Happy National Popcorn Day! Today is all about celebrating our favorite puffy snack that’s a hit everywhere from the movie theater to your workspace in the middle of the afternoon.
Popcorn is a very healthy treat all on its own. According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, popcorn is a whole-grain, non-refined snack that fits well in a balanced diet.
Since popcorn is made from a whole corn kernel, each piece contains the bran, germ, and endosperm that hold all those great nutrients and proteins to help keep our body healthy!
But the problem with popcorn is that we rarely consume it on its own. Whether we top it with lots of butter, shake on a pre-mixed topping, or drizzle it in caramel or chocolate, the popcorn toppings we usually choose are loaded with extra sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat.
We’ve curated a list of our favorite popcorn toppings to help you enjoy your treat and feel great about it too. For best results, use whole popcorn kernels that do not contain added salt or butter.
#1: Cilantro Lime Popcorn from Bake Your Day
Bright and delicious, this topping from Bake Your Day combines two ingredients that work wonderfully together: cilantro and lime. Simple and fresh, this popcorn is a very nutritious snack – although we recommend swapping out the butter for olive oil. If you were born with the cilantro-soap gene, you can swap out the cilantro in this recipe for another fresh herb like parsley, dill, or tarragon.
#2: Green Superfood Popcorn from The Whole Tara
Looking for an easy way to get your greens and enjoy an indulgent snack? Try the Whole Tara’s green superfood popcorn recipe. This recipe uses spirulina, a popular algae supplement that is extremely high in nutrients and may lower bad cholesterol levels. To give the topping a boost of flavor and a bit of a spicy kick, the recipe also includes garlic powder, sea salt, and cayenne pepper.
#3: Vegan Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken
Love sour cream and onion chips, but not a fan of the extra salt, calories, and fat? This recipe from the vegan blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is perfect for you. It uses nutritional yeast, dried dill, onion powder, and soy milk powder to coat the kernels and turn them into umami flavor bombs.
#4: Homemade Healthy Salted Caramel Popcorn from Fit Mitten Kitchen
Caramel popcorn is one of the most decadent treats out there, but we just can’t get behind all of the added sugar. If you want to indulge in this guilty pleasure, this recipe from Fit Mitten Kitchen can help you enjoy delicious caramel goodness without the extra calories.
The caramel sauce includes maple syrup and coconut sugar to cut down on the granulated stuff, plus a pinch of salt for elevated flavor. A lot of the ingredients in this treat can have a negative impact on your blood sugar, so make sure to enjoy in moderation!
Skip the calorie-rich toppings this National Popcorn Day – whether you take your popcorn salty, sweet, or spicy, you can find a smarter alternative!