Healthier Snack Options for Popcorn and Chips

Microwave popcorn and chips are two popular snack products that can be unhealthy, containing a lot of calories, fats, and sodium. However, that doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your diet to replace and them with healthier options. Here are tasty ways to make them healthier that may save you money while reducing your calorie intake in this associated content article. Learn Healthier Snack Options for Popcorn and Chips.

Nutrition of Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn itself can be a healthy, low calorie snack option; flavored microwave popcorn can be unhealthy. There is an easy way to make healthier popcorn that can save money and reduce your calorie intake. You don’t need a popcorn popper for cooking, just a microwave, plain/unflavored popcorn kernels, and a brown paper bag.

Instructions can be found here to make homemade microwave popcorn in a paper bag. You don’t need to clip the bag and you don’t need to add oil for the popcorn kernels to cook. Without oil, you can save the bag and unpopped kernels to use again or compost unpopped kernels along with the bag or recycle it. Shake any flakes or tiny popcorn particles out before popping unpopped kernels.

Healthier flavor options for Microwave Popcorn

Fresh popped popcorn is good and you can eat popcorn plain but you don’t have to go without flavor. Adding your own gives you more options and puts you in control of calories, fats, cholesterol, and sodium that go into your popcorn. Adding flavor in the bowl means you can reuse the bag.

Remember the taste of freshly cooked naturally flavored popcorn? Instead of artificial butter flavoring like in typical microwave popcorn, you can add real butter, margarine, or olive oil. You can make spicy or sweet cinnamon flavored popcorn, or whatever you want. Pay attention to nutritional information on your added flavors. Compare nutritional information of your homemade popcorn to your usual microwave popcorn and see the difference or look it up at the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Nutrition of Chips

A lot of flavored chips can be unhealthy. An easy option to make chips healthier is to buy regular tortilla chips instead of flavored chips like Doritos. Some chips are available in lower salt varieties. Like microwave popcorn, adding your own flavor can make chips healthier.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa

For a healthier chips flavor option, pair tortilla chips with salsa or another vegetable based dip. Salsa is mostly vegetables and piling on salsa is a tasty way to add more vegetables to your diet and less chips, lowering your calories without reducing the amount of food you eat.

Chips and Homemade Hummus or other Dips

You can also make chips healthier with other vegetable dips. Guacamole can be high in fat, salsa or tomato paste can be mixed into it. Fresh homemade hummus can be made without added oils of store bought hummus and can be flavored with tomato paste, garlic, or whatever you want. Compare nutritional info of a can of chickpeas with your choice of flavoring to store bought hummus or look it up at the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Instead of buying flavored microwave popcorn and flavored chips, try these two popular snacks made healthier and add your own flavor for greater control over what goes into your favorite snacks. There’s a variety of options to choose from. Pay attention to nutritional information as adding flavors can also make microwave popcorn and chips less healthy. You don’t have to be an anorexic to loose weight; with simple changes you can greatly reduce your calorie intake. Consult your doctor before beginning any diet plan.

Sources:
Product Packaging of various microwave popcorn and chip products
USDA National Nutrient Database
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

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