Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Homemade popped popcorn
Photo Credit: Jenny

Check out or video to see how easy and fun it is to cook healthy popcorn on your stove!

Popcorn is one of those snacks that can be either very healthy or very unhealthy depending on what goes with it and how it was prepared. Popcorn with butter, especially microwaved popcorn, is often high in saturated fat and sodium. As a result, popcorn is typically labeled as junk food rather than a healthy snack.

Microwave popcorn became a health issue years ago when studies showed that diacetyl, which is one of the compounds responsible for giving butter (and especially artificial butter) its flavor, was believed to be responsible for the higher rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in workers exposed to this compound at microwave popcorn companies.[1] However, many companies have since removed this component from their recipes. Many companies offer low-fat products and small serving bags, but there are still healthier alternatives.

Fortunately, you can easily make your own popcorn at home without the additives and preservatives, and it’s delicious and fun!

By itself, homemade popcorn is low-calorie, high in fiber, and contains vitamins and minerals. Therefore, popcorn is quite the healthy snack. In fact, a study in 2012 showed that eating 27 grams of low-fat popcorn resulted in less hunger and more satisfaction compared to eating 28 grams of potato chips, even though the popcorn in the study contained fewer calories (100) compared to the potato chips (150).[2]

So if you’re looking to lose weight and want to curb those munchies, make a bit of homemade popcorn, you’ll consume fewer calories and feel fuller than you would eating chips.

Jenny’s Homemade Popcorn Recipe
I love popcorn and it’s perfect for a little salty, healthy snack. To make perfect popcorn with a stove, you need to coat the bottom of a pan with some canola, peanut or olive oil. I prefer to use canola oil. There really is no wrong or right way to do this. Add enough popcorn to cover the bottom. Turn the heat to medium and cover the pan with a lid. Move the pan back and forth until all of the popcorn has been popped. Salt to taste. A cup of popped popcorn is about 40-50 calories. Feel free to add a light chocolate sauce or butter, but remember that adds calories and makes popcorn more unhealthy. 

[1] Halldin et al. PLoS One. 2013; 8 (2): e57935.
[2] Nguyen et al. Nutr J. 2012; 14; 11:71.

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