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Smart Snacking: Popcorn

I have suspected for years that the convenient microwave popcorn bag I was eating and feeding to my children was probably not the healthiest choice. However, I recently came across some information regarding just how bad microwave popcorn is for your health. In a study out of the New England Journal of Medicine, they found that a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, informally known as “popcorn lung,” was caused by "the inhalation of volatile butter-flavoring ingredients" in workers in a microwave popcorn factory. Now, I realize that we don't inhale that many fumes from microwave popcorn. However, that report does not give me comfort especially when there are other aspects of microwave popcorn that trouble me. Microwave popcorn has added salt and fat in the form of butter or oil neither of which is health promoting. Instead of buying your popcorn in bags consider a safer and relatively simple solution. Making your own popcorn from kernels is easy! Here are a few methods you might try!

1) Purchase an air popper from any Target or Wal-Mart. They are under $20 at Amazon. 

2) Place the popcorn kernels in a paper bag (the kind we used to take our school lunches in) and place in the microwave just as you would a store-bought bag.  Hit the popcorn button and watch it go! Click here to Purchase.

3) Buy a glass popcorn maker for the microwave.  This is what I have and is great because it is reusable and dishwasher safe.  Just like the paper bag you simply put popcorn kernels in the bottom and put it in the microwave as you would the store-bought version.


The beauty of these methods is you control the salt that goes on your popcorn.  It will be a little plain and we are not used to that so try sprinkling a little low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos and some nutritional yeast on top.  It will replace the buttery, salty taste you have become accustomed to with a lot fewer detrimental side effects!




  1. Thanks for the information Riley…but you are sucking the life and fun out of snacking . I will say, however, that my fondest memories of traditional popcorn cooking are deep rooted from childhood. We would cook it in a pan with oil then shake it with melted butter and salt in a large paper shopping bag. I’m glad to revert back to our previous tradition.

    Regards, Jeff

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