It might be easy to associate popcorn with that served in cinemas laden with unhealthy fats, salt and sugar. But, surprisingly, popcorn can be one of the most healthiest, and popular, snacks you can reach for. It’s all in how you prepare it.
Is Popcorn Healthy For You?
Depending on how you prepare your popcorn it can turn out as either one of the least nutritious snacks or become one of the healthiest1. Popcorn is actually a wholegrain food that can be high in fibre and antioxidants and is even recommended as a low-carb and low-sodium food option (unsalted of course)2. It only becomes unhealthy when you add oil or butter.
Popcorn itself is simply a type of corn that when exposed to heat, causes the kernel to explode and essentially ‘pop’3. Popcorn has become increasingly popular due to the low costs in producing and purchasing it.
Alternative Ways To Make Popcorn
If you’re looking to keep your popcorn as a tasty treat but without the overload of calories, try the following tips for a healthier version that still packs a flavorsome punch.
Pop On The Stove
It might seem counter-intuitive to use a stove top to make your popcorn as you will need to use oil. However, by choosing your oil wisely, using this method adds a healthy dose of fat to control hunger cravings and all within 10 minutes4.
Choose Your Oil Wisely
Don’t worry about using oil, especially when popping on the stove. Choose your oil based on whether they contain healthy fats as these are great for providing energy and your overall health5. Avocado and extra virgin olive oil are the best options as they are loaded with monosaturated fats. Coconut oil is a good alternative but use sparingly due to its high saturated fat content.
Avoid Butter & Sweeteners
Although very popular, adding butter to your popcorn can have a huge increase in the number of calories you’ll be consuming. A normal butter topping can add around an extra 102 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat to a three-cup serving6.
Similar to sweeteners or artificial flavourings, these toppings make popcorn less healthy and more often than not will contain chemicals. The best way to avoid these is to purchase corn kernels (ready to be popped) or popcorn in its most basic form.
Add Healthier Toppings
It’s not all doom and gloom. You can keep your popcorn fresh and tasty by adding fun, healthy toppings. Spices and seasoning can give popcorn a kick. A great alternative to your normal popcorn is a sweet and spicy topping using chilli powder and cinnamon and layering the top with a healthy sweet option like honey or agave syrup7.
You can also add a hit of protein to the pot by mixing your popcorn with peanut butter or a healthy cheese for a savoury twist.
For more quick and easy treats, check out our free from sweet snacks range.
Last updated: 29 April 2020