Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack ?

Most people know that plain popcorn, or popcorn that is seasoned with a low calories flavoring is low in calories, but many wonder if it is in fact healthy. When it comes to choosing a healthy snack, it is not only important to look for snacks that are low in calorie, but also to choose snacks that offer some nutritional value as well.

One of the best nutritional values provided by popcorn is the fact that it is high in fiber. Americans rarely get enough fiber in their daily diet, and by adding popcorn as a snack; you can help beat calories as well as increase your fiber intake. Popcorn is a whole grain food; this makes it a good choice for carbohydrates as well as fiber. In fact, since popcorn makes up one serving of the starches recommended by the American Dietetic Association, you might be amazed to discover that when it comes to serving sizes, popcorn offers the most generous amount

Three cups of popcorn is the equivalent of one slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked pasta, and one cup of cereal. Three cups is much more than the other servings and you may feel fuller after eating three cups of popcorn then you would after eating one slice of bread. This offers great benefits for those who are looking for a healthy snack that can satisfy their hunger and provide them with a feeling of being full. It is also important to choose the oil that you pop your popcorn in carefully. Canola oil is usually recommended as being the healthiest choice if you don't have an air popper which is the best.

How Many Calories in Popcorn?

If you love to eat popcorn, then you may have wondered just how many calories are in this buttered treat. You may be surprised to discover that popcorn can range in calories from a minimal 30 calories per serving to a whopping 500 calories. It all depends on the type of popcorn that you are eating.

The lowest calories per serving are found in plain homemade popcorn. One serving of plain popcorn is 30 calories; you can add additional calories for any toppings that you add. If you melt a stick of butter and add that to your popcorn, you would have to add those calories to your serving. However, if you select a butter topping or seasoning that comes in a shaker, you will find that those calories are very small, typically accounting for five additional calories.

If you look for the calorie content on a box of microwave popcorn, you may be surprised to discover that unpopped popcorn has more calories than popped. Typically, microwave popcorn will have about 35-40 calories per serving. One bag of microwave popcorn usually makes about 3 ½ servings; so one total bag of microwave popcorn would have about 140 calories. Not a bad amount of calories for those who are watching their weight.

The largest amount of calories per popcorn serving is found in movie theater popcorn. These large buckets of popcorn generally contain about 1500-1600 calories. Even broken down into serving sizes, these buckets generally yield about 500 calories per serving. If you want to save calories, you may want to stick with homemade or microwave popcorn and bypass the movie theater popcorn next time you go to the theater.

For more healthy snack ideas please contact Sarah Lowe at:


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