Popcorn seems to be one of those amazing, unique foods that is yummy, healthy for you and inexpensive! I’ve been a popcorn lover my whole life. It’s light, crunchy and just plain fun to eat. As a matter of fact, it was a staple food for my girlfriends and I in college. I think we popped enough popcorn in our sorority house to fill a large warehouse. In fact, every evening there was a wafting smell of popcorn going down the hallways and as far as poor eating habits in college go, popcorn wasn’t such a bad choice since it’s actually one of the best healthy snacks out there! But let’s qualify that… I’m not talking microwave popcorn that is full of chemicals and something weird smelling on the inside of the bag. And I’m not talking about movie theater popcorn with butter that will run you around 1,220 calories for the big tub covered in liquid trans-fat butter and salt.
I’m talking about the good old-fashioned, make-it-yourself, stove-popped (or air-popped!) popcorn. So, why is is it such a good snack?
1) Popcorn Is A Healthy Whole Grain
Popcorn is one of the few snacks that is naturally 100% whole grain and therefore, a high-quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories but a good source of fiber, too! Three cups of popcorn counts as 1 ounce equivalent whole grains.
Related: 55 Healthy And Easy Snacks
2) Popcorn Is Packed With Polyphenols
This simple snack is actually loaded with more polyphenols than vegetables and fruit. A polyphenol is a type of antioxidant found in plant foods associated with helping to prevent cancer and neutralizing free radicals that cause damage to our cells. Just one popcorn serving has 13% of our daily polyphenols requirements!
3) Popcorn Is A Great Cure For The Munchies
When I get the munchies, I crave salty and crunchy food in high quantities (one handful just won’t do!). Popcorn is one of the healthiest solutions to this conundrum. If you used my recipe below, you could eat six cups for only 200 calories. Now compare that to the 822 calories in six cups of potato chips. I’m sticking with the kernels!
I use 2/3 cup organic kernels and 2 tablespoons of a quality oil (I like coconut oil or olive oil) and it makes six quarts of yummy popcorn. That’s only 100 calories for three cups! And you really don’t need butter since the oil makes it taste great and holds the salt. I like my popcorn with a little kick; I add just a bit of chili powder, cumin and paprika. My kids love kettle corn (both recipes are in my Choose This Cookbook) and my husband likes the basic, just salt.
Another idea is to add other healthful ingredients to popcorn and you can make your own delicious, quick and easy snack mix. Check out the benefits of the following mix-ins:
- 2 tablespoons whole almonds adds protein, iron and fiber
- 1 /3 cup chopped dried fruit adds iron and fiber
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese adds protein and calcium
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds adds protein and fiber
And while I love my stove-popped popcorn, it’s not always the most convenient option during a busy day or for on-the-go. So I’ve become a huge lover Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP! Why am I in love with BOOMCHICKAPOP? Let me count the ways.
First, it’s a down-home Minnesota company started by a nurse and teacher trying to raise college funds for their children. Second, it has the cutest name. Who doesn’t want to get a bag of BOOMCHICKAPOP?! Third, only wholesome good ingredients go into that cute bag. I love reading the label of a popcorn bag; the sea salt flavor says: Popcorn, Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt. Now, that’s easy to understand…no preservatives, chemicals, artificial colors, trans fat or sugars and it’s non-GMO. And lastly, they have lots of fun flavors that are all low-cal. Angie’s Sea Salt popcorn (my fav!) is only 35 calories per cup. Oh, and don’t forget the White Cheddar…it’s just divine!!
We go through a few bags of Angie’s in our office a week. And my family snacks on it at home too. My boys have an affinity for kettle corn, so I often toss a bag in my grocery cart. And my latest excitement, I found snack size bags at my grocery store. So if you run into me at the airport, peek in my briefcase and you’ll see the yellow BOOMCHICKAPOP bag inside! I love to travel with popcorn just in case I’m stuck somewhere without healthy snack options. It packs easy and goes through TSA!
Bottom line, I’m a popcorn addict and as far as addictions go, it’s not a bad one to have!
What’s your favorite way to make popcorn? Any fun mix-ins?! Share below!