Pop That Snack

It is always in my mission to discover healthy foods that are comforting as well. This can be even harder with snacks, as snacks theoretically should be limited in calories and fat, but typically contain quite a lot of calories, in order to feel comforting. When you snack, you want something munchy and crunchy and salty and tasty. And I want exactly that without the huge impact on the rest of my day. I discovered a great one that all you know about – popcorn. Air popped popcorn, sans extra fat and salt. The key here is to strip down this typically unhealthy, over-processed snack to its base – a whole grain, with fiber! Then, build it back up with healthier alternatives than butter or trans fat laden flavoring found in movie and bagged popcorn. Drizzling a little extra virgin olive oil and a little salt will allow you to control the fat, processed ingredients and sodium and still have it taste good. Or you could try melting some Smart Balance instead of butter – it tastes like butter or margarine but is made from olive oil and is actually pretty low in fat and cholesterol. But you want the number one thing to do with popcorn? One that will taste the best and add zero fat and zero calories to your lightly popped whole grains? Dijon mustard! Yes, you heard me right. Mix a healthy amount of any kind of spicy, horseradishy Dijon into the popcorn afterward and use your fingers or a spoon to incorporate it well into the popcorn. It already contains just the right amount of salt, moisture and flavoring to add to popcorn just what it needs to be a perfectly comforting snack. The taste is actually more interesting than butter or oil and really goes well. Once I tried it, I couldn’t stop eating it. And all I had to think about was a little fiber and a little salt. Not too bad for a snack, right? I know you want some now, so go air pop some popcorn and dress it up with mustard. And snack away, sans the guilt!

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