October is national popcorn popping month

October is National Popcorn Popping Month. Take advantage of this healthy, inexpensive and easy on-the-go snack.

In 1999, October was officially recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as the national popcorn popping month. This whole grain makes for a great low-calorie snack, depending on how it is prepared. For those families on the go, this easy whole grain food can be at the ready in the car or for that post game energy boost. For those families asked to bring a snack for the team or classroom, this inexpensive snack can be air popped the night before, packaged up and handed out without much fuss. For under $5.00, enough air-popped or stove-popped popcorn and brown paper lunch sacks can be purchased for multiple snack duties.

Air-popped popcorn has approximately 30 calories per cup and oil-popped popcorn has approximately 55 calories per cup. Popcorn has a serving size of three cups. There are 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates in a three-cup serving of popcorn.

Popcorn starts out being a healthy snack, but when some extras are added, it becomes a snack to avoid. Salt and butter are not the only items that can be added to popcorn. Try this recipe with poppy seeds and lemon zest. Plain, air-popped popcorn can be dressed up with healthier ingredients. A light spray of olive oil with a sprinkle of chili powder, Parmesan cheese or sea salt can add additional flavors. Try adding air-popped popcorn to dried fruit or nuts. For additional recipes, visit the popcorn board website.

Popcorn should be stored in an air tight container to keep it fresh and with the appropriate moisture content needed for popping. Refrigeration is not necessary and may cause the popcorn to dry out if left there long enough. Popcorn kernels can be purchased at most grocery stores or from a farmer growing popcorn.

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