Movie popcorn is a standby favorite that is chosen by millions of movie-goers each year. But, how healthy is this snack for you, really? No matter if you crave something salty, crunchy or sweet, there are some alternatives available that are just as delicious, but much healthier for you and your family.
Why is Buttery Popcorn Bad?
It is important to understand why this food is bad for your health. In general, plain popcorn is a relatively healthy food. As the name suggests, it is simply popped corn. However, the popcorn toppings are what can often make it one of the most unhealthy movie snack foods. Typically, movie theater popcorn is loaded with high amounts of butter. Butter is dangerous not only in that it is high in calories, and therefore can lead to weight gain and possible obesity, but it also contains high amounts of sodium.
Research has linked sodium to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even some types of cancer. If you must have butter on your popcorn, try to find some that is made from low or fat-free milk, and preferably is unsalted.
Pitas and Hummus
So, what should you eat in place of popcorn? One great alternative is pitas and hummus. Pitas are a traditional middle Eastern flat bread that is typically dipped in hummus. Hummus is a delicious bean spread made from either garbanzo or pinto beans, olive oil, and multiple herbs and spices. Humus is great because not only do the beans contain high amounts of fat-free protein, which are important in keeping your muscle strong, but the olive oil is a rich source of unsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats, which have been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease and stroke, unsaturated fats can actually help prevent and even in some cases treat these conditions.
Chips and Salsa
For something with a little more crunch, try chips and salsa. Like hummus, salsa is a great, healthy food that contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fats. While chips can sometimes contain high amounts of salt, it is possible to make your own tortilla chips at home with little difficulty that are practically salt-free.
Start by purchasing some high quality tortillas from your local grocery. Use a pizza cutter to cut each tortilla into eight, evenly sliced segments. Place the segments on a cookie sheet, and bake at low temperature for at least 10 minutes. Flip the tortilla slices, and bake another 10 minutes. These tasty treats are not only delicious, but are much healthier than their store-bought alternatives!
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Finally, if you have a sweet tooth, a fruit and yogurt parfait may be right up your alley. Fruits contain lots of important vitamins and minerals, which are important for good health. In addition, fruit is rich in fiber, which like unsaturated fats has been found to be effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, stroke and even obesity. To make this treat, start by layering low-fat yogurt in a parfait cup. Spoon some fresh cut fruit over the top, and sprinkle with granola. Continue until the cup has been filled.