Air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack. A 1-cup serving has only a trace amount of fat and no cholesterol, and is a source of dietary fiber and nutrients, such as manganese, iron and magnesium. It's tempting to toss the popcorn with melted butter to get seasonings to stick to the popped kernels, but this one act significantly increases your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Instead, reach for a small amount of a healthy, monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil, or a cooking spray. To maximize the benefits you'll receive from popcorn, choose low- or no-sodium flavor options instead of salt.
Flavorful Olive Oil
Place freshly popped popcorn in a large bowl. Drizzle the popcorn with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Stir the popcorn with a mixing spoon or your hands to distribute the oil throughout the popped kernels as much as possible, adding more oil as needed to coat all of the popcorn.
Sprinkle the popcorn with your desired seasonings and mix again. Repeat, if needed.
Fat-Free Cooking Spray
Put the hot, air-popped popcorn in a large bowl. Spray the popcorn with cooking spray.
Mix the popcorn thoroughly with a spoon or your hands, and spray on more cooking spray as needed to coat all of the popcorn.
Add the seasonings and toss the popcorn to coat.
Things You'll Need
Mixing spoon, optional
Experiment with oils other than olive oil, such as avocado or walnut oil. Or use an oil that has been flavored with herbs, garlic or chili peppers.
Spray on butter-flavored cooking spray for a buttery taste without the fat.
Flavor popcorn with low-sodium, low-fat seasonings, such as chili powder, Chinese five-spice powder, a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, grated Parmesan cheese, curry, herbs like thyme or a salt-free seasoning blend.