Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Great Popcorn Search

Yesterday I mentioned my hungry feeling that I attributed to insufficient water intake. Well it hit again today, and I had plenty water. Now I'm thinking I need to increase my whole grain, non-veggie carbs a little as I'm training harder these days and going pretty light on the whole grain carbs.

Anyhoo, microwave popcorn has become one of my new favorite snacks because it typically satisfies my hunger/late afternoon desire to snack just because that's what late afternoons at your desk are for, right? Also, because you pretty much eat popcorn the way you eat chips, I feel like I'm eating something bad for me when really the brands I buy really don't interfere with my diet.

Moving on: I didn't have any popcorn with me at work, so I went to the grocery store nearby to pick up some. My trainer Anna Mae knows I'm trying to limit my salt intake so she mentioned to me that Smart Balance had a lot less sodium than than "natural" 50% less salt brand I had been using.

When I got to the grocery store, the Smart Balance Smart & Healthy was right there. But, I still decided to scan all the options. BANG! My head started hurting. Those darn nutrition labels on microwave popcorn are insane with all the unclear information.

What's up with "One serving = 3 tablespoons; calories when unpopped, calories when popped, serving is 5.5 cups, but 1 cup has x calories" etc, etc? Ghee whiz! Why can't popcorn companies just say, "X calories per bag; X servings per bag". Really, who the heck eats unpopped popcorn!

After too much time had passed for me to be thinking about popcorn, it occurred to me--I eat clean; I don't count calories, so I don't really care how many calories are in a bag. I care about the list of ingredients and how much sodium is in a bag. It there aren't a lot of ingredients and ingredients heavy on the fat and salt, then I'm good. Popcorn without anything added is a pretty healthy snack. So no real worries if I watch the ingredients.

It also dawned on me that the sodium content is what it is--popped or unpopped.

Whew! Search concluded. Smart Balance Smart & Healthy with 85 mg of sodium (compared to 220+ in most brands) was the way to go. I mean, who doesn't want to be Smart & Healthy? Note, this popcorn doesn't have a lot of taste, but I need it to satisfy my hunger more than my taste buds. I'm not a big salt or butter person anyway--they get in the way of the food--so it's all good for me!

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