If you turned on the news at some point in the last day or so you might have caught a piece on how popcorn is now considered a perfect healthy snack…IF you are eating the right kind of popcorn and making it the right way!
Popcorn CAN BE a healthy snack, BUT it depends on how it is made!
Any popcorn just won’t do – let’s take movie theater popcorn and microwave popcorn for example – they definitely DO NOT fall into the healthy popcorn category!
Movie theater popcorn is not only worth almost an entire days worth of calories (a medium sized popcorn weighs in at about 1200 calories), it is packed with saturated fat and whopping amounts of sodium. And with corn being one of the top genetically modified crops, you can almost guarantee that your movie theater popcorn is genetically modified, as is the canola oil being used to pop it, sprayed with numerous pesticides, and the “butter” – well that is just a “butter flavored” oil. This all sounds delicious doesn’t it!
Microwave popcorn unfortunately is no better. There has been lots of controversy surrounding the toxicity of the chemicals it leaches into the air, our homes and our lungs. A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in the microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The EPA has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen”. Another study found that there is an acid that can be extracted from the chemical, which causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans”. And yet another potential danger is microwave popcorn is diacetyl, an FDA-approved chemical found in the fake butter flavoring (also in the movie theater popcorn).
Popcorn is a 100% whole grain that provides a good amount of dietary fiber and the mineral phosphorus. Read more about the nutrition of popcorn
So, how do we enjoy this amazing snack safely and healthfully?
1. Pop your own – make it fresh, it’s super easy to do!
2. Choose organic popcorn kernels. Non-organic popcorn is on the FDA’s list of top ten foods for toxic pesticides and chemicals.
3. Use a healthy oil like unrefined, organic extra virgin olive oil or an unrefined, organic coconut oil.
4. Add fresh herbs, healthy seasonings, etc.
In a large heavy bottom pot with a lid, heat about 3-4 tablespoons of oil over medium to high heat.
Place 3 kernels into the pot and when they begin to pop add in one cup of kernels. Cover the pot, leaving it cracked open slightly to allow steam to escape from the pot.
When the corn begins to pop, shake the pot every minute or so until the popping stops.
Pour into a large bowl and season.
A few of our favorite add-ins:
Sea Salt & Pepper
Nutritional Yeast (gives it a nice cheesy flavor)
Sea Vegetable Seasoning
Herbs (fresh or dried) like Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, etc.
Melted Dark Chocolate (drizzled on top, sprinkled with sea salt)
Experiment with your own! We’d love to hear your creations – post them on ourFacebook page!
ABC News: Popcorn Packs Antioxidants, Study Finds