Wondering whether your favorite movie time snack can be incorporated into a keto diet? Are you curious about the relation between popcorn and keto? We’ve got you covered!
What is Popcorn?
Humans first cultivated corn or maize at least 10,000 years ago, in what is now Mexico. Corn is a staple food, and the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas. People have enjoyed popcorn for thousands of years.
Modern History Of Popcorn
In the 19th century, people popped corn on stovetops by hand. Popcorn kernels were widely available on the East Coast of the United States. In the 1890s, a Chicago candy store owner named Charles Creator invented a steam-powered popcorn maker. Popcorn consumption continued to increase in the ensuing years, and still today it remains the most popular movie night snack!
Popcorn is an antioxidant-rich whole grain. That’s why you’ll see many nutrition and health experts refer to popcorn as healthy despite it being a snack food.
Air-popped popcorn, in particular, is low in calories and can help you get many important nutrients into your diet. You can prepare popcorn in a variety of ways to make it healthy and flavorful at the same time.
- Calories: 225
- Fiber: 5g
- Net Carbs: 25g
- Fat: 10g
- Protein: 5g
Air-popped popcorn has a relatively low glycemic index of 55. Thanks to its high volume and its fiber content, popcorn is also quite filling. This makes it easier to control your portions when compared to most other snack foods. Popcorn kernels contain an impressive amount of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, making them a tasty snack with a number of health benefits.
Popcorn and Keto
When you start a new eating plan, the first thing you want to know is whether you can still enjoy your favorite foods. If you’re ready to embrace the keto diet, that means being prepared to drastically cut your carbs and increase your intake of high-fat foods. Remember, the primary goal of the ketogenic diet is to get the body into ketosis—a metabolic state where the body mainly uses fat as fuel instead of carbohydrates.
According to standard popcorn nutrition facts, you should be able to eat about a cup of popcorn and still stay in ketosis. As your body adapts to ketosis, you may experience cravings for comfort foods, as your body adapts to the change in diet.
A single cup of oil-popped popcorn using coconut oil has just 4 grams of net carbs and 2-3 grams of healthy fat. It’s a great way to satisfy your cravings without kicking you out of ketosis.
When You Should Avoid Popcorn on a Keto Diet
For most people, self-discipline around food is not the easiest thing. If you tend to eat lots of popcorn, then you definitely shouldn’t indulge in this addictive snack. The number of carbs you can eat per day on keto will vary according to your body type, goals, and health history. Some people can eat a full five-cup serving of popcorn with 25 grams of net carbs and stay in ketosis, but that’s not the case for everyone. If you find yourself overeating, gaining unwanted body fat, not losing weight, or otherwise not hitting your keto goals, you might want to avoid popcorn on keto.
If you do want to eat popcorn, use the stovetop method or an air popper instead of microwave popcorn. That way you have control over what oils and any toppings you use, and you can avoid unnecessary artificial flavors and other unhealthy ingredients.
How to Have Popcorn While On Keto
If you’re on the keto diet, you can use coconut oil, butter, or olive oil to cook popcorn on the stove, or you can add healthy fats after you air pop it.
When you go to the movie theater, keep in mind that theater popcorn is most likely highly processed and filled with harmful additives and added sugars. Hence, they need to be avoided at all costs.
When you’re following a keto diet, you should base your diet around foods that have a different macronutrient distribution than that of popcorn or foods with a carb count that’s low when looking at the typical serving. This will help you get enough fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals while keeping carb intake within limits.
Popcorn can easily fit into a keto diet with a daily limit of 50 grams of net carbs and can even be included in more restrictive versions of the keto diet. Not to mention, if you’re following a keto diet to lose weight, popcorn only has 90 calories per serving.
However, a 3-cup serving would take up a large part of your daily carb allotment. If you want to enjoy popcorn on a keto diet, consider limiting other high-carb foods, so you don’t exceed your net carb limit.
Remember that even on a strict keto diet, popcorn won’t be your only source of net carbs. Don’t forget to factor in all carb content of other carbohydrate sources so you don’t exceed your limit and exit ketosis.
In other words, for those who are already in ketosis, a little bit of popcorn here or there might work just fine. For others, once ketosis is established, they might choose to cycle out of ketosis at various intervals and include popcorn during these times.
Keto-Friendly Popcorn Alternatives
Popcorn can be had while on Keto, but probably isn’t the best source of healthy fats. Here are some other low-carb snacks to consider:
- Keto-friendly nuts: Nuts such as macadamias and pecans are a great alternative to popcorn as they offer some saltiness and crunch, and they’re easy to carry. They’re also packed with health benefits like reduced inflammation and immune support.
- Pork rinds and beef jerky: These meaty, low-carb snacks are a great option when you want to indulge in something savory and snacky without stressing out about carb counting. Plus, they’re protein powerhouses to keep you feeling full longer.
- Cauliflower: This might sound strange at first, but cauliflower makes an incredible movie time snack. It’s low-carb, nutrient-dense, and has great texture, making it a healthy snack and one of the most beloved keto veggies. All you have to do is season the cauliflower florets with your favorite keto-friendly spices, and roast them until tender.
How to Make Popcorn At Home
It is important to be aware of portions when eating popcorn on a keto diet since it can be easy to overconsume. To help keep portion size in check and feel more satisfied, you can add fat from coconut oil, butter, or olive oil to popcorn. Making popcorn at home instead of buying pre-popped varieties can also help you control how much you eat and what you add to it.
- To make popcorn at home, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels.
- Cover the pot with a lid while the kernels pop.
- After popping stops, remove from heat and season with oil or butter and salt.
Popcorn can actually be keto-friendly, but only when had in moderation. Popcorn is not the number one choice for a keto-friendly snack. But compared to most snack options, it’s low-calorie, filling, and free of trans fats and artificial flavors. The key to enjoying popcorn on a ketogenic diet is to limit your daily net carb intake, control your portions, and track your progress towards your goals.
If you’re making progress towards your goals while eating popcorn, then it’s working for you. But you’re not making progress, it’s time to take a closer look at your calories, net carbs, and portion sizes, including popcorn consumption.
If you’re a popcorn lover, this is a sugar-free, gluten-free snack option that can be a great option. Cover with some cheddar cheese or parmesan, and sea salt for a high-fat, savory snack.
We hope we could clear all your doubts regarding popcorn and keto! Get yourself started today and Stay tuned for more such keto weight loss journeys, health content, and recipes! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for the daily dose of the Keto Lifestyle!