Healthy Snacking

I admit it…I am a “snacker.” But, when I get the urge for a snack, I try to make it a healthy one instead of one high in calories and fat. In the evenings, I love to sit down in my favorite chair with my dogs beside me and unwind while snacking on a small bowl of popcorn. I don’t want to eat anything heavy that will keep me awake, so my snack food of choice is popcorn.

1popcorn-802047_1280

I have just started eating air-popped popcorn. I’ve been trying out different kinds of seasonings instead of adding salt and butter. Air-popped popcorn by itself does not have much taste. I like a sweet and salty taste. I have found that adding Splenda and cayenne pepper to my air-popped popcorn is delicious. Old Bay is another seasoning that is quite good. Check out 23 other ways to top your air popped popcorn:
http://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=23_ways_to_top_your_popcorn_for_under_150_calories

For more information on healthy snacking, check out these resources:
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-snack-tips-for-parents
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/food_shop_prep/menu_planning/hgic4203.html

-Susan

Aunt Gertrude’s Popcorn

My Aunt Gertrude introduced popcorn to me when I was a little girl. The memories I have of her standing in the kitchen in front of the big wood burning stove popping popcorn is still fresh in my mind! I can still see her shaking the pot waiting for the popcorn to pop. She always let me stand on a stool to watch. One thing about Aunt Gertrude is she never seasoned her popcorn with salt. Instead, she used whatever herb or spice she had available. I remember her popcorn having a delicious nutty taste.

What I didn’t know back then was that popcorn is considered a whole grain and a healthy snack choice. It’s a low calorie and low fat food (without the oil or butter, of course). Do you think about choosing whole grains when deciding on a snack? The Dietary Guidelines recommend half our daily intake of grains should come from whole grains. To know if your food is whole grain, the first ingredient in the ingredients list should contain the word ‘whole’.

whole wheat ingredients list

To learn ways to eat more whole grain foods, check out this website.

Aunt Gertrude had the right idea choosing popcorn as a snack. The next time you make popcorn, go for unsalted and add your own seasonings. Just make sure the popcorn is still warm so your seasoning will stick.

Here is a recipe that I have used with my family:

Zesty Ranch Seasoning
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. dried dill
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients well and toss with freshly popped popcorn. Enjoy!

popcorn

 

Susan