Category Archives: popcorn

Celebrate National Popcorn Day

I am a big fan of popcorn. It is a great snack that can be prepared in a healthy way. I avoid microwave popcorn like the plague.

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I recommend buying regular popcorn and popping it in coconut oil with a simple salt flavoring. There are a number of flavored salts available which I don’t use, but aren’t harmful to you like what you get from a microwave.

Wikipedia says, “Corn was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in what is now Mexico.[3]Archaeologists discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years. In Mexico, for example, remnants of popcorn have been found that date to around 3600 BC.[4] Continue reading

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How Healthy is Popcorn?

Everybody likes to snack at some time or another. So, how healthy is that perennial snack – popcorn?

As a kid growing up in the 1950’s I fell in love with the taste of popcorn at the movies and that’s the way I eat it now – nearly every night.6a00d83451be3669e2011279443eee28a4-800wi

The Popcorn Board offers the following nutritional information:

“It’s hard to believe a snack food that tastes so good can actually be good for you! With suggestions from organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.), there’s no doubt popcorn is a perfectly sensible snack to fit into any meal/fitness plan.

• Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup.
• When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 133 calories per cup.
• Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food.
• Popcorn provides energy-producing complex carbohydrates
• Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.
• Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories.
• Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free.
• Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil the appetite.
• 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group.
• Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn’t spoil an appetite.”

ScienceDaily reported Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a pioneer in analyzing healthful components in chocolate, nuts and other common foods, explained that the healthful antioxidant substances called polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn, which averages only about 4 percent water, while polyphenols are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.

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How to Find a Healthy Snack

Choose popcorn over potato chips for a heart-healthy snack, says WebMD.

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As you can see from the illustration there are about a third of the calories in popcorn as potato chips, more fiber and significantly less fat. And that assumes you are eating only one serving of each. I remember the old potato chip ad, “You can’t eat just one.” A serving of potato chips comes out to about 10 chips. That’s not a lot and likely not satisfying. If it leads you back to the bag for more chips, that’s like doubling down on a bad bet.

You can eat a lot more popcorn than potato chips and not be doing your body any harm with extra calories or fats.

Also, with popcorn, make sure you pop it fresh. Be very wary of microwave brands. They often have lots of fats and calories inside that you don’t need. When I have popcorn, I make it fresh and splash a little soy sauce on it which eliminates the fats completely.

Ice cream can be a killer with its fats and sugar calories. WebMD has some good suggestions, here, too. They suggest sorbets, sherbets, light ice creams or frozen yogurts for a fraction of the fats and calories. As you can see from the illustration you are way ahead (weigh ahead?) with any of them.

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As with potato chips single serving size for ice cream is ONE HALF CUP. I have never seen anyone serve themselves that small of a portion. So, again you run the risk of doubling down on a loser in terms of calories, fat and your general health. Choose wisely.

For more on this important topic, check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Buon appetito!

Tony

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What About Eating Movie Popcorn?

I grew up going to the movies. Every Saturday we would go catch the Western double feature along with cartoons. My mom gave me money for admission and a box of popcorn. So movie watching has always been a munching experience for me.

I live in downtown Chicago. There is a wonderful AMC Theater about a mile from my door. That Multiplex is usually my go to theater. With a choice of 10 screens I almost can’t go wrong. The only fly in the ointment is the popcorn. I am always sorely tempted to buy one of their tubs to munch on while watching. Unfortunately, AMC  popcorn can turn any movie into a horror flick.

A large AMC popcorn has 1030 calories, 443 mg of Sodium, 31 grams of total fat with 27 grams of saturated fat. The only good news is 13 grams of protein but at an awful nutritional price.


A look at the breakdown yields the following. The 1030 calories amount to half of my calorie budget for the day. The 443 mg of Sodium are about a quarter of my salt allotment. Lastly, 27 grams of saturated fat are 6 grams higher than the total amount suggested as a maximum for the entire day. The only reservation I have on this is it might be that the saturated fat comes from coconut oil which is wonderfully healthy for the body. Check out my write up Why you should include coconut oil in your diet.

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