by Catherine L. Tully
If you’re the type that likes to curl up on the couch and snack away the hours while watching movies, you probably already know that the calories can really stack up. Resting on your days off is good, but mindless snacking in front of the tube can be a dangerous thing.
The next time you decide to go on a movie binge, choose popcorn as your snack–but make it air-popped and watch what you add to it. With a little bit of advance planning you can minimize the impact to your diet and your waistline.
Air popped popcorn is a great choice as long as you don’t pile on the butter or salt. The best news of all is that popcorn is actually considered a whole grain, and when air popped, has only 31 calories per cup. It also makes a great on the go snack–simply toss it in a baggie and pack it in your dance bag.
Here are a few more facts* about this snack food that may help you become a fan:
- 3 cups of popcorn = 1 serving from the grain group
- Air popped popcorn doesn’t contain additives or preservatives
- Popcorn contains fiber which aids in digestion
Investing in an air popper is not a big expense. You can usually find one for around $20 – I found this via Google search at Target. Do your homework on it though, I haven’t used this one myself.
Those used to eating microwave popcorn may not take to the air popped variety too well at first. After all, there is not a lot of flavor in comparison. Still, there are a number of ways to add taste to it without dumping a lot of calories on top.
Here are some of my favorite choices:
– Use a little bit of spray butter and toss to coat. (I do this sparingly since I’m not entirely on board with the whole spray butter thing. And I opt for the ones that are made with olive oil.) Or, simply opt for olive oil, but go easy as it is fairly high-calorie.
– Add some herbs to the mix such as oregano, basil, marjoram and red pepper flakes.
– Sprinkle black or white pepper over the top for a little bit of bite.
– Try a little taco seasoning on top for plenty of taste. (This does add salt though, so use sparingly.)
– Mix up some sugar and cinnamon for a sweet kick. This will add a few calories, but it can be worth it!
Here are a few more recipes you might want to try:
Do you have a healthy favorite topping for popcorn? We’d love to hear from you!
*Info taken from Popcorn.org.