Your first thought that comes to mind when you think about popcorn may be the buttery, salty kind at the movie theater. While this is undeniably delicious, it should only be an occasional indulgence because of its ingredients and nutrient profile. The good news is popcorn is versatile and can take on many flavor profiles, so it doesn’t need loads of butter and salt to be delicious. Sweet, salty, or freshly air-popped, popcorn has the satisfying crunch of a chip but packs way more beneficial nutrients. Read on to learn more about why popcorn has a place in your snack rotation.
Popcorn has so many great features, including texture, nutrient composition, versatility, and low-calorie density. Compared to other popular carb-dense snacks, popcorn is very high in fiber. This nutrient aids in digestive regularity, can help lower blood cholesterol levels, and increases satiety after eating. In fact, a 100-calorie portion of air-popped popcorn, about 3 cups, contains 4 grams of fiber. Popcorn is also naturally gluten free, contains about 3 grams of protein per 3 cups popped, and houses other important nutrients, like magnesium and phosphorus. Because popcorn is relatively low in calories, you can eat a larger portion without calories and carb adding up quickly, compared to other starchy snacks, like crackers and chips.
Now that you know how nutrient-packed popcorn is, let’s talk about all the ways you can enjoy this snack! Popcorn kernels truly have endless possibilities, and your flavor preference can really lead the way to which ingredients you use. While a savory popcorn snack during a movie may sound delicious some days, other times you may want something a little sweeter. Popcorn offers both of these flavor profiles!
Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare popcorn kernels while keeping healthy ingredients in mind:
This only begins to describe some of the ways you can enjoy popcorn. Your imagination is the limit! And, to keep it extra simple for an easy snack out the door, simply air-pop your kernels and combine with raisins and nuts for a nutrient-packed trail mix.
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