Popcorn, Get Your Popcorn Here!

Photo by Zanastardust via Flickr

Fall weather is here and the nights are getting colder. It’s a perfect time to curl up on the couch, watch a movie from Netflix or Blockbuster and munch on some popcorn. The good news is that, if you are trying to be healthy, popcorn can be a fairly healthy snack choice when done right.

Not all popcorn is created equal
Popcorn is a far healthier snack than candy bars, sodas or chips. However, not all popcorn is healthy.  Before you toss that bag of popcorn in the microwave, you have to know something. Microwave popcorn is bad. According to WebMD, the chemical diacetyl in the food flavoring fumes from microwavable popcorn has been linked to lung disease. So, whatever you do, don’t open that bag and take a deep breath.  Also, the chemicals that coat the popcorn bag to keep it from getting soggy, break down when heated into a substance called Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which might cause cancer. Work has been done to remove some of the unhealthy chemicals from the microwave popcorn, but it’s still packed with salt and empty calories. So, microwaveable popcorn is not the healthiest option for you. However, you can have your popcorn. Just try preparing it a little differently.

How do you make healthy popcorn?
First off, get yourself an air popper. That’s the healthiest way you can pop popcorn. Then buy yourself some plain, unpopped popcorn. Now you have your chance to shine. You could drown that popcorn in butter or margarine, but we both know that would kill the healthy diet you’ve been working on. So, let’s try something different. The healthiest thing to do would be to eat the popcorn plain. I know, that’s a little dry for some people, but it is a valid and healthy option and some people enjoy it.

What can you put on your popcorn?

If you don’t want to eat your popcorn plain, you don’t have to. Let’s explore some popcorn topping options.

  • Seasoning: Use some type of seasoning you like, maybe a spicy chili powder seasoning or paprika, if you like spicy foods.
  • Cheese: Try a little finely grated Parmesan cheese. Parmesan can be a good topping, just don’t put on so much that you’re making up for the fact that you ditched the pound of butter.
  • Olive oil: Use a little olive oil. It has healthier fats than butter, but don’t use too much. You don’t want to turn your healthy popcorn into a high calorie snack.
  • Wet topping: Try tossing your popcorn with some other wet topping while it is hot. Maybe a little honey or maple syrup. Don’t use too much though. A little will go a long way.

Finally, if none of those work for you, get experimental.  The important thing here is to be inventive and find something you like while being healthy. You might even find a healthier topping than what you currently use, which is even tastier. I’ve found a couple toppings that I like, but the important thing is to find something that suits your taste buds and goes with whatever drink you’ll be enjoying. Don’t worry, I know you picked a healthy drink to go with that popcorn.

Comments (6)

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  1. M says:

    Ugh! We love our microwave popcorn with a Netflix movie….must reconsider.

  2. Great post Talli!

    My husband and I love our movies and we have an air popper for making pop corn. We also use organic corn kernels and they are SO full of flavour, no other spices are required.

    Another reason to go organic.

    Thanks for sharing such important information.

  3. Tim Stringer says:

    My wife and I have an air popper and far prefer this to microwave popcorn. We top it with ghee (refined butter) as an alternative to butter. The nice thing about ghee is it doesn’t get toxic when heated the way other oils do.

  4. william says:

    Popcorn is the healthiest snack going, low in calories when air-popped and so easy to prepare since I got a Presto microwave popper. We just use salt, for no additional oils or fat.

  5. Kelly says:

    In the section on ,olive oil, someone wrote ,then, instead of ,than, . Yes its important, it hurts my eye. Great site though, I,ve almost tried every idea so far, thanks

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