So tasty and much healthier than potato chips, popcorn is a great go-to snack. The way it's made and the oil it's cooked in however make a big difference on how it's going to taste and how much healthier it can be.
Growing up, my mom made the best homemade popcorn ever! And I've tried many different ways of making popcorn since then, but nothing compares to fresh homemade popcorn cooked with canola oil on the stove-top. Grape seed oil is also a really great oil to use (popular for making gourmet popcorn).
Canola Oil is high in monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat (high in good fat, low in bad fat) and has high levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Keep in mind that not all canola oil brands are made the same because they are processed differently. To get the most health benefits from your canola oil, buy one that has been expeller-pressed, cold-pressed or organic. Coconut oil would be an even healthier choice, however it will change the taste of the kernels to a sweeter, more coconut-like taste.
The health benefits of cooking with grape seed oil
Also contains monounsaturated fat (good fat), but is mostly made up of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) such as omega-6 and omega-9 Fatty Acids, which are great for brain health. Grape seed oil also has natural antioxidants and is high in Vitamin E... great for helping lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
Other great choices for oils to pop your kernels in are sunflower oil and olive oil.
Why you should opt for popcorn more often as a healthy snack
Plain popcorn kernels are full of Protein and Phosphorus and have more Iron than Spinach! They're a gluten-free whole grain snack containing fiber and antioxidants. But not all popcorn will have the same healthy benefits as the others. Microwave popcorn is not good for you because it contains harmful chemicals in the artificial butter and releases chemicals from it's inner wrap when heated. Same goes with movie popcorn. It's usually cooked in an unhealthy trans fat oil and is loaded with chemicals and preservatives (even if you get it unbuttered).
Try adding nutritional yeast (from the health food store) next time to your popcorn as a healthier substitute for butter and salt. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor that's pretty tasty and contains Vitamin B.
Best homemade popcorn ever!
In a large pot heat 2 tbs of canola oil on med-high. Once oil is hot add 1 cup of unpopped kernels. Spread out a thin layer at the bottom of your pot and seal with lid. Once your kernels start popping, shake your pot around (keeping close to heat). You want to be sure to shake/stir often so that your kernels don't burn. Once your kernels only pop every 3 seconds, turn off heat a let sit for a min. until there is no more popping. Empty out popcorn from pot right away.
Popcorn is a great snack to serve for a kid's birthday party. Add some flavour and colour to make it more fun!
To stay on the same page of keeping our popcorn healthy, we used stevia as a sugar substitute in our pink coating recipe.
For the pink coating
In a medium saucepan bring 1 cup of white stevia or regular sugar, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of whole milk or half & half, 1 tbs butter & 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Stir in 7-8 drops (1tsp) of flavoured water infuser and stir well. In a large bowl, pour coating over popcorn right away and stir with a spoon until all kernels are coated. *Do not wait or your liquid will start to solidify, making it difficult to spread on the popcorn.
If you want a great DIY Snack Stand for a little girl's birthday party click here for our Tulip Treat Stand post.