Posted 2 years ago

March 10 – Happy National Popcorn Lovers Day

While I could have chosen March 6- National Oreo Cookie Day or March 14- National Potato Chip Day, I went the way of another of the United States favorite and dare I say healthier snacks – Popcorn!

Yes, you heard right, popcorn and healthy in the same sentence. Now I do have to say that not all popcorn is equal, you can definitely find plenty of unhealthy ways to indulge in this otherwise healthy snack- the movie theater, caramel corn, etc.  When air popped and even lightly seasoned popcorn is a healthy snack. To start, popcorn is a high fiber whole grain. The dietary guidelines recommend that at least half of grains you eat should be whole grains and popcorn fits right in. In fact, per serving popcorn has more fiber than whole wheat bread. High fiber whole grains have been linked to lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems. In addition to fiber, popcorn is a good source of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols that are linked to better circulation and digestive health.
Because popcorn is high in fiber it offers satiety, that coupled with the fact that it is low in calories and has a low glycemic index make it a food that may also be helpful when it comes to weight loss and weight management. Popcorn has been shown to make people feel fuller than when eating the same calorie amount from potato chips.

One cup of air popped popcorn has just 31 calories, 1 gram of protein and 1.2 grams of fiber. Three cups of air popped popcorn will provide less than 100 calories while still providing 3 grams of protein (the same amount you would get from an ounce of tofu) and 3.6 grams of fiber (more than you would get from eating a banana or an orange).

You can still add flavor to that piping hot bowl of popcorn without adding a bunch of fat and calories. Sprinkle these on top of freshly popped kernels while they are still hot. If you find your seasonings are not sticking, simply mist the popped kernels with water or cooking spray and then coat with your favorite flavor combination. These seasonings are low in calories and fat and provide a lot of flavor.

  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder or even shaved dark chocolate (the darker and higher percentage of cocoa the better)
  • Chili powder
  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Garlic powder
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Jerk seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Curry powder
  • Parmesan cheese-(just be aware 1 tablespoon has 26 calories, 2g fat)

Celebrate Popcorn Lovers Day guilt free, and add popcorn to your list of healthy and filling snacks.