What snack has whole grains, is low in calories and fat, is sugar free, free of additives and GMOs, AND tastes delicious? The answer might be more obvious than you think: popcorn! Simple yet strangely satisfying, popcorn is well, popping up everywhere! You can find tons of different varieties of bagged popcorn in supermarkets, in addition to microwave and stove top popcorn. In fact, Americans alone consume 14 billion quarts of popcorn annually! Here’s why we love popcorn:
America’s Favorite Snack
What comes to mind when you think of popcorn? Is it sitting in a movie theater, being at a sporting event, or it could just be on your couch! There’s something about popcorn that reminds of us of good times, and has even been a staple in the country for decades. Popcorn really hasn’t changed all that much from when it was first discovered centuries ago. Popcorn is a whole grain corn product that comes from a wild grass. It is grown mainly in the “corn belt” of America, including states such as Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. None of the crops grown in the US contain GMOs, even if the bags don’t say explicitly, “non-GMO.”
Healthy & Delicious
We’ll be the first to admit it – it’s hard to find snacks that are actually healthy and taste good. Popcorn is one of the few snacks that gives you that satisfying crunch without the high fat and sodium content that your typical crunchy snacks (like chips and crackers) come with. Air popped popcorn typically has about 30 calories per cup, and oil-popped has about 35 calories per cup. If you walk down the snack aisle in your local grocery store, you’ll notice that there are a ton of bagged popcorn options, most of them are lightly salted and relatively healthy. Be aware of flavored versions that can add unwanted calories and fat. It can also be way too easy to sit down with a bag of popcorn and finish the whole thing. Try pouring two to three cups into a bowl for a satisfying snack.
You can get creative with popcorn! Start with plain air-popped popcorn. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, drizzle some melted dark chocolate over a batch, or add coconut oil and almonds to the mix. One of my favorites is sprinkling some cinnamon and vanilla spice over some popcorn, and it almost tastes like apple pie! Most of the time I lean towards more savory than sweet variations of popcorn. One of my favorites (for a night in) is sprinkling a little bit of parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and black pepper. Another popular one is a little lemon juice with thyme or rosemary.
Next time you get the urge to snack, reach for popcorn! Come up with your own favorite variation, the possibilities are endless!
Written by GUADS staff member Emily with contributions from popcorn.org