Packaged microwave popcorn comes in a huge range of calories depending on other ingredients as well as weight. I have a simple, healthier, and less expensive way to make your own homemade 100 calorie microwave popcorn.
3 tablespoons (40 grams) of popcorn kernels, according to the USDA contains
- 120 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 29 grams of carbs
- 1.5 g fat
- and 6 grams of fiber!
All that fiber makes popcorn a healthy, whole grain, that most definitely fits into a balanced diet. According to heart.org
“When it’s air-popped and lightly seasoned, popcorn is an efficiently healthy snack. That’s because it is a whole grain, and high-fiber whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other health problems. Federal dietary guidelines say half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, and popcorn packs more fiber per serving than whole-wheat bread.”
(Check out this meal plan to eat from all the food groups, including grains!)
Where popcorn turns into something unhealthy is when copious amounts of fat and salt are added for flavor. Also, when the serving size makes it easy to over eat.
There are products on the market today that I do like that do a good job of keeping the additives minimal and measurements controlled. That’s one reason I like the 100 calorie bags of Skinny pop.
But, even Skinny pop can break the bank if you love popcorn.
And then there is popcorn from the movie theater! Eating one large tub of popcorn from a Cinemark theater gives you
- 1120 calories (it contains 7 servings)
- 63 gram of fat
- 1050 mg of sodium
- 119 grams of carbs
- 21 grams of protein (found on the nutrition info from Cinemark here)
Now, hopefully you can avoid eating the entire large tub. And this is where my single serving, homemade, healthy, DIY popcorn appears!
Since 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels is 120 calories, I actually use 3 tablespoons for my microwave popcorn, because I’m always left with a few unpopped kernels. If all your kernels pop, you’ll want to measure 2.5 tablespoons of kernel.
While I’ve been using the paper bag method to pop my own microwave popcorn for years, it wasn’t until I saw this popcorn bowl at Walmart that I’ve become obsessed. Obsessed to the point that I’ve purchased ALL the Kernel seasonings, ,and I save 29 grams of carbs every day for popcorn!
Method for making your own 100 calorie popcorn:
- Measure 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels. Even though I haven’t given it a solid test, I like the fluffiness of the Orville Redenbacher brand. I get great popcorn every time. Sometimes the store brand doesn’t pop as well. To keep this 100 calories, if all your kernels pop, only use 2.5 tablespoons next time.
- Place popcorn kernels in a glass bowl, like THIS ONE!! I love this bowl, because the lid doubles as a measuring tool, giving you exactly 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels so you can stick to your 100 calories!
- Cover popcorn with a lid. If you get the Ecologic Popper, it comes with a lid. If you used your own bowl, a silicone lid works. I’ve even used a hot pad that covered the opening of my bowl, although some kernels DID escape!
- Cook on high in a microwave from anywhere between 1 min. 40 seconds, to 2 minutes 20 seconds. Your microwave time will vary, so start with 2 minutes.
- Flavor it up! This is where the magic happens. I use butter flavored cooking spray with Kernel seasonings! The cooking spray makes the seasoning stick to the popcorn. For the seasonings, my favorite right now is the caramel cheddar, and it’s only 3 calories per serving. But I love them all! This should add minimal or zero extra calories. (for my 2020 grocery buying guide for other seasonings, check out this post!)
It’s a glass jar, with a silicone handle, that measures PERFECTLY 3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels. This little bowl is consistent with my popcorn timing, and I never burn a single kernel.
So GRAB this single serving microwave popcorn bowl, and some seasonings! You’ll get a 100 calorie dessert, and just might get as obsessed as I am about saving some carbs for your daily popcorn!!