Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix – Whole grains for Cinco de Mayo

Photo courtesy the Popcorn Board

Savoury snack foods tend to have a somewhat unsavoury reputation, nutritionally speaking. Many are ultra-processed and deep-fried with some wearing an undeserved health halo simply for including one vegetable or another in the product’s name.

Then there’s popcorn. While it’s often forgotten, popcorn is a whole grain and a super way to add whole grains onto your menu. And a gluten-free one, to boot.

But not all preparations are created equal.

Beneath the terms “unbuttered” and “air-popped” can lurk a fat-laden selection. For example, even “unbuttered” movie theatre popcorn can still provide more than 500 calories and 20 grams of fat for a medium bag. Cheese-flavoured air-popped varieties have been known to clock in with similar fat counts as potato chips.

But your choice need not be air-popped either if you want to use some oil when you make it.

Popcorn, besides providing over a gram of fibre per cup, also supplies surprising amounts of antioxidants in the form of compounds called phenolic acids. Researchers, from the University of Scranton, assessed the antioxidant capacity of raw popcorn kernels along with those following the popping process.

The good news is that the antioxidant power survives the popping process. In some cases, nutrients can be destroyed in the cooking process but not when it comes to this snacking favourite.

Here’s a recipe from the Popcorn Board, just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix

1 quart popped popcorn
1 tsp nutritional yeast (available in health food stores)
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300⁰F.

Spread popcorn on a baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn.

Heat about 7 minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving:
• Calories: 80
• Protein: 2 grams
• Fat: 5 grams
• Carbohydrate: 10 grams
• Dietary fibre: 2 grams



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Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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