Munching popcorn at the movies and at home is a real American pastime. However, the news is out-popcorn at the movies is usually popped in unhealthy fats and they use too much of it. In addition, most people top it with butter. Of course, the healthiest way to eat popcorn is air-popped without adding any fat or salt but it tastes like cardboard! If you really want to control what’s in your popcorn it’s best to pop your own. That’s right…Remember the old fashion way with a pot, some oil, and popcorn? It’s fine to use some fat as long as it’s healthy fat. My skinny trick to get the same buttery taste of movie popcorn is to pop in monounsaturated olive oil and a little reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light (see below). Each 1 cup has 53 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 1 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 1 Green. I’ve been popping it this way for years. One handful and you’ll know why. Happy crunching!
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light
1 cup white kernel popcorn, see shopping tips
Salt to taste (~ 1 teaspoon)
1. In a large nonstick pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat.
2. Stir in popcorn, coating kernels, cover and heat until kernels start to pop. This will take about 5 minutes. Turn heat to high and shake the pan as necessary to prevent burning while popping. Continue cooking until all kernels are popped.
3. Immediately pour half the popcorn into a large bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt, add remaining popcorn, and top with a little more salt.
Makes 24 cups
Popcorn is a special variety of corn that pops open and puffs up when heated. This happens because natural moisture gets trapped inside the hull. About 14% of the kernel is water.
Smart Balance Light is a reduced-fat and calorie spread that works wonders as a substitute for butter or margarine. It contains no trans fats. Clinical studies have shown it can help to reduce cholesterol. There are other brands available such as Benecol Light and Promise Light. One tablespoon contains 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. These reduced-fat spreads are packaged in tubes and found in the same section as butter.
White kernel popcorn can be found in some supermarkets. It tastes much better than the usual yellow. They’re a smaller and crisper kernel. Jolly Time and Safeway’s (Von’s) brand are available in white kernels. If you can’t find white kernels just use yellow. I also love red and black kernels found at places such as World Market and Harry and David’s.
If you want to pop using all olive oil use 5 tablespoons and omit the Smart Balance or reduced-fat butter. Pop as directed. The skinny facts will be about the same.
Olive oil turns rancid quickly so keep away from heat and light. Store in a dark place, like the pantry or cupboard. Stored that way it will keep up to 6 months.
Popcorn kernels can be stored at room temperature for about a year.
Most of us eat popcorn by the handfuls. I like to call it shoveling! If you want to eat this three-cup serving size and make it last a long time, try eating one kernel at a time. This simple skinny trick really works!
WW Freestyle SmartPoints 1-Blue
WW SmartPoints 1-Green
WW POINTS PLUS 1
|SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup
53 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 2mg chol, 1g protein, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 61mg sodium, 0g sugar
|FACTS: for Freestyle SmartPoints
26 calories, 1g sat. fat, 0g protein, 0g sugar