Tag 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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5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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9 Rules Of Smart Snacking

Our Better Health

BY JEANETTE BRONÉE     JULY 28, 2014

As a health and nutrition consultant, two big questions I’m always asked are: When should I snack? and What should I snack on? Snacking often ends up being more like erratic eating so here are some tips to help you snack smartly:

1. Snack when your hunger is real.

When there is too much time between meals, you might need a bite to hold you over. The stomach takes three to four hours to empty, so if your next meal is five hours away, eat a little. If you under-eat or wait too long, watch out for over-snacking. You don’t want a snack to turn into brunch or dinner.

2. Snack when your blood sugar is low.

How can you tell? If your meals are high in starch or sugar, you might get low blood sugar shortly after eating, a swing that…

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What are Some Super Snacks Under 100 Calories?

One of the secrets of super snacks under 100 calories is portion size. If you control the amount you are snacking on, you can enjoy just about anything. Moderation is key.

A great example of a super snack under 100 calories is watermelon. This is one of my favorite snacks and I have some almost every day. One serving of watermelon, 5.4 ounces, or one cup, yields 46 calories, no fat or cholesterol, one gram of fiber and also protein. Check out How Healthy is Watermelon for more on this super snack.

watermelon-wedges

While snacking always keep portion control in mind. Don’t go nuts doing it. But wait, you can go nuts, just limit your quantities, Harvard offers the following: “Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small.”

WebMD offers a great example of this: “When the munchies strike while you’re on the go, there are few things more convenient than nuts. You can eat 14 almonds without hitting the 100-calorie mark. Plus, they’re rich in fiber and protein, which help keep hunger at bay.”

Personally, I am a big fan of popcorn and often have it evenings watching movies. You can have several cups of popcorn popped with coconut oil and remain under 100 calories. Snacking tip: Eat one kernel at a time and consciously enjoy it. Your snack will last longer and you will appreciate it more. I found this out when I had some dental work done last winter. I asked the dentist if I could eat popcorn. He laughed and said I could if I ate one kernel at a time. I have been doing it ever since.

Roasted seaweed from Costco is another winner. I wrote about these a year ago February.

Roasted seaweed is subtle and delicious. It comes in delicate little sheets. I think it melts in your mouth. Costco sells it in packages of 17 grams. Nutritional breakdown: 100 calories. There are 300 mg of sodium which may be off putting to some. I don’t have a lot of sodium in my diet so I don’t mind.

WebMD has a nice collection of snacks under 100 calories that you can explore here.

Their first suggestion is 1/2 cup of slow-churned ice cream. “Surprise! Ice cream tops our list of low-calorie snacks. The key is to look for slow-churned or double-churned varieties. This refers to a process that reduces fat and calories while retaining the creamy texture of full-fat varieties, so 1/2 cup has just 100 calories. As a bonus, you’ll get some protein and calcium.”

Full disclosure: I am an inveterate snacker, so I have to really police myself in order to maintain my healthy weight. If you want to read further on snacking, check out my Page: Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Tony

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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips #5 – At Home

Having covered holiday eating situations in which you are the guest, what about the one(s) in which you are the host(ess)?

Here are some suggestions from a presentation by Holly Herrington, MS RD, before Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®.

Experiment with Recipes

Don’t feel like you have to make all the traditional food with 100 per cent traditional recipes and ingredients.

Roast Turkey and Stuffing

Feel free to swap high calories ingredients out and put low calories ones in.  For example, you can use low-fat cheese, Greek yogurt vs sour cream, mustard vs mayo, applesauce vs oil, cinnamon vs sugar.

Most pumpkin pie recipes call for at least one cup of cream or evaporated whole milk and two eggs. Use evaporated skim milk and three egg whites to cut about 300 calories and 30 to 38 grams of fat from your pie.

Buy brown and serve bread rolls instead of the higher-fat crescent rolls to cut about 1100 extra calories and about 100 grams of fat per dozen.

Use light cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese in your dips, spreads and cheesecakes to cut about 16 grams of fat per cup of cream cheese.

Make a little less so the temptation is not so great to overeat.

Go easy on the gravy and opt for canned cranberry sauce on your turkey for a nutritious and fat-free option.

Replace the bread in your holiday stuffing with canned chestnuts, a nutritious and different alternative. To further lighten your stuffing and add valuable nutrients, mix in canned, chopped vegetables, too.

Serve meals in the kitchen instead of family-style on the table to avoid reaching for seconds out of convenience.

Put any leftovers in the freezer before sitting down ot eat so as not to be tempted for second helpings.

If you are baking for friends and family, spend a little extra time and money on individual packaging so you are less likely to dip into leftovers.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful to you in your holiday meal preparation. Please feel free to send in your own suggestions as well as substitutions.

You can read the entire Healthy Holiday eating series starting with Tips for Healthy holiday eating and scrolling backwards.

Happy and healthy holiday eating!

Tony

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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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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips #4 – At Work

So far I have confined myself to holiday dining with family and friends, but the holiday season contains another diabolical source of bad food – the workplace.

A little personal anecdote here: I worked for a philanthropic organization for my final 10 years before retiring. Holiday time was a very happy period as we were deluged with huge tins of various kinds of popcorn, carmelcorn, kettle corn, etc. We would receive ten pound chocolate bars which were left in the break room with a knife for cutting off a piece. I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that I weighed upwards of 180 pounds in those days compared with my low 150s now.

One of the reasons I no longer have a weight problem is the 180 degree change in my attitude toward food. I don’t think of food as a pleasure source in itself to be mindlessly consumed like I did as a child. I now think of food as a source of good health and fuel for my body and my activities. You can read further on Whether food is an end or a means in that blog post. I still enjoy the taste of food, but I don’t stop there.

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One way to look at office snacks is that those little Snickers Bars only amount to 100 calories. What’s the harm? The harm comes from eating a dozen of them for a total over 1000 calories, or more than half of your daily calorie budget of 2000 calories. As it takes 3500 calories to put a pound on your body weight, it wouldn’t take too many days of snacking like this to pack on some weight and waist.

Burning off the holiday treats

Burning off the holiday treats

Another way to look at it is: what do you need to do to burn off 1000 calories.
– One hour on the elliptical machine = 500 calories
– 60 minutes of lifting weights = 300 calories
– One hour of yard work, or stringing up holiday lights = 200 calories
– Or the equivalent of three hours of physical activity.

Maybe seeing the price you pay in physical activity to burn off a snack binge will help to put workplace holiday snacking into a clearer perspective for you.

Eat less; move more … and enjoy the holidays.

Tony

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How to Find a Healthy Snack

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

webmd_composite_photo_of_potato_chips_and_popcorn

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.

webmd_composite_photo_of_chocolate_ice_cream_and_sorbet

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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