What does a picky eater 3-year-old have in common with a 70-year-old grandparent? Popcorn is their favorite whole grain snack! At my cooking demonstration at the American Museum of Natural History’s Global Kitchen Exhibit for over 800 participants I made my wildly popular Popcorn with Brain Butter using an air-popper and I learned a lot about this beloved snack! Here are some interesting observations:
- Most people (at home or at work) pop their popcorn in microwaveable bags loaded with partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavorings (make sure to ready the ingredients) or buy it ready-to-eat – both can be very high in sodium. And, as a result, most kids couldn’t identify a corn kernel!
- There was a big taste difference between freshly popped popcorn kernels and the ready-to-eat varieties. With the freshly popped getting double thumbs up!
- An air-popper is a novel appliance with many people wanting to put it on their wedding registries or buy it as a great gift. It uses air, not oil which keeps the fat level low.
- Many people didn’t know it was considered a healthy, whole grain snack – what a bonus!
Growing up, my sisters and I always popped popcorn old school on the stove on Friday nights in the “burnt” popcorn pot (with parent supervision!). Every time we popped the corn kernels it was always an exciting experience and the wonderful aroma signaled movie night at our house! These simple memories made family time, fun-time. No need to burn a pot if you have an air-popper.
I’m a big fan of the Cuisinart Popcorn Maker because it pops most kernels and doesn’t make a mess of popcorn lose all over the place (I’ve gone through many air-poppers to find the perfect one!) My favorite corn kernels are Bob’s Red Mill because they are GMO-free and have a delicious taste whether it’s the white or yellow corn kernel varieties. And, this delicious whole grain snack adds needed dietary fiber to keep our digestive tract in tip-top shape!
What are you waiting for… let’s get popping! Here’s my recipe to unjunk this wildly popular whole-grain snack food that boosts good nutrition, too! I’ve remade this much-loved snack by using an air-popper to pop the corn kernels and then adding flaxseed oil instead of butter. Flaxseed oil’s yellow color looks like butter, but this healthy fat rich in omega-3 fatty acids protects our hearts and sharpens our brains. Add a few pinches of sea salt to taste and munch away.
Popcorn with Brain Butter
- Place popcorn kernels in air popper and pop following manufacturer’s directions.
- In medium bowl, drizzle flaxseed oil over popped corn and sprinkle with salt; toss to coat evenly.
Makes 4 serving (1 cup per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 70 calories; 4g fat (0g sat fat, 1g mono, 2g poly, 0 g trans); 0mg cholesterol; 8g carbohydrate (2g fiber, 0g sugar); 1g protein; 30mg sodium; 4% Daily Value (DV) iron.
What’s your favorite topping on popcorn?
- Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.