Poppin’ good snack — popcornPublished 5:35pm Saturday, November 10, 2012
One of my favorite snacks at night is a bowl of popcorn.
And until a couple of years ago, I had always relied on microwave popcorn as my go-to snack.
I have since discovered the joys of popping corn on the stove top. It’s done in about the same amount of time and you can easily add ingredients for new flavors. I often get asked about healthy snacking and then point to popcorn as a great option.
•Excellent source of fiber: Curb hunger between meals and help with appetite control.
•100 percent whole grain: Whole grain foods like popcorn, along with a low-fat, high fiber diet, may help to reduce risk for heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
•Smart for people with diabetes: Fiber plays an important role in managing blood sugars — and three cups of popcorn, which is considered a serving, has 15 grams of carbohydrate and nearly four grams of fiber.
It’s naturally low in fat and calories and costs only pennies per serving.
•Low in calories: Air-popped popcorn: 30 calories per cup; oil-popped: 55 calories per cup; drizzled lightly with butter: 90 to 120 calories per cup.
Toss in healthy mix-in ingredients to boost the nutrition and flavor of your popcorn:
•Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
•Shredded parmesan Cheese
•Whole grain cereal
Popcorn on the range
Adults should be careful not to burn themselves from the steam or hot oil.
Use a 3- to 4-quart pan with a loose lid that allows steam to escape. Heat one-quarter cup to one-third cup oil for each cup of kernels. (Don’t use butter) If the oil smokes, it is too hot. Test the oil by putting a few kernels in the hot oil. When they pop, add the rest of the popcorn, cover the pan and shake the pan to evenly distribute heat and prevent burning kernels.
When the popping begins to slow, remove the pan from the stovetop. The heated oil will still pop the remaining kernels.
Pre-salting kernels toughens popcorn. So, salt the popcorn after it has been popped — or skip salt altogether and add salt-free spices.
Try these holiday snack mixes using popcorn.
Maple pumpkin spice popcorn
Serves: 4 (1-¼ cup each)
All you need
•2 tablespoons brown sugar
•2 tablespoons maple syrup
•11⁄2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
•1 tablespoon butter or margarine
•1⁄2 cup chopped pecans, optional
•5 cups popped popcorn
All you do
1. In a large saucepan or pot, heat brown sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice mix over medium heat. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling.
2. Stir in butter until melted and well blended. Add pecans, if desired, and popcorn and stir until well coated.
3. Allow mixture to cool before serving. Serve immediately or store.
Nutrition per serving: 120 calories, 3.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 1 g protein.
Cranberry-Orange Caramel Corn
Serves: 20 (about ½ cup each)
Source: Popcorn Council
All you need
•10 cups popped popcorn
•1 cup dried cranberries
•1⁄2 cup whole almonds
•1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter
•1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
•1⁄4 cup corn syrup
•2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, undiluted
•1 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract
•1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
All you do
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Place popcorn, cranberries and almonds in a large bowl; set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan heat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and orange juice concentrate over medium heat until butter is melted.
4. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in extract and baking soda (mixture will foam).
5. Pour syrup mixture over popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well. Spread evenly in a large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray.
6. Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. Stir caramel corn as it cools on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.
Nutrition per serving: 140 calories, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 2 g protein.