Believe it or not, popcorn can be a healthy snack; corn kernels are considered a whole grain, and its nutritional benefits are similar to a serving of brown rice or whole wheat. It's the additives like sugar, oil, butter, and salt that stir up caloric trouble. Air popped popcorn has only 31 calories per one cup serving. Loaded with fiber, popcorn will aid digestion, make you feel fuller longer, and balance your blood sugar levels. Popcorn also has high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps the body protect itself from free radicals. The B-complex vitamins found in popcorn provide an energy boost too. It's so easy to make homemade popcorn, either by microwave or stove top, so there's no excuse to opt for the pre seasoned bags. So you can indulge in a guilt-free snack that's still loaded with flavor, we've provided some healthy topping alternatives after the break.
Healthy Alternatives Toppings
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: This oil contains lauric acid, which helps you metabolize other kinds of fats and helps the body fight viruses and bacteria. Like butter, it's sweet and salty, but it's cholesterol free. Try cooking one tablespoon of popcorn in two-teaspoons coconut oil.
- Himalayan Salt: Instead of topping popcorn with refined salt, try these pink crystals which contains all 84 elements found in the body. Keep this pure salt in a pepper crusher and grind on top of the popcorn to taste.
- "Kettle" Corn: Rapunzel Organic Whole Cane Sugar is an unrefined, unbleached, sun-dried sugar, which retains most of the minerals and vitamins of the sugar cane. Using the stove top cooking method, heat oil, add one to two teaspoons sugar per one tablespoon of popcorn, let sugar melt, then toss in kernels. Shake the pot while popping, so the caramelized sugar can coat each kernel.
- Indian Flair: Popcorn tastes great with crushed coriander and a pinch of cayenne. Using spices eliminates the need for salt.
- Cheezy: Nutritional yeast tastes cheesy, is full of B-vitamins and essential amino acids, and is naturally salty. To make a "Mexican" twist, add crushed cumin and a pinch of cayenne.