Popcorn is best known for being the official snack of movie theatres. Popcorn can also be a low-calorie, healthy snack for you to enjoy at home. There are two major types of popcorn: air-popped and oil-popped. Air-popped popcorn is considered healthier and nutrient-rich. Get your bag of corn seeds ready and learn how to make popcorn the healthy way.
Nutrients in Popcorn
Popcorn is categorized as a whole grain, which means it is filled with fiber, antioxidants and minerals. Because it is unprocessed, there is plenty of fiber in popcorn to regulate and improve your gastrointestinal health. The antioxidants found in popcorn can prevent cell damage and shield the body against a host of diseases.
Some of the minerals found in popcorn include copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Adding servings of popcorn to your menu can therefore lead to improvements in immunity, muscle function, oxygenation, nutrient transportation and metabolism.
The Best Types of Popcorn
There are many brands of popcorn available today, some plain and others with added seasonings. Health-wise, the best popcorn options are the plain variety. These can be bought from food stores or natural food vendors. If you’re trying to lose weight or have a heart condition, avoid popcorn with added seasoning and ingredients. These types of popcorn are often high in saturated and trans fats, which can worsen heart disease and cholesterol.
How to Make Popcorn at Home
The best way to learn how to make popcorn is in a microwave or stovetop. For this, you’ll need:
- ¼ cup popping corn seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- Salt to taste
- Butter to season
- Brown lunch bag (for microwave method)
How to Make Popcorn in Microwave
To make air-popped popcorn in your microwave, add seeds into the brown lunch bag. Fold the top twice to close.
Place bag with seeds upright in the microwave and cook on highest heat for 2-3 minutes. Popcorn is done when there is an 8-10 second interval between pops. Season it with butter and salt.
How to Make Popcorn on Stovetop
Add corn seeds, oil and a pinch of salt to a large pot. Coat the seeds well with oil and cover with lid.
Cook on high heat until you start to hear the corn seeds popping. Count the seconds between pops. If popcorn goes more than 8-10 seconds without popping, remove from heat.
Season with butter, salt and other preferred seasonings. Transfer into a large enough bowl and serve.
How to Make Popcorn Tips and Tricks
Please keep in mind then even if air-popped popcorn is healthy, its nutritional value changes with what you add and how much you eat. Butter is the main source of extra calories in popcorn, so use in moderation. Also, keep popcorn portions to 1-2 cups a serving. Regular-size movie popcorn actually contains about 20 cups, which amounts to more than 500 calories.
Popcorn is a tasty way to get rid of hunger without eating too many calories. Whenever possible, choose air-popped over oil-popped popcorn to reduce fat and increase nutrients. Be cautious when seasoning with butter and eat in moderation.