3 New Ways to Use Popcorn

Last Update: September 28, 2022

Of course it’s movie theater staple, but popcorn doesn’t have to be relegated to the cineplex. You can do a lot more than you think with those crunchy white kernels—which is why we always keep some on hand.

Popcorn is a great choice nutritionally, too. This simple snack is a surprisingly good source of polyphenols (beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants), as well as fiber. It’s also super low in calories per portion, with just 30 to 40 calories per cup. So mix it up! We’ve got three new ideas to keep your meals popping.

1. As crunchy popcorn croutons

Toss popped popcorn with olive oil (or toasted sesame oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil—whatever you prefer), herbs, a pinch of salt, and nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven until the popcorn is totally dry and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Use on top of salads or soups or any other place you’d normal use a bread-based crouton!

If you like flavored popcorn, then you can simply add those straight-from-the-bag varieties to salads and soups.

2. Tossed with trail mix

Trail mix is delicious—but the calories can be outrageous. For a mega-sized portion without mega calories, mix 2 tablespoons of trail mix with 2 cups of popped corn and a pinch of cinnamon. You’ll still get your trail mix fix without that way-too-full feeling.

3. Chocolate Covered Popcorn

If you’re craving chocolate, pair it with a healthy dose of fiber. Drizzle some melted dark chocolate over popped corn and let it cool. Then nosh away—you’ll eat much less than you would if you indulged in a candy bar.

Bonus tip: If you want to pop popcorn at home but don’t want to use the stove-top method, you can pop plain kernels in a brown paper lunch bag in the microwave. All it takes is 3 minutes!

Photo credit: Sarah Sosiak via Flickr

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Stephanie Clarke RD and Willow Jarosh RD

Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh are registered dietitians and the duo behind C&J Nutrition, a NYC-based nutrition consulting, communications, and workplace wellness company. These nutritionists share nutrition information in fun and practical ways that work with busy lifestyles. They're media spokespeople, featured in numerous health and lifestyle magazines, TV and web shows, and professional journals, and are contributing nutrition experts at SELF magazine. In addition to blogging for the Huffington Post, C&J Nutrition are the bloggers behind Bumble Bee Foods' Bee Delicious blog and are directors of nutrition at Healthy Kids Concepts. The duo delivers healthy eating inspiration on Instagram, providing a glimpse into what they eat each day and offers daily healthy eating tips via Facebook. Stephanie and Willow both love to cook, travel, and get outdoors. When they're not planning their next business adventure, you’ll probably find Stephanie showing her new daughter the DC sights or playing in her flag football league and Willow will likely be meandering around the Central Park reservoir or searching Manhattan for the least crowded tennis courts.

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