Popcorn: A Healthy Snack You May Not Be Eating

Happy National Popcorn Day!

In honor of today, we wanted to pay homage to this healthy snack! Yes, we said healthy. One cup of plain popcorn only has about 30 calories and is a whole grain that helps you to feel more full and satisfy unhealthy cravings.

Now please don’t run out and buy up a lifetime supply of movie theatre popcorn! Unfortunately, that is not a healthy snack! When you buy popcorns that are already buttered and flavored, the calorie count can sky rocket, and you end up with high amounts of fat and sodium, which is very unhealthy. Rather, buy a bag of kernels that you can pop on your own at home and flavor yourself! Just simply pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a tablespoon of olive oil, and then drizzle another tablespoon or two of olive oil on afterward, and you have a great treat! Or, you can drizzle a tablespoon of coconut oil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt for a simple snack.

However, if you want to get creative, here are some of our favorite popcorn topping combinations:

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Cheesed up Popcorn

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 cup kernels
-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot (can also use a microwave safe bag and cook on high for about 1:30-2 minutes, or until kernels stop popping), pour in kernels, and cover with a lid. Shake and stir the pot around a bit as the kernels start to pop. Once there are 3 seconds in between pops, remove from heat. Toss with nutritional yeast and salt, and serve!

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Coconut Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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This one is our favorite!

Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 cup kernels
-1 -2 teaspoons curry powder (start with 1 and add according to taste preference)
-1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
-Pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 of a teaspoon)

Directions:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot (can also use a microwave safe bag and cook on high for about 1:30-2 minutes, or until kernels stop popping), pour in kernels, and cover with a lid. Shake and stir the pot around a bit as the kernels start to pop. Once there are 3 seconds in between pops, remove from heat. Toss with curry powder, coconut oil, shredded coconut flakes, and salt.

We highly recommend that you give the curry a try, but if you are not a fan, you can omit it all-together for a coconut flavored popcorn!

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Chocolate Cinnamon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 cup kernels
-1 tablespoon cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-Pinch of cayenne pepper powder (can always add more, but start with very little as this can add quite a kick)

Directions:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot (can also use a microwave safe bag and cook on high for about 1:30-2 minutes, or until kernels stop popping), pour in kernels, and cover with a lid. Shake and stir the pot around a bit as the kernels start to pop. Once there are 3 seconds in between pops, remove from heat. Toss with cocoa powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and cayenne. Enjoy!

Don’t like or have cocoa powder? You can melt a couple tablespoons of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) and drizzle it over the popcorn!

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Nacho Kick

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 cup kernels
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot (can also use a microwave safe bag and cook on high for about 1:30-2 minutes, or until kernels stop popping), pour in kernels, and cover with a lid. Shake and stir the pot around a bit as the kernels start to pop. Once there are 3 seconds in between pops, remove from heat. Toss with remaining olive oil, nutritional yeast, and spices. Depending on your taste preference, you can always add more paprika, cayenne, etc., to give a little extra kick!

As you can see, you can really get creative and have fun with the spices in your cabinet. What are some of the flavors that you like?

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Happy Popping!

Helpful tip: When buying popcorn kernels, you may see an option for white or yellow kernels. Both are perfectly fine! White kernels do have a slightly higher calorie count (about 50 calories per cup), but it ultimately comes down to your taste preference.