Popcorn Can Be a Trojan Horse

We love popcorn as a cholesterol-friendly snack. With 93 calories and 3.6 grams of fiber in a three-cup serving, it’s a filling, low-calorie food that keeps you going without harming your health. Popcorn also has only 15 grams of carbs per three-cup serving! However, that healthy treat can become unhealthy very quickly; it can be used as a mode of conveyance to get fat and salt to your mouth without you even realizing it.

Air-popped popcorn can be great, but once oils and toppings are added, the health benefits of the snack can be buried under the weight of unwanted calories. Moreover, some people are concerned with the corn itself. If you are concerned about GMO foods, look for corn kernels that are USDA Certified Organic. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting as you eat your whole grains. If you decide to have packaged popcorn instead of homemade, read the ingredients to see what oil and additives are in the product, as well as its salt content. You can pick a brand that suits your desires.

The heavy-handed use of added chemicals in some brands of microwave popcorn may surprise and alarm you. Diacetyl, a component of artificial butter can give you popcorn lung, so avoid inhaling the fumes coming from a bag of freshly popped popcorn. None of this means you shouldn’t use a microwave for cooking popcorn. You can make popcorn in the microwave in a paper bag or in a microwave air popper. Or, if you don’t want to do to the expense of an air popper, a pan with a well-fitted lid will work. You can use a dash of fat to aid the cooking process, but a few drops of water will help the popcorn pop without the need for fat.

Then you can use any spices, herbs or salt you like. You can also toss it in a little oil. The problem with mass-produced popcorn isn’t always the coating, it’s the amount of coating! Dressing the popcorn yourself gives you the control to put whatever you like on it in the correct amount for you! And, instead of the traditional butter and salt, you can top it with salt and vinegar, hot sauce, cinnamon, parmesan or more — you needn’t feel deprived when skipping the microwave; go for a flavor you couldn’t get from the microwave.

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