You have probably read the title and thought I was crazy. I use to think of popcorn as junk food and it is if you get at the movie theatre. That being said, if you make it at home it can be a healthy snack. Even though you can buy 100 calorie popcorn bags at the grocery store your best bet it to make it from scratch at home. Skip the oils, butters, and who knows what else they put in those bags.
There are two easy and healthy ways I like to make popcorn at home.
Hot Air Popcorn Popper– These are inexpensive machines that pops the popcorn with just hot air. No oil! It is very easy and quick. Just measure out the kernels, pour into the machine, and watch your snack pop away.
microwave Now I know you read that and thought I must be going crazy. Yes, you can make popcorn in the microwave from kernels and not in a bag full of mystery ingredients. Take a plain brown bag, add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels, fold bag down twice, put in microwave on high for 3 minutes. You can buy a bag of bulk popcorn kernels and a pack 100 brown paper sacks for less than you pay for a case of popcorn bags (which equals about the same amount of popped popcorn).
Is popcorn healthy?
There have been some recent headlines talking about movie popcorn being as bad for you as 3 or 4 Big Macs. What they don’t tell you
Hot Air Popper
is that homemade popcorn is not anywhere close to a Big Mac; maybe the bun but not the whole thing. Popcorn is very high in fiber. Fiber is essential to help have a healthy digestive tract. Most people do not get nearly enough fiber a day, so why not eat more popcorn instead of take a yucky supplement.
Are you getting your whole grains? Popcorn is a whole grain and just incase you have not heard whole grains are healthy for you. Whole grains are have been proven to reduce your risk of heart problems. Whole grains are also full of bran and vitamins.
Popcorn is also low in calories. It varies depending on your source but the common thought is 3 cups of popped popcorn is right around 100 calories. When you make it just check the bag. Wondering why they bag as an option for calories of kernels themselves before you pop them? No, they do not want or expect you to eat raw kernels. It is easier for most people to measure out raw kernels then to measure popped popcorn. This is especially true if you try the brown bag recipe above at work.
Low Calorie Popcorn Seasoning
Now you probably want to know how to you can eat your flavorful popcorn without all the oil, butter, and salt. Below are some great recipes (some I have tried and some I have not) you can try. I would love to hear in the comments which ones you try or what you do at home with your popcorn. Most of these mixes can be kept in an air tight container for about 6 months. I like to make a few batches and keep them in the cabinet so I have choices when I make my popcorn. You can also try any of these of by themself: parmesan, garlic, cinnamon, onion powder, chilli powder, just about any powder.
- Cinnamon Chocolate – Mix 1 packet (4 serving) of dry chocolate pudding mix with 5 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- Parmesan Ranch- 1/4 cup shredded/grated parmesan and 1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix.
- Pizza – 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp of crushed Italian seasonings.
- Sweet Peanut butter Heat up a small amount of peanut butter and honey till runny and drizzle over popcorn.
- Taco – Taco seasoning and a pinch of chili powder.
- Cinnamon Sugar – Mix 1/4 cup of cinnamon and 3 tbsp of sugar.
- Spicy- Drizzle with a thin hot sauce.
- Maple – Warm up 1/4 cup of maple syrup till runny and drizzle over it. (Watch the brand you buy or it will be high in calories.)
- Lime and Chili- Mix lime juice and chili powder to taste. (this one cannot be stored
Note: Trying these mixes or others is better than using the premade mixes. Just take a look at the ingredients on those bottles and it will scare you.