Is popcorn a healthy snack? I say, “yes!” I eat gobs of popcorn as a snack. Instead of reaching for chips in the evening, I will fill up on popcorn while I watch the latest season of whatever I am binge-watching (at the time of this writing, it is Outer Banks on Netflix).
Eating popcorn as a snack has been a critical ingredient of my weight loss journey. But, I am careful how I prepare it (with zero salt and no butter) and measure out every cup.
Is Popcorn Healthy for You?
According to recent studies, the answer may be yes. Popcorn is a whole-grain food that is low in calories and high in fiber. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage. Additionally, popcorn is a complex carbohydrate, which means that it takes longer to digest than simple carbs like sugar and white flour. This slow digestion can help to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes in insulin. So, I can eat popcorn and not end up sleepy soon after, which is a win-win for me. Rather than filling up on a bag of Doritos, or a bowl of ice cream, I chose popcorn!
Cooking Popcorn in Microwave
I know cooking popcorn in the microwave is handy. But I am not a fan. If you are not careful, you can burn it to a crisp and smell up your entire house. And, if you do manage not to burn it, many kernels end up un-popped, which is a big waste of time and effort. I prefer popping my popcorn on a stove (just like my parents did in the 70s).
Microwave popcorn is not healthy because of the butter and salt. The microwave popcorn bags are also lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Some microwave popcorn also contains diacetyl, a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. Diacetyl has also been linked to respiratory illness in microwave popcorn factory workers. Moreover, microwave popcorn is high in saturated fat and sodium. A large bag of microwave popcorn can have as much as 8 grams of fat and 1,200 mg of sodium. That’s more fat and sodium than you should be eating in an entire day! So if you’re looking for a healthy snack, microwave popcorn is maybe not the way to go.
Cooking Popcorn on the Stove (far superior)
A fond memory I have of growing up is my mom making popcorn on the weekends. She would put it in a covered skillet on our gas stove and shake, shake, shake it until it was ready. I also make my popcorn on a stove. Instead of a skillet, I use my handy-dandy Whirley Pop. You can cook your popcorn in about 3 minutes, end up with no un-popped kernels and no burnt popcorn (thanks to the patented stirring system). And make it without all the chemicals and preservatives that come along with microwave popcorn. I have had my Whirley Pop for years. It is well-loved and used about every two or three days. I also tend to buy one for everyone I know. That’s how much I love it!
Flavor God Seasoning Makes Popcorn Pop!
So, what do I put on my popcorn if I don’t use salt? Well, I found this incredible topper that blows everything else I have ever tried out of the water. The company is Flavor God. The founders started the company to create seasonings with no chemicals and fillers and low sodium to boot.
I adore the Flavor God Buttery Cinnamon Roll and Pumpkin Pie toppers. Their fantastic ingredients include honey (sugar, honey), organic coconut flour, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, and cardamom. Not only does this make for delicious popcorn seasoning, but it’s also lovely with fruit bowls or pancakes, in protein shakes or smoothies. Where is Flavor God sold? Well, you can purchase these toppers for $6.99 on the Flavorgod.com website (which ships for free if you are buying over $50), or you can buy them on Amazon as one-offs.
Whirley Pop Instruction for Popcorn:
- 4 tbsp. (2 ounces or 1/4 cup) of Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn Kernels
- 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Flavor God topper
- Add oil and popcorn to Whirley Pop and close the lid
- Cook on medium heat while constantly spinning the handle
- Listen for the kernels to stop popping (usually around 3 minutes)
- Remove from heat and let cool
- Top with your favorite topper, and enjoy!
I usually eat about 4 cups, which equals 84 calories, 4g fat, 4g fiber, 32g carbs, and zero sodium.
And that’s a wrap! Now that you know how healthy and easy it is to make stovetop popcorn, there’s no excuse not to fire up the stove, and start popping! And if you want to take your popcorn game up a notch, I suggest getting yourself a Whirley Pop and some flavor toppers from Flavor God. Your taste buds will thank you. So what are you waiting for? Get to poppin’! I guarantee you’ll be munching on this healthy snack all day long.
Do you have any fantastic toppers for popcorn to share? If so, you can message us on Facebook or hit us up in the comment section below!