Popcorn is a classic snack. There’s nothing quite like settling down to watch a movie with a big bowl of popcorn nestled in your lap.
Many would agree that its distinct squeaky texture and hearty flavor is nothing short of addicting. You can imagine the excitement stirred when scientists started buzzing that this unprocessed, 100% whole grain snack may actually contain a higher concentration of polyphenol antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables.1
So, if popcorn is 100% whole grain, high in fiber, low in calories, and packed with healthy antioxidants,2then what’s with the bad rap? Let’s just say you can thank the movie theaters and microwave popcorn companies for that.
You might already be aware of the excessive sodium and fat in movie theatre popcorn, but that’s not the whole truth. Diacetyl and related chemicals used in the artificial butter flavoring have actually caused lung damage and illness upon consistent exposure. If inhalation of these chemicals can have such toxic consequences, why should consumers ingest these chemicals?3
And if you’re thinking about avoiding movie popcorn and sticking to convenient microwave popcorn, that isn’t exactly the answer. Not only do most flavored microwave popcorns also contain diacetyl-related chemicals, but the bags themselves have been incriminated. A fatal toxin known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been detected in the coating of the bags 4, the same compound used in Teflon-coated non-stick pans, used to prevent the popcorn from sticking¹. It is a concern that when heated, this toxin may leach off of the bag into the popcorn, and into the bloodstream. PFOA is a likely human carcinogen and immunosuppressant, and has caused cancer in many lab animals during testing². Well, the big bowl of popcorn on your lap suddenly doesn’t feel so comforting after all. Don’t be too disappointed.The truth is…the difference is all in the way you pop it!
By air-popping your own popcorn you can avoid cooking in high-temperature fattening oils, and preserve the healthy snack profile of this pure whole grain snack. For this Paper Bag Popcorn Recipe, there’s absolutely no need for a fancy electric air-popper.
Brown Paper Bag Popcorn | Ingredients
- 1 Brown Paper Lunch Bag
- ¼ Cup Organic Popcorn Kernels
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
- Seasoning of choice
*Serves 2. Use 2 Tbsp. of kernels for a single serving (~3 cups popped)
Brown Bag Popcorn | Preparation Instructions
- Using an ordinary brown paper lunch bag, measure out ¼ cup of organic popcorn kernels and pour them in the bag.
- Fold down the top of the brown paper bag 2-3 times and place it in the microwave for about 1 minute & 30 seconds, or until the popping slows down (1 pop every few seconds).
- Flavor your popcorn:
Just drizzle a small amount of olive oil onto your popcorn before adding on your seasonings; if you have an oil mister, give it a few sprays.
The seasoning will stick nicely to the popcorn, and the olive oil adds a great flavor. You can keep your popcorn simple and just add a touch of sea salt, or you can experiment by adding a combination of seasonings. Some ideas include sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, dried herb mixtures, nutritional yeast, onion powder, lime juice, and truffle oil.
Just lightly sprinkle the seasonings on the popcorn in the bag, shake it up, and you’re all set… Enjoy the popcorn right out of the bag!!
Popcorn Nutrition Facts
*This nutrition facts panel is for a 1-cup serving size of popcorn. According to the ADA, one single serving size of hot air-popped popcorn is about 3 cups³. 5
Hope you enjoy this Paper Bag Popcorn Recipe and share some more topping ideas when you try this out!
- Popcorn Study Puts Scranton Faculty Member and Student in National Spotlight . Scranton Univ. Press. 2012 ↩
- Moisse, K. Popcorn Packs Antioxidants . ABC News. 2012 ↩
- Thomas, C. Microwave Popcorn: (still) bad for you . Ethical Nag. 2012 ↩
- Nutrition Facts and Analysis For Snacks, Popcorn, Air-Popped . Self Nutrition Data. 2012. ↩
Wow! When you take out the hydrogenated coconut oil, butter and salt… I truly didn’t realize that popcorn could be so harmless. 93 calorie snack. I’m going to give this a try.
Isn’t that awesome? Keep in mind that 93 calories is for not 1 cup of popcorn…but 3 cups!! You can keep your snack below 100 calories, and actually feel full and satisfied from it. No need to feel like you are cheating yourself. Enjoy! 😉
I’m eating it right now, and it’s so good! If you have weird taste buds like mine, try this: in your half tablespoon of olive oil, put a few drops of sesame oil. Sprinkle with Coriander seed and Chinese Five Spice! Not greasy on your hands and tasty! Now I’m not going to need much of a lunch though…LOL!
A new snack to the repertoire, thanks Jessica!
Thanks Jessica – popcorn was one of my all time favorites that I gave up around 4 years ago, I will definitely eat your recipe.
Phenomenal! Only last night was I having some popcorn which I have refrained from for a while now, and was thinking, ‘there must be a healthier way to make this stuff’. So thanx guys, great article.
I actually got a popcorn machine last Christmas from my sister, because when I was a kid I used to love eating popcorn. I only used it a couple times because I didn’t want the extra calories as I loaded it with butter! (I could never just put a little bit on). But I think I’ll pull it out and try this recipe and renew my love for popcorn!