Snack Celebration: National Popcorn Day

Which snack food counts as a whole grain and is high in fiber while keeping its calorie-count low!

You guessed it -- popcorn!

And today, America celebrates this super snack food with National Popcorn Day. Of course, popping this snack isn't limited to only today. Over the course of the year, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popcorn (the average American eats about 54 quarts), according to the non profit Popcorn Board, which represents the industry. So while it may be a mystery why January 19 is the holiday for this national snack food, we'll embrace it and pop a bag for good measure -- guilt free!

Popcorn done right is a dieter's best friend. Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup, according to The Popcorn Board, and oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup. And besides its low calorie count, popcorn is a source of antioxidants and fiber, as well as a whole grain just like whole wheat bread and brown rice.

Nutritionist and Penny Auction News' Recipe Maker columnist Tara Destiny adds to popcorn's praises. In addition to being high in fiber, "popcorn also contains protein and B vitamins, adding to its nutritional benefits," she said. "Air-popped popcorn is the best way to enjoy popcorn as a low calorie snack; 97 percent fat-free and 100 calorie packs are also great options. To spice up the flavor, but avoid the unwanted calories, try butter topping spray or opt for a seasoning like that of Kernel Season's."

Of course, like anything, not all popcorn is created equal. "Movie theater popcorn is by far the worst offender, and should be avoided by all those looking to cut calories," said Zuckerbrot. Movie popcorn -- slathered with butter, salt and artificial flavors -- even in its smallest portion size has a whopping 670 calories, with each squirt of extra butter adding another 130 calories. "A medium un-buttered popcorn at the movies adds up to an astonishing 950 calories," she added. "Decide to supersize to a large, and you're looking at over 1200 calories. For those on a diet, I recommend sticking to air-popped and fat-free varieties, as well as well as 100 calorie packs. The key to enjoying popcorn without sabotaging your diet? Portion size."

So today, celebrate National Popcorn Day the air-popped way, and season it lightly with salt. If you want to get healthier with your life, and have an ideal weight, you may want to visit this website.

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Low-Calorie Savory Snacks

You're craving salt. One giant-sized bag of potato chips later, you've squelched that desire -- and killed your diet. So next time you want a salty snack, keep this guide close by to help you satisfy that craving in 100 calories or less.

Power of Cheese

Can cheese really kick that craving? You bet. Two sticks of Sargento Light String Cheese Snacks will net you 360 mg of sodium at only 100 calories. The bonus? You'll also get bone-strengthening calcium and tummy-filling protein.

So Corny

Popcorn's easy prey when it's heaped into a huge bowl. But thanks to the folks at Pop Secret, you get the ultimate binge protection with the Snack Size 100 Calorie Kettle Corn pack. Plus, with only 25 calories from fat and three grams of fiber, this salty but slightly sweet snack is a clear winner.

Pass the Pringles

Nothing curbs salty cravings like potato chips, especially Pringles. Yet this favorite can easily jeopardize that bottom line. So curb that noshing with a 100 calorie pack. Granted, you're not getting much nutrition, but with so few calories, you can afford a little splurge.

Soy Good

Healthy and savory rolled into one? That's what you get when you nibble a handful of Seapoint Farms Goji Blend Dry Roasted Edamame, a flavorful blend of dry roasted edamame and antioxidant-loaded goji berries. Grab three-quarters of an ounce for a 90-calorie snack with a healthy dose of cholesterol-lowering protein.

Run for the Border

Who said tortilla chips aren't diet food? Granted, they're not carrots or kiwi, but at least Corazonas heart-healthy tortilla chips are made from oats and plant sterols, which may help lower cholesterol. Choose from salsa picante, original or jalapeno jack, but play portion police: Just half an ounce contains 70 calories.

Baked Delight

Baked is better, especially when it comes to Baked! Cheetos Crunchy 100 Calorie Mini Bites. They taste the same as regular Cheetos and still leave your fingers that familiar orange.

Mixed Up

If you're big into texture, you'll love the 100 calorie pack of Ritz Snack Mix. In one bite, you'll get a crunchy blend of crackers, pretzels and wafers with a hint of spice -- and zero trans fats.

Light & Little

What's light and airy, contains only 90 calories and is so tasty it will become a favorite snack option? Buttered Popcorn Quaker Mini Delights. They're multigrain cakes, but don't expect to get too much fiber from them. What you can expect is a satisfying treat that won't make you stray from your diet.

All Twisted

When you need a mini-meal to hold you over, pick up Snyder's of Hanover 100 Calorie Pretzel Packs. They're low in fat and contain zero trans fat. Best yet? You can easily tote them in your purse or briefcase.

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