Kara Swanson is a certified nutritionist and the founder of Life Well Lived. She is married to her best friend and the proud mother of three. Her passion is to make nutrition simple+easy+delicious!
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Table of Contents
Popcorn - even packaged popcorn - should be little more than corn, salt, oil, and maybe some spices or cheese as seasoning. If you want the healthiest popcorn, avoid products with additional ingredients like artificial flavors or dyes.
You can also start with a plain, air-popped popcorn that just contains corn and maybe salt, and then you can add your own flavorings! It's more work, but it can turn into a fun activity.
You may even want to pay attention to the kind of oil used. Generally speaking, the most healthful oils you might find include olive, coconut, and sunflower oil. Sunflower oil in particular is rich in the essential vitamin E.
Some oils that you may want to avoid due to the generally high level of processing that they go through include canola, vegetable (or soy), corn, and grapeseed oil.
Simple is always best. We often confuse what nutrition is, but when it comes down to it, simple and few ingredients are the way to go. Paying attention to ingredients is really important so make sure you grab popcorn that has few ingredients and ones you actually know like corn, salt, and oil.
In particular, it’s important to keep an eye on the fat and salt content. Generally speaking, you want to keep it under five grams of fat and 100 milligrams of sodium per two-cup serving. This will leave you plenty of wiggle room in terms of the rest of your meals for the day.
When it comes to flavored popcorn, especially sweet varieties, you should also pay attention to the sugar content. Less than six grams is ideal since that would be a quarter of your recommended daily intake of added sugar of 25 grams or less. And of course, always remember to check nutrition labels against serving size!
Popcorn is actually really healthy because it's got fiber and is low in calories. Three cups of popcorn has four grams of fiber and only 100 calories. But that doesn't automatically mean all popcorn is healthy. Be careful and pay attention to added fat and sugar.
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Three Simple Ingredients for a Healthy Snack
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popcorn
Heart-Healthy Olive Oil and Sea Salt for Great Taste
Cinnamon Toast Healthy Popcorn
Sweet but Healthy Popcorn to Satisfy Cravings
Low on Calories, Sodium, Sugar, and More
White Cheddar Popcorn
Cheese Popcorn That You Can Enjoy Healthily
If you've heard of healthy popcorn, you've probably heard of BOOMCHICKAPOP. It comes in a plethora of different flavors, but we think the white cheddar flavor is most likely to keep you snacking happily. It's made in the USA with all-natural ingredients, and it doesn't have a ton of calories, either!
Some wish there was a bit more of a punch of white cheddar flavor, and one reviewer thought there were too many hulls. But overall, many liked it so much that they caution against telling others in the house that you bought it; otherwise, you probably won't get a chance to eat any yourself!
Now that you've gotten the basic information about how to choose a healthy popcorn down, expert Kara Swanson has a few more tips to add into the mix about making your own popcorn and flavoring it in a healthy way.
I highly recommend making your own popcorn! We love air popping our own and adding a little coconut oil or vegan butter. Or if you don't have an air popper you can make it on the stove. This way you also have control over how much salt you add. I've even come to love popcorn without added salt in my attempt to cut down on sodium.
If you love cheesy popcorn, try adding nutritional yeast to your popcorn. This works best if you make your own popcorn so the nutritional yeast sticks to the popped kernels better. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor and is very nutritious and high in B Vitamins.
Peanut butter cups are an amazing sweet treat that is hard to keep away from! However, it can be high in calories and fat. Instead of pigging out on the candies, why not try this healthier, popcorn-inspired alternative? Kara Swanson's prepared an amazing, healthified recipe. You can find the exact same recipe on her site, here.
*Please note that the picture provided is not of the completed recipe.
In an air popper, air pop the popcorn kernels. If you can have an air popper, you can make the popcorn on the stove with a little bit of oil.
In a small saucepan, combine honey and coconut sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter. Stir until combined.
In a large bowl, pour peanut butter mixture over popcorn. Gently toss with a wooden spoon until popcorn is coated. Spread popcorn on a sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle popcorn with melted chocolate.
Cool completely and stir in the chopped peanut butter cups.
If you want something else to munch on with your popcorn, consider one of these options!
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
No. 1：LesserEvil｜Organic Popcorn｜Himalayan Pink Salt, 12 pack
No. 2：G.H. Cretors｜Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popcorn｜12 pack
No. 3：Pop Zero｜Cinnamon Toast Healthy Popcorn｜9 pack
No. 4：SkinnyPop｜Original Popcorn｜4.4 oz
No. 5：Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP｜White Cheddar Popcorn
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