My favorite whole food snack just got a HUGE PR boost from a study published last month by the University of Scranton. Researchers found that popcorn (the crunchy hull part) is rich in protective polyphenols, which can potentially reduce heart disease and certain cancers.
Also since popcorn is a whole grain that is naturally high in fiber, it's an ideal snack for blood sugar regulation (diabetics rejoice!).
Beware - we're not talking about movie popcorn, which is a far cry from popcorn's natural state. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a medium unbuttered tub at theaters has 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat (insanity!). Although lower in calories, most microwavable popcorn packs aren't much better either when it comes to seeking out a natural snack. Check out the photo below and see what I found after cutting open one of those bags! Not a pretty picture - do you really want to put that in your body?
My recommendation is to bypass the artery-clogging, overpriced, microwave-ready bags you find at local grocery stores, and instead try my super cheap and easy pop solution:
- 1. Put 1/4 cup natural popcorn kernels (organic preferred) in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold top over a few times.
- 2. Place in microwave, folded side up, for 2-3 minutes or until you hear 5 seconds between pops.
- 3. Lightly mist popcorn with oil (expeller-pressed canola or olive).
- 4. Control additional ingredients - add your own natural sweet or savory seasonings:
- cinnamon sugar
- nutritional yeast*
- parmesan cheese
- chili powder
- dash of salt or garlic salt
$1.23 per bag vs. $0.35 per bag (organic too!)
Ditch this tiny unhealthy portion of fried potato chips and enjoy this antioxidant, fiber-rich skinny snack instead.
4 cups = 120 calories vs. less than 1 ounce = 120 calories
*Nutritional yeast is available at most health food stores. Its cheesy flavor compliments popcorn well, and at just 20 calories per tablespoon, it offers up a hefty dose of energy-boosting B12.