9 Ways to Make Popcorn Healthier


Is popcorn fattening? No it’s not unless you load it with calorie-rich toppings and flavorings. A cup of popcorn contains 30 calories. It contains one gram of dietary fiber per serving. Fiber makes you feel full for a longer duration and prevents snacking. Popcorn is a healthy snack if consumed in the right way.

Here are nine ways to make popcorn healthier:

1. Opt for stove-top or air pop popcorn

Is air-popped popcorn fattening than stove-top? Air-popping requires no oil and is low in calories. It is the healthiest way to prepare popcorn. Preparing the popcorn on stove-top in little oil can make you consume healthy fats.

2. Avoid butter

A chemical is added to buttered or extra-buttered popcorn which is purchased from outside. Is buttered popcorn fattening? Buttered popcorn is fattening if you add huge amounts of butter. You should prepare popcorn with two to three teaspoons of butter and gradually cut down it down.

3. Manage portion sizes

The serving size should be decided depending on the type of popcorn. A cup of plain popcorn contains 30 calories but once you add butter, salt, cheese, and other flavorings the calorie count boosts up.

4. Avoid microwave popcorn

Is microwave popcorn fattening? Microwave popcorn contains a lot of salt, additional artificial flavorings, and the portion size is also large. It is the most unhealthy way to have popcorn.

5. Use a good cooking oil

To make popcorn you should opt for walnut oil, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Palm and coconut oil have high amounts of saturated fats and should be used sparingly. Avoid using corn, sunflower and soybean oil.

6. Avoid kettle corn

Kettle corn is a salty and sweet variety of popcorn. It is seasoned with refined sugar, salt, and oil. The pre-packing makes it difficult to control the calories and the sodium content. Having kettle corn increases the salt and calorie intake. Opt for low-sodium kettle corn.

7. Add healthier toppings

You can make popcorn healthier by adding healthy toppings. The toppings should be in form of spices and seasoning and not powders that have hidden calories. Add cheese, hot sauce, jalapenos, or sprinkle of balsamic vinegar.

8. Look for added sweeteners and chemicals

Avoid anything that is more than popped kernel. Does additional flavoring makes popcorn fattening? The calorie content increases with additional flavorings. And these flavorings do no good. Flavorings like cheese powders and truffle oil don’t have cheese or truffle at all. They are just chemicals.

9. Add some proteins

Having popcorn along with proteins will keep you satiated for a longer time. Plus you get the benefits of eating proteins, too. Adding peanut butter, nuts, seeds, or one or two ounces of cheese will increase the protein content.

Dr. Victor Marchione
Dr. Victor Marchione received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and continued on to do his Medical Degree at the University of Messina. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for more than 20 years.

He is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and the NBC Today Show. As well as being on the Advisory Board for Bel Marra Health, he is also the editor of the Health eTalk newsletter.