Popcorn can be healthy, if it’s prepared in the right way.
“The big thing is how it’s flavored,” says Jen Welper, executive wellness chef for the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “We want to make it really tasty, but we don’t want to have all the calories and the fat.”
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Welper mixes up four popcorn recipes that fit the bill.
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"So we are going to start popping our popcorn in kind of the traditional way," says Welper as she ignites the gas flame of the stove.
Then, Welper pours some canola oil; and it's less than you might expect.
"Typical recipes call for a little over a quarter cup," explains Welper.
She says you can eliminate half that oil and the calories that come with it.
"As long as you’re kind of shaking the pan enough, you can usually get away with like a tablespoon or two of oil," she explains.
After the shaking and popping, Welper is spraying more oil.
"What we are trying to do is get the seasonings to stick," says Welper as she uses an oil sprayer to add a light coating of canola oil to freshly popped corn. "You can use a better fat than the saturated fat of butter."
You won’t need the butter when you’ve got seasonings like onion and garlic powders, smoky paprika, cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Other recipes create a smoky barbecue snack or Parmesan-thyme popcorn. Welper has even come up with cinnamon-sugar and peanut butter mixes.
"You’ve got to be a little creative," adds Welper.
Done right, popcorn can be a high-fiber snack with a lot of flavor and fewer calories.