Popcorn Day: This is how to enjoy the snack in the healthiest way

Klalit Health Services recommends making the popcorn yourself at home but it's good to consume healthy substitutes such as fresh and cooked vegetables.

Popcorn is displayed for sale next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, February 13, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER)
Popcorn is displayed for sale next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, February 13, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER)

"It is better to make the popcorn independently at home and thus both enjoy the taste and get more healthy nutrition," advises Mariana Auerbach, director of the dietary service at Klalit Health Services in the Dan-Petah Tikva district for International Popcorn Day on Thursday. 

Auerbach provided a series of recommendations for making popcorn in a healthier way and for consuming other healthy dietary substitute snacks.

"It is possible to buy roasted corn kernels to make popcorn, but it is important to buy them as raw material as it is and without additives," she explains. "To prepare the popcorn, you can put it in a microwave-safe plastic bowl and make it in the microwave. This way, it contains a reduced amount of calories and is also nutritious and satisfying. 

"On the other hand, the popcorn found in packages ready to be prepared in the microwave is rich in fat and carries many calories."

Recommending healthy substitutes

"Fresh and cooked vegetables provide us with a large amount of dietary fiber, which is essential for maintaining normal health in general and in particular, the health of the digestive system," she says. "Regarding being overweight and maintaining weight, the presence of fiber in the stomach creates a feeling of satiety, and enables better control over eating needs and habits."

"The popcorn found in packages ready to be prepared in the microwave is rich in fat and carries many calories."

Mariana Auerbach
A woman eats popcorn while watching television.  (credit: PXFUEL)A woman eats popcorn while watching television. (credit: PXFUEL)

According to Auerbach, winter vegetables are also rich in vitamins, thus strengthening the immune system. 

"These simple foods can be turned into delicious, nutritious, low-calorie snacks. For example, cut into strips a variety of different vegetables such as red pepper, carrot, cucumber, kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower and green beans. Arrange the vegetables on a large, flat plate by groups in a variety of colors and sprinkle them with a mixture of za'atar or sumac. You can also cut an artichoke into strips, cook it in salt water and season it with lemon."

She also recommends boiled or roasted legumes

"Roasted legumes are a delicious, satisfying, very nutritious and especially warm snack for cold days, such as chickpeas, dry peas and soybeans. It is important to note that the legumes are not fried or salt-free." Auerbach also noted that three-quarters of a cup of legumes is equal to one slice of bread. Therefore, you can "snack" on them, but in moderation.

On the other hand, she recommends being careful of eating crackers in large quantities, which contain many calories, as well as salty snacks of various kinds, which contain large amounts of fat and calories.

"It is important to be aware of the temptation of eating cookies that supposedly look small, but the reduced appearance is deceiving and we are tempted to eat a larger amount of them - and thus without feeling like finishing the whole package," she explains. "It is also important to minimize the consumption of sweets of all kinds, chocolate of all kinds and dried fruits."

What to avoid

She also recommends avoiding hot drinks as much as possible, from various hot chocolate drinks, which contain large amounts of fat and calories. On the other hand, she recommends drinking more herbal tea of ​​various types, which do not contain calories and also make you feel relaxed. You can also combine warm soup drinks consisting of fresh vegetables.