Make every bite count with whole-grain popcorn snacks
Published 7:30 am Thursday, July 29, 2021
As many people start getting back into normal routines, they’re returning to familiar on-the-go lifestyles by heading back to work, traveling to new destinations and enjoying time with loved ones.
While you get out to explore and gather with family and friends again, remember you’ll need fuel for your adventures. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, most Americans fail to get enough whole grains each day, opting instead for mostly refined grains.
Foods like tasty whole-grain popcorn offer an easy health hack so you can make every bite count. Try getting in the habit of popping 9 cups of popcorn in the morning and dividing it into two containers. Season one container with salt and herbs, the other with a pinch of sugar and cinnamon so you can alternate between sweet and salty throughout the day. Bringing delicious options like these while on the go can help satisfy hunger pangs while adding the fiber your body needs.
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Because mouthwatering whole-grain popcorn is versatile and 3 cups is equal to one serving of whole grains, it’s a simple yet flavorful option for meeting dietary recommendations. It can be a breeze to add it to snacks like Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars or Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix.
Visit popcorn.org to find more nutritious snack ideas.
Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
Nonstick cooking spray
8 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup whole natural almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds.
In small saucepan over low heat, boil honey, brown sugar and butter 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into 12 bars.
Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan; refrigerate until ready to serve. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator.
Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 9 cups
5 cups popped popcorn
3 cups whole-grain oat cereal
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup peanuts or other nuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
In large, microwavable bowl, stir popcorn, cereal, raisins, nuts and seeds; set aside.
In small saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until boiling; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after each minute.
Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.