As I watch the
snow accumulating outside my window, I’m wondering if Mr.
Groundhog really believes we will have an early spring this
year. No matter. We can still celebrate National Nutrition
Month — brought to us by the world’s largest organization
of nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and
This month of
please-God-send-spring-soon, I’ll tackle your questions.
Here’s a few to get us started:
Q: I need to
consult with a nutritionist. What credentials should I look
A: Look for
“RD” or “RDN” which are credentials for Registered
Dietitian or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Both these
designations are the same; “Nutritionist” was added a few
years ago to denote that we don’t just put people on diets.
Many states also require nutrition professionals to be
Q: I try to eat
healthfully and I love kettle corn. Which is better, microwave
or homemade? How can the microwave kind list no sugars when it
has sucralose? I recently received a whirlypop type popper but
haven’t tried it because I feel the sugar will burn. Do you
have a recipe I could try?
A: First, a
disclaimer. You sent your letter to a serious popcorn addict.
That said, whether microwave or homemade kettle corn is better
(nutritionally) depends on which brand or which recipe you
use. There are lots of choices on both fronts.
the Popcorn Board (popcorn.org), 2 tablespoons of kernels
makes about 4 cups of popped goodness. When comparing products
and recipes, make sure you are comparing similar serving
Kettle corn, by
definition, is sweet and salty, so check out sugar and salt
content. A product made with sucralose can be labeled “Added
Sugars: 0” because sucralose is a no-calorie sugar
substitute. Sodium in popcorn products can vary widely so
check the label … or make your own so you can control how
much to add.
want popcorn with as little saturated fat as possible. If
you’re cooking it yourself, canola oil is one good choice
since it is low in saturated fat and has a high enough smoke
point not to burn at higher temperatures.
recipe for homemade kettle corn you might try: 1/3 cup popcorn
kernels, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1
tablespoon sugar. This makes about 10 cups of popcorn so the
added salt and sugar per 4-cup serving is reasonable. Keep
whirling and it might even work in your WhirleyPop!
Q: Where can I
find a nutritional professional where I live?
A: One place to
start is your local hospital or outpatient medical clinic.
Many nutrition professionals are also in private practice. Or
check out (www.eatright.org/find-an-expert) to find a
registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.