like we are always looking for a healthy, low-calorie snack.
Popcorn is one of the healthiest munchies for any season of
the year and has gained popularity for its ease of
preparation. Thoughtful preparation of popcorn can prevent
excess calories, yet satisfy the appetite.
was first discovered thousands of years ago in Central and
South America. The English who came to America in the 1500s
learned about popcorn from the Native Americans. Today, the
Midwest is known as the Popcorn Capital of the World, as most
of the corn for popping is grown in Nebraska and Indiana.
Popcorn is the official state snack food of Illinois.
is able to pop because its kernels have a hard hull and a
starchy interior. When heated, the pressure builds inside the
kernel and it explodes out of the hull, leaving a light
exterior that tastes delicious when eaten. Researchers from
the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania found the hull of the
popcorn to contain polyphenols, antioxidant substances related
to reduction of heart disease. It is not clear if we gain
benefits from the polyphenols in popcorn, as they are
contained in the hull, which is insoluble fiber and not
digested. There is a possibility the polyphenols pass through
us unabsorbed. However, it is encouraging to know that popcorn
is a whole-grain food and a good source of fiber.
add to the popcorn makes it healthy or not so healthy. Many
recipes can be found full of sugar and butter. Nutrition of
popcorn is shown here comparing 3 cups of popcorn without
anything added and 3 cups of theater popcorn. It’s clear how
quickly the buttery topping adds calories:
Nutrition for 3 cups of air-popped popcorn is 90 calories and
less than 1 gram of fat.
Nutrition for 3 cups of theater popcorn is 185 calories and 10
grams of saturated fat. One tablespoon of buttery topping adds
2 grams of saturated fat.
are ways you can add flavoring to popcorn and avoid extra fat.
For a nutty flavor, try adding nutritional yeast. For a sweet
flavor, try cinnamon. For added spice flavor, try cayenne
pepper or red pepper flakes. You may consider adding herbs
like oregano or basil.
are some tasty recipes. More on popcorn can be found at
BAG POPCORN RECIPE
3 cups popped popcorn
tablespoons popcorn seeds
the bag tightly. Lay it in the microwave and set for two
minutes on high (cooking time may vary based on microwave).
Listen for popping, and once popping slows to five seconds
between pops, it should be done. Pour popcorn into a bowl and
spray with extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat all popcorn.
Season with salt.
information per 1 cup: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 100 mg sodium, 6
g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 2 g fiber
4 cups popped popcorn
hot, air-popped popcorn
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
popcorn in microwave. Toss popcorn with Parmesan and cayenne.
information per 1 cup: 75 calories, 3 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 1 g fiber