Healthy eaters in the U.S. continually turn to popcorn as a healthy replacement for the salty snacks that usually break a diet. Instead of snacks like potato chips, nuts or pretzels that may be high in calories, salt or fat content, popcorn provides the bite-sized mouth-popping ease of other snacks while also providing vitamins, minerals and fiber but not much fat! Here are some facts about the snack and the best way to eat it to get the most nutritive value.
Nutrition Facts for Popcorn
* Popcorn contains more than 40 different nutrients.
* It has more iron than eggs, peanuts or spinach.
* You can find B complex vitamins, vitamin E, Riboflavin and Thiamine in popcorn kernels.
* Popcorn has the most protein of any cereal grain.
* In the hull of the kernel, you’ll find iron, phosphorous and protein.
* Popcorn has more fiber than potato chips or pretzels.
Additionally, popcorn is the recommended snack of many health and research organizations in the US. The American Dental Association recommends it as a good sugar free and fat free snack for kids. The National Cancer Institute, noting that fiber in your diet helps protect you from cancer, recommends popcorn as a great way to add fiber to your diet. The American Diabetes Association allows popcorn as a starchy snack on weight-control diets. The Feingold Diet for hyperactive children allows popcorn as a snack as well since it can be prepared with no additives or sugars.
The Best Way to Eat Popcorn
The best preparation for popcorn if you want it to be a healthy, low-cal snack is to air-pop it. Adding butter, salt or other toppings can lessen the nutritional impact of eating popcorn as a snack. 1 cup of air-popped popcorn has about 30 calories, 1 gram of dietary fiber and 1 gram of protein per serving. It has no no saturated fat, trans fats or cholesterol. You’ll also find manganese, folate, niacin, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium in popcorn.
Whether you are dieting, trying to get your kids to eat healthy snacks or simply attempting to eat more healthily yourself, replacing fatty junk foods with freshly popped popcorn is an easy exchange. Eating popcorn to quell your snack cravings is a health-conscious choice that will help you control your weight and provide nutrition instead of just satisfying your snacking urges!