When you’re on the go throughout the day it’s easy to fall into patterns of unhealthy snacking. Reaching for the salty, high-fat crisps or sugary chocolate bar will give you a quick fix, but can take its toll on your health if consumed in too high a quantity.
Public Health England recommends sticking to a maximum of two prepackaged snacks a day for good health, and keeping them under 100 calories each. Luckily there are plenty of delicious low-calorie options without the downsides!
One of these is popcorn! Once eaten solely slathered in butter and salt or sugar as a cinema snack, popcorn has been rediscovered as a quick and easy, low-calorie homemade snack. It can be eaten plain or given a kick with a variety of healthy flavours, and with National Popcorn Day taking place today, now is your chance to switch to this healthier snacking alternative!
While traditional movie popcorn often comes loaded with butter, salt and sugar, plain popcorn has some great health benefits. It’s high in fibre- three cups of air popped corn contains 3.6g of dietary fibre, just less than two slices of wholemeal bread. Those three cups of plain popcorn contain just 90 calories, but the fibre and volume of the puffy kernels keeps you feeling full for longer.
The Perfect Popcorn
Rather than buying pre-flavoured microwave popcorn, which can be high in added fats and sugars, grab a packet of plain kernels next time you’re at the supermarket. Popping corn the old fashioned way, and adding your own toppings, is far more fun, contains less calories, and you’ll know exactly what goes into it.
Make popcorn with the kids and give them the chance to get creative with their toppings. They can go crazy with herbs, spices, and delicious add-ins such as nuts, dried fruit or dark chocolate. Watching the pot to see the kernels springing up is great entertainment and a way to make healthy snacking fun!
For the fluffiest, crunchiest popcorn, try popping plain kernels on the stovetop using a saucepan with a lid and a small amount of coconut oil to heat. This BBC recipe has nifty tricks such as letting steam out midway through to get drier, crunchier kernels.
National Popcorn Day Topping Recipes
Celebrate National Popcorn Day with a batch of freshly-popped goodness! We’ve found the best sweet and savoury recipes for you to enjoy here:
- For a spicy delight, try this BBC Good Food recipe for curry and lime spiced popcorn.
- A dash of maple syrup and cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger make a sweetly spiced festive mix.
- Mix popped corn with roasted peanuts and drizzle with melted, 70% cocoa chocolate for a treat with a hint of sweetness.
- Or try plain popcorn tossed with pistachios and dried cherries for a chewy, crunchy trail mix, perfect for bagging up and taking to work.
Celebrate National Popcorn Day with a bowl of freshly popped corn, and enjoy your adventures in discovering new and exciting flavour combinations!