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Sharp Health News

And the award goes to … popcorn! (infographic)

Feb. 26, 2016

Popcorn is a cinema staple, but is it healthy? Stephanie Metzner, a registered dietitian who works at Sharp Rees-Stealy, provides the inside scoop on this party-favorite – and gives butter the boot with some unique, alternative toppings for your popped kernels.

And the award goes to … popcorn! (infographic). Movie theater popcorn may be a butter bomb, but the homemade variety can be surprisingly low in fat. This Oscars season, enjoy a new twist on America’s favorite movie-time snack. A snack so beloved that 41 quarts of popcorn are consumed per person each year. While 30 percent of popcorn is eaten outside of the home – in theatres, stadiums, etc. – a whopping 70 percent is eaten in the home. This is good news for your health, because movie theater buttered popcorn has 370 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving (3 cups), while light microwave popcorn made at home has just 130 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving. However, the best choice is air-popped popcorn, which has only 90 calories and 1.1 grams of fat in each serving. Each of these 3-cup servings equal one serving from the grain group, whether they are snowflake shaped, which is used in movie theaters because it pops the biggest kernals, or mushroom shaped, used in candy because it doesn’t crumble. Surprisingly, both shapes can pop up to 3 feet! Stephanie Metzner, a registered dietician who works and Sharp Rees-Stealy, recommends you give butter the boot and try the following top-notch flavored toppings – with a dash of olive oil for extra oomph – on popcorn instead: Garlic powder, Lemon pepper, Smoked paprika, Rosemary, thyme and sage. When made with the right ingredients, popcorn is a low-calorie, high-fiber – and let’s not forget deliciously crunchy – snack that is packed with antioxidants, Metzner says. Just remember to eat it mindfully and savor the crunch of each bite instead of zoning out and wondering where the bowl went.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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