share. The Brookshire's Blog

Healthy Living: Healthier popcorn

Popcorn got a bad rap, nutritionally speaking, back in the ’90s, when a health group released a report that condemned it for being a fatty, salty, nutritional disaster.

But, really, they were just talking about movie popcorn, which is popped in oil and often drenched in butter flavoring. On its own, popcorn can actually be a  healthy snack, and a good alternative to other salty snacks like chips!

Seriously, it is. Without the extra salt and fat, popcorn is a whole grain that is low in calories (less than  30 calories per popped cup) and high in fiber (about 1 gram per cup.) Alone, it doesn’t contain sugar, salt, or fat.

Of course, that changes if you pop it in a lot of oil, add a ton of butter, or turn it into kettle corn, with both salt and sugar. But there are ways to enjoy your popcorn and maintain a healthy diet, too:

  • Go old school: Invest in an airpopper, and you cut the fat and calories to almost nothing. (Choose some of the add-ins below to give it more flavor.) Or, you can use an old-fashioned popper that uses oil, but just cut way back on the oil. A quarter cup of popcorn kernels, which will produce at least 8 cups of popped corn, will pop in a tablespoon of oil, or less, in a regular popper. That tablespoon of oil will add about 120 calories. Don’t have a popper? You can make popcorn in a heavy-bottomed, covered skillet on the stovetop.  Shake it occasionally while the corn is popping, to get more kernels to pop.
  • Easy, cheesy: Sprinkle air-popped or lowfat popcorn with parmesan cheese or another hard grated cheese, like Mexican cotija, for a burst of flavor without too much extra fat.
  • Spice it up: Instead of just plain salt, sprinkle popped corn with a bit of your favorite herbs, like powdered garlic, onion salt or garlic salt, chile powder or crushed red pepper. To get the spices to stick better to air-popped corn, you can mist with a tiny bit of water or a butter-flavor spray.
  • Practice portion control. Three cups of air-popped popcorn – a decent-size serving –  is just about 100 calories. Add a tiny bit of butter and your favorite flavorings, and you’re still looking at a satisfying, 150-calorie snack. If you eat microwave popcorn, look for “lite” versions, which can contain half as much fat as other varieties, and either buy individual-size bags, or make sure you find someone to share the bag!
  • Popcorn trail mix: Skip butter or oil, and add a sprinkle of good-for-you snacks to your bowl of popcorn, like dried cherries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds or chopped dates.
| Permalink | Print
Posted in: Healthy Living

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

Mi Blog Hispano

De Todo un Poco