Snack Right: Popcorn Delight

March 25, 2011

Popcorn

Today's blog was contributed by HSC intern Betsy Myers. Betsy is currently completing her dietetic internship with Loyola University Chicago in preparation to become a Registered Dietitian.

What is a snack? Snacking has taken on a whole new meaning in the past few years. Health professionals often encourage snacking between meals to promote feeling full and to avoid binges on large meals. However, the definition of a snack is sometimes misconstrued with products like fast food “snack wrap” items that can pack more than 330 calories for one wrap.

The American Dietetic Association describes a snack as a portion controlled meal that offers a high amount of important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, between 200-300 calories for active adults. I'm happy to share a recipe for popcorn delight, a good example of a tasty and healthful snack that the whole family will love.

Popcorn is a great source of dietary fiber and is available to buy in low salt and low fat options. Fiber is the nutrient that helps you feel full for longer periods of time because it slows down your digestion and absorption of nutrients. The dried fruit provides fiber as well as antioxidants and essential vitamins which promote a healthy immune system. Nuts, such as almonds, are a good source of unsaturated fat which helps your heart by reducing bad fat from unclogging your blood vessels.

This recipe makes three cups of popcorn which is a large amount for one snack. You might consider portioning out one cup of the mixture into containers to keep in your desk at the office, perhaps, or in the car on the go.

Popcorn 
One cup provides 77 calories, 2 grams of fat (3% of the daily value), zero saturated fat, 12 grams total carbohydrate (4% of the daily value), 2 grams of fiber (8% of the daily value) and 82 milligrams of sodium (4% of daily value).

This is a great snack that can help you feel full between meals while providing an assortment of other essential nutrients.

Enjoy!