to eat it. I have way more self control than most people I know now, though. And I’m ok with delayed gratification.
Good luck with the movie and with holiday treats! Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m glad to see you understand the whole process. I just mentioned because there is people that misguide and say that diabetes can be reversed if a diet and exercise is applied. If your endo and you have a plan already set then things will come and eventually everything will be controllable and under control. Good luck with everything and happy holidays

I understand your concern & keeping the honeymoon period as long as possible. When my daughter was diagnosed at 8, the advise I was given and stuck in my mind, was that when you stop your child from eating something they really want, they may start having food issues, which can be a major problem later, especially when the child becomes a teenager. I did take healthy foods to the movies, when she didn’t like any of the food at the movies.


Sorry to hear about his diagnosis. I was diagnosed in 2017. I would like to add to what they are advising as for carb limitations. I have been doing the same thing l and ended up in ketones is recently. Your son may lose weight and feel awful if he continues to be so restricted. I am eating more bread, etc. now and feel much better. Best wishes on this journey.

Oh boy, thank you. He has been losing weight and he was only 54 lbs to start. His BMI is under 16. He is always hungry now but was a picky eater before his diagnosis. Maybe I should have a discussion with his doctor again. She is aware of his weight loss but said she isn’t concerned. So aggravating.