Popcorn: A Whole-Grain Snack
Popcorn is a "good-for-you" snack that is a fun and convenient way for you to meet your daily intake of whole grains.
What Makes Popcorn a Whole Grain?
Whole grains include all three parts of a grain: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. The Bran is the multi-layered outer skin that protects the kernel from damage by weather, water, pests and disease. It contains antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber.
The endosperm in the middle of popcorn provides energy to the plant and is the largest part of the kernel. It contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of vitamins and minerals. The nutrient-packed germ is the embryo of the plant that will reproduce if fertilized by pollen. It contains B vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy fats. In contrast, refined grains have been stripped of the bran and germ.
Pop Up Three Cups for a Whole Grain Serving
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that we follow an 1800 to 2000-calorie meal plan containing six servings of grains daily, with at least three of these servings being whole-grain. It's not all that difficult to get those three servings! One serving of whole grains is equal to just one ounce.
What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent of Grains?
- 3 cups popped popcorn
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1 /2 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1 /2 small (2 ounce) whole wheat bagel
- 1 /2 whole wheat English muffin
- 1/ 2 cup brown rice or whole wheat pasta
- 5 whole wheat crackers
- 6-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
Popcorn Boosts Overall Nutrition
Popcorn provides a full complement of nutrition benefits, including dietary fiber, protein and B vitamins. By adding other healthful ingredients to popcorn you can make your own delicious, quick and easy snack mix.
Check out the benefits of the following "mix-ins":
- 2 tablespoons whole almonds add protein, iron and fiber
- 1 /3 cup chopped dried fruit adds iron and fiber
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese adds protein and calcium
- 2 tablespoons soy nuts adds fiber and calcium
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds adds protein and fiber
- 1 /2 cup dry unsweetened cereal adds iron and B vitamins
- 10 pretzel sticks adds B vitamins
Popcorn...A Nutrient Packed Snack
Nutrition experts give popcorn high marks for its poppin' good benefits.
- Popcorn is an excellent source of fiber, which increases the feeling of being full and helps to steady blood sugar levels.
- The fiber in popcorn, in conjunction with a low-fat eating plan, may help lower fat and cholesterol.
- Popcorn helps aid in weight control as part of a healthy, low-fat, balanced eating plan. Popcorn can be incorporated as a satisfying low-fat snack, reducing your cravings for other high-fat, high-calorie snacks.
Easy Ways to Include More Whole Grains in Your Diet
- Pop up a mini-bag of Jolly Time Healthy Pop 94 percent fat-free Microwave Pop Corn as a snack or accompaniment to lunch.
- Replace up to half of the white flour with whole wheat flour in recipes for cookies and breads.
- Try a hot or cold whole grain side dish made with brown or wild rice, kasha or bulgar.
- Choose whole grain breads, tortillas, bagels, pita pockets and rolls.
- Try rolled oats or crushed whole grain cereal as breading for meats, poultry and fish.
- Use whole grain bread or cracker crumbs in meat loaf.
- Snack on ready-to-eat, whole grain cereals such as toasted oat cereal.
Avoid Un-popped Popcorn Kernels
If you get many un-popped kernels when you make popcorn, it is usually because the corn has lost its natural moisture. Dried-out kernels will not pop. Help restore dry popcorn using this quick and easy tip: Cover the popcorn kernels with cold water for five minutes, drain and blot well with paper towels, then cook as usual.
A Whole Grain Sweet Snack. Turn popcorn into sweet snack by sprinkling with 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.