If you love popcorn as much as I do, but, trying to watch calories for the New Year, here’s a great food hack.  

Popcorn is really a great, healthy snack that's high in fiber and low in calories and has a low energy density, depending on how it's prepared!  If you buy popcorn at the movie theater, the average caloric intake is astounding.  (The following includes standard salt and butter.)

Movie Theater Popcorn (average)

  • Large popcorn - 845 calories - 51 grams of fat
  • Regular popcorn - 630 calories - 42 gram of fat
  • Small - 455 calories - 30 grams of fat

Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup!  And here’s what I do to make a large bag for both my husband and me.  You will need:

Air-popped Popcorn: (Made in the microwave) 

  • Large brown lunch bag (option: regular size brown lunch bag)
  • Scotch tape
  • Popcorn kernels (your favorite brand - yellow, white)
  • measuring cup (1/2 cup or 1/4 cup)
  • Microwave
  • Option:  microwavable measuring cup and water
Popcorn made in brown lunch bag; credit Deb Turner
Popcorn made in brown lunch bag; credit Deb Turner

To get the most popcorn kernels popped, I take a microwavable glass measuring cup and fill it with a cup of water.  Place it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until it boils or is near boiling.  The idea is to get the microwave prepped before popping the popcorn. Remove the cup of boiling water.

  • Measure 1/2 cup of popcorn and throw into bottom of large brown lunch bag.  (You can also use regular size brown lunch bag but decrease to 1/4 cup of popcorn)
  • Fold the top of lunch bag over (1”) and close tightly with scotch tape from end to end
  • Place lunch bag with popcorn into middle of microwave and close the door
  • Set timer for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes (I have a 1300 Watt microwave & use Power Level 8)
  • Listen until popping slows down to one or two pops at a time.
  • Take out your popped bag of popcorn
  • Open carefully as it’s very hot!

I also like my popcorn salted, so, here's a couple of things you can do to make the salt stick to the air-popped popcorn.  Use a spray bottle with some water and spritz the popcorn with water and then shake some salt onto it.  Or, use some spray butter (not too much or that defeats the purpose of your low fat snack!)

Enjoy your air popped low fat healthy popcorn!

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