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Popcorn contains 4 grams of fiber in every 1-ounce serving.
When most people think of healthy foods they can add to their diet to help them lose weight, popcorn usually doesn't make the list. It should, however, says chemist Dr. Joe Vinson from the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Vinson calls popcorn a nearly perfect snack food. Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner agrees, pointing out that popcorn is a whole grain that is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. The key to using popcorn as a weight loss tool is to substitute it for other, higher calorie snacks and to stick with air-popped popcorn tossed with herbs and spices instead of butter or oil.1.
Store unpopped, whole-kernel popcorn at home, ready to prepare when you need a snack and want to resist the temptation to consume less diet-friendly foods. Avoid purchasing commercial brands of microwave popcorn, many of which are high in fat and sodium.2.
Pack single-sized servings of air-popped popcorn in small zip-top storage bags. Keep a few bags in your purse, bag or desk at work for a healthy way to deal with hunger pangs while on the go.3.
Season your popcorn with salt and pepper or flavorful spices and herbs such as curry powder, cayenne, five-spice powder or chili powder. Avoid tossing the popcorn with butter or oil to keep the calorie count as low as possible.
- Whole-kernel popcorn
- Small zip-top storage bags
- Desired seasonings, such as salt, pepper, spices and herbs
- If you're having trouble keeping track of where your daily calories are coming from, try keeping a detailed journal of everything you eat for at least a week. Use the journal to identify the times in your day when eating air-popped popcorn can help you avoid hunger and high-fat, high-calorie snacks.
- Avoid using too much salt or high-sodium seasoning mixes on your popcorn. Excessive sodium consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and stroke.