Popcorn was once considered a breakfast food and even inspired the creation of Kellogg's breakfast cereal. The snack had a rich history with Aztec and Native American cultures but gained worldwide popularity during the Great Depression when it became one of the only luxuries that were affordable and easy to make. Microwave popcorn has been readily available since the 1980s and remains a favourite snack for many Americans, who consume fourteen billion quarts of it each year. Although some forms of popcorn are loaded with calories and fat, there are ways to make it nutritious. Here are five ways to make popcorn a healthy snack.
Dry Pop It In Hot Air
Popcorn that is dry popped in hot air, instead of in oils, is a healthy snack that contains key nutrients. Specifically, a 2012 study conducted at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania showed that popcorn has characteristics that make it more healthy than some fruits and vegetables. Popcorn is full of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that also found in berries and tea. They decrease the risk of cancer and promote heart health. Popcorn is also high in fibre and has a decent protein content. The researchers who performed the study claim that popcorn may be the ideal snack food because it is a rich source of unprocessed grains, which benefit the human digestive system. Although these findings are fascinating, fruits and vegetables contain nutrients and vitamins that popcorn does not. Therefore, most health practitioners recommend eating a combination of these food groups.
Choose Low-Calorie Whole Grain Kernels
Although microwave popcorn tastes like it contains added butter, this is not the case. The chemical responsible for creating the flavour is diacetyl. The Environmental Work Group has stated that “It’s no secret that diacetyl, the chemical that gives butter-flavored microwave popcorn its buttery-ness, has caused serious and sometimes fatal lung disease in workers in flavoring and popcorn factories.” As a result, it is best to stick to whole grain kernels, which are an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin E, fibre, and beneficial oils. Avoid mass-produced brands that use additives, which can be harmful. The healthiest types of popcorn are a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and low-sodium snack. There are now many of these types of popcorn on the market because of greater demand for healthier versions of the popular snack.
Stick With Homemade Popcorn
Popcorn kernels are inc
redibly cheap, which makes it easy for families to make the healthy snack themselves. Some popcorn fans even grow their own corn and pop them so they do not have to buy kernels. For families on a budget, popcorn is an ideal snack that can satisfy cravings until dinnertime. It also has several health benefits that make it a more nutritious snack than other popular options. Popcorn is a healthy treat for both adults and children and allows households to save money on other snack foods that are far more expensive.
Season It With Herbs And Spices
Organic or whole grain popcorn is rich in vitamins and fibre and can be a great way to satisfy an urge to snack without going overboard and compromising a diet. Popcorn also makes an ideal snack in between meals and is more filling than potato chips or pretzels. The low energy density of popcorn also makes it possible for men and women who are watching their calorie intake to consume large amounts of it. A diet-conscious way to enjoy popcorn is to season it with herbs and spices, which is healthier than adding butter or other oils.
Try sprinkling cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, or chili powder on top of the popped kernels to add flavour without dramatically increasing the calorie count. According to the Mayo Clinic, snacks should be around one hundred calories to stay within the guidelines for an adult's daily caloric intake. Three cups of air-popped popcorn contain approximately ninety-three calories, which makes it an appropriate snack for those on a diet.
Use It To Become The Life Of The Party
This suggestion is not a direct way to make popcorn healthy. However, anyone who can make a particularly delicious batch of popcorn will likely be welcome at social gatherings. Making a batch of homemade popcorn with a signature flavour or colour can be an effortless and easy to become the life of the party among adults or children. There are various benefits of socializing, including living longer, enjoying better physical and mental health, and even having a lower risk of dementia. Create a signature popcorn recipe and watch invites for social gatherings shoot up. Furthermore, if guests enjoy the popcorn, the positive compliments that follow can boost self-confidence and improve mental health.