Popcorn is a source of fiber. According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic, 2 cups of air-popped popcorn provide 2.3 grams of fiber (see Resources), making it a healthy snack food if you don't load it with butter and salt. Another healthy food is olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fat and "can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels in your blood," says Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. (see Resources). Wouldn't it be great if you could combine the two? Well, you can. Instead of using an air popper, pop your popcorn in olive oil for a healthy snack. The oil makes the popcorn just moist enough for salt to stick to it--no butter needed.
Things You'll Need
- Unpopped popcorn kernels
- Large saucepan with lid
- Olive oil
- Large bowl
Put the kernels in the saucepan. Remember that as the kernels pop, they will greatly expand and quickly fill up your saucepan. Pop a small amount of kernels the first time so that you get an idea of how many popped kernels your saucepan can hold.
Add enough olive oil so that you can see the oil, but not so much that it covers the kernels (like a salad with a bit much dressing--the lettuce isn't swimming, but you can see the dressing).
Put the lid on the saucepan.
Put the saucepan on a burner set at medium-high heat. Do not walk away; depending on your burner, the pan and the kernels, the popping may begin sooner than you think.
As the oil heats and the kernels begin to pop, grasp the handle of the saucepan with one hand and the lid with the other hand. Gently shake the pan back and forth to move the kernels around on the bottom of the pan. This prevents burning.
When the kernels are done popping (some don't pop and will begin to burn, which you'll smell), empty all popcorn into the bowl and add salt.