Making your own popcorn is fun and easy. Try this recipe with olive oil, nutritional yeast and sea salt for a nutritious snack.

Photo by Lauren Blair

Making your own popcorn is fun and easy. Try this recipe with olive oil, nutritional yeast and sea salt for a nutritious snack.

Healthy Snack of the Week: Popcorn Five Ways

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I bet you never thought popcorn could be classified as a healthy snack, but today is your lucky day! A research study conducted by Professor Joe Vinson, Ph.D., of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, found that popcorn contains two to three times more polyphenols per serving than fruits and vegetables.

Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant, which aid the body by neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to rapid aging and cancer. Popcorn also contains B vitamins and is high in fiber.

Just don’t confuse the homemade stuff with microwave or movie-theater popcorn. Most microwave popcorn contains chemicals, trans-fats, artificial ingredients and preservatives. It’s best not to touch it with a 10-foot pole.

Consider this: Making your own popcorn is cheap, easy, quick and incredibly versatile. The recipe below enjoys an extra health boost from nutritional yeast, which is rich in B vitamins. It also has sea salt with its high mineral content and olive oil, which is good for your heart. Nutritional yeast, known for its delicious, cheesy flavor, is available at Health Works in Craig or Vitamin Cottage in Steamboat Springs.

One final tip: If you want to minimize the fat, try popping your corn with an air-popper.

“Cheesy” Savory Popcorn

2 tsp coconut oil (grapeseed or vegetable oil will work as well)

½ cup popcorn kernels

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

  1. Heat a large pot on medium high. Add oil, let heat for one minute and then add popcorn kernels and cover with lid.
  2. Swirl pot at least every thirty seconds until popcorn is done popping. You'll know it's done when more than 2 to 3 seconds pass between pops.
  3. Pour popped corn into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast. Toss with a spoon to evenly coat.
  4. Try not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting!

Feeling spicy?

Make the recipe above, sans salt, and add a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.

Feeling Mediterranean?

Sprinkle with Italian herbs and parmesan cheese.

Feeling traditional?

There’s nothing wrong with a little butter! Good old-fashioned butter and salt is still worlds healthier than the stuff they put in microwave popcorn.

Feeling sweet?

Use a full ¼ cup of coconut oil to pop your corn. After the oil and the kernels begin to sizzle, sprinkle ¼ cup of granulated sugar over the kernels. Follow the rest of the popping instructions above, and sprinkle with salt.

Feeling hungry?

Double the recipe and make enough for the week! Just make sure to swirl the pot often to keep the bottom layer from burning.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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