National Popcorn Day

popcorn

January 19th is National Popcorn Day! Did you know that Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popcorn annually? Packed with whole grains, fiber and antioxidants, this delicious treat can also be healthy and low in calories.

Plain, natural popcorn is full of health benefits, but be careful of added butter and sugar. A large sized popcorn from the movie theater has about 1200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. Microwave popcorn is often loaded with unhealthy oils, while kettle corn and caramel corn add hefty doses of sugar. If you do choose microwave popcorn, be sure to look for a light microwave option, which has less fat, fewer calories, and often less sodium than regular varieties.

To get the most health benefits, choose air popped popcorn, which has only about 30 calories per cup. If you don’t have a hot air popper, put 3-4 tablespoons of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold the top of the bag twice to be sure it’s closed, and then microwave for two minutes, or until there’s only a few seconds between pops.

Try these healthy popcorn recipes to celebrate National Popcorn Day:

Mediterranean Popcornmediterranean-spiced-popcorn
Ingredients:
9 cups popped popcorn
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning blend
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Drizzle olive oil evenly over the top of the popcorn, followed by Italian herbs and grated Parmesan. Toss well. Store in a seal-able plastic bag.

Serving size: 3 cups
Nutrition facts per serving: 121calories, 3 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 1.2 g saturated fat, 2.5 g fiber, 125 mg sodium

Popcorn Trail Mixpopcorn trail mix
Ingredients:
9 cups popped popcorn
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup roasted unsalted almonds

Directions:
Combine popcorn, cranberries and almonds and toss together. Store in a seal-able plastic bag.

Serving size: 2.5 cups
Nutrition facts per serving: 200 calories, 5 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 4 g fiber, 68 mg sodium

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