A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Forget the "Snap" and "Crackle"....Pop this for a Healthy Snack

Depending on what you choose, snacking can seriously sabotage any diet if you aren't careful.  One problem is that most snacks are found in a package/box meaning some level of processing has occurred.  Fresh cut veggies like broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, etc. are great alternatives to lesser boxed snack foods; but these are not always available when you want something fast.

Leave that bag of chips on shelf and try popping whole grain corn kernels with an air popper or in a microwaveable bowl for a quick snack.  I have this microwave bowl and it works perfectly; just pour some kernels in the bowl, cover, and microwave until the popping slows between 2 to 3 seconds apart.

If you must top your pop corn, do so sparingly as this where most of the unhealthy things come in.  Instead of salt, try garlic powder, cumin, sweet paprika, or another spice you might like; herbs like dill work really well too.  At just an average of 31 calories of whole grain, unprocessed snacking, pop corn is a much better choice over many other boxed snacks.  Plus, it's hard to beat the fresh popped corn warm and ready to eat within minutes.  It's also easy on your budget; 2 tablespoons of unpopped kernels will yield 1 quart (4 cups) of popped goodness.

If the naturally good taste and wholesomeness of popcorn isn't enough, here are some fun facts on popcorns many good qualities*:

-Popcorn is a whole grain that contains 40 or more nutrients.

-The germ in the popcorn kernel contains all of the B complex vitamins, plus vitamin E, Riboflavin and Thiamine.

-Popcorn has more protein than any other cereal grain

-Popcorn has more iron than eggs, peanuts, spinach, or roast beef!

-The hull and outer layers are rich in iron, phosphorous and protein.

-Popcorn is a calorie counter's delight! Unbuttered popcorn only has between 25 and 55 calories per cup.

-Pocorn aids digestion by providing necessary roughage, also known as fiber.

*Article presented by www.standardconcessionsupply.com Variety of popcorn machines and popcorn supplies for home and business use. Popcorn gift items that make great gifts for birthdays, special occasions, and the Holidays.

Although this method uses oil and a stovetop to make, Alton Brown's Perfect Popcorn recipe makes for a very tasty version of this staple.  Mr. Brown mentioned eating popcorn as a breakfast cereal, and as a huge fan of cereal (really anything I can eat with milk/yogurt and a spoon) I enjoy having this as a nighttime treat with cold milk and blueberries.  Be ready to add more after pouring your milk, the fluffy corn will instantly reduce its size upon contact with any liquid.  Give it a try with a little honey and berries....you might have a new favorite for breakfast or any time you want!

Check out www.popcorn.org for cool tips, recipes, and fun activities for kids.


  1. I'm glad to know that something I like can be good for me! It's about time. Gone are the sugary sweet snacks, but occasionally I want something. It's popcorn for me! (Or fresh fruit.) thanks RC for the info.

  2. Always happy to help! Good choices, popcorn and fruit sound good...at the same time!!