The Granola Bar Versus The Popcorn Bowl

Popcorn vs Granola Bar

October 28, 2014   13 Comments

Let’s say you were hungry and someone offered you a 100 calorie granola bar or 100 calories of popcorn. Which would you choose?

I get to do some fun stuff because I am Snack Girl. One of my favorite events is a conference called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Ten thousand registered dieticians from around the nation get together to learn the latest in nutrition research and I always leave with a brain full of new ideas.

One of the many studies that I learned about involved popcorn (a food that I have advocated eating many times). Popcorn is cheap, easy to make, and whole grain. Keri Gans, RD shared with me the LATEST on how it can be a better choice.

This study focused on a morning snack (one between breakfast and lunch) and participants were given either 100 calories of popcorn or 100 calories of a granola bar. After 30 minutes, they asked how hungry they felt.

Guess what? People who ate the popcorn felt more satiated (fuller).

It makes sense to me because the volume of popcorn is so much bigger than the granola bar. It takes:

  • Longer to chew it
  • More bites to eat it
  • More space in your stomach (I think)

The key here is that you aren’t going to be grabbing another granola bar before lunch because you are still hungry.

I think the reason we snack on food that is fast to eat is because we lack time. We shove it in our faces because we are moving onto the next thing but ultimately we pay for it by eating too many calories too quickly.

Next time you snack, think about how long it takes you to eat it. Try popcorn, apples, celery, carrots, or some other food that slows you down. You might lose an inch without lifting a finger.

What do you eat for your morning snack?

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I've been a proponent of microwave popcorn for years. You can use a few drops of your favorite flavored oil (or none at all) and a 1/4 cup of kernals. I nuke it for 2 min 45 seconds.
I use a popcorn bowl with a cover from Amazon or you can just use a paper bag. I finish it with sea salt and a tablespoon or so of melted butter and I am good to go for a tv show or two.

on October 28, 2014

My favorite mid-morning snack are one or two Medjool dates, pits removed and a few pieces of walnuts stuffed in! Fabulous!
And popcorn is my evening favorite when I want to crunch something around 9:00. Homemade with a little canola oil, then a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and sometimes garlic salt.

on October 28, 2014

I love an apple with a little nut butter (natural peanut butter is my favorite). Popcorn is often my go to snack in the evenings when I want something crunch and maybe a little salty.

on October 28, 2014

Oh, I love home made popcorn! I use an air popper (I've tried the microwave version and it doesn't work well for me). Once done, I toss with a bit of extra virgin oil, sea salt and tumeric and/or nutritional yeast - yummy! And for a sweet snack, I too love walnut stuffed medjool dates. I also add a bit of cinnamon to my walnut medjools.

on October 28, 2014

Our favorite way to make popcorn is in a brown paper bag in the microwave. We buy Orville Reddenbacher popcorn kernels in bulk at Costco. Put desired amount in the bag. No oil; no butter. Just popcorn in the bag. Since microwaves vary, stay near the microwave so you can hear when the kernels stop popping. Delicious and super easy cleanup.

on October 28, 2014 air popcorn with some melted coconut oil - healthy!!! Often I spray coconut oil as it's coming out of the popper, and add the Nutritional Yeast - it sticks better.
....or if you have a sweet tooth, as I do, you mix cinnamon and splenda - then sprinkle that on the popcorn instead of the nutritional yeast! It really does taste like Kettle Corn!

on October 28, 2014

Helene, I love your ideas. This is great for diabetics in my opinion and popcorn is a whole grain which is best for us.

on October 28, 2014

It's interesting - I asked myself the question in your opening line, and my answer was, "It depends on the granola bar. :)" I don't buy them because most of the widely available ones are mostly sugar, but I make them occasionally. When I use nuts, seeds, coconut oil, nut butter or maybe dried fruit, then I would definitely choose one of those over popcorn, because I am allllways hungry and have finally realized that higher protein and lower sugar (including many carbs) is the best way to satisfy my hunger for a good long time. I was a child of the 90s when everything was low-fat; no wonder I gained 15 pounds eating pasta and rice and cereal and Snackwells :) When I would have a big bowl of pasta, even if I got full to the point of being stuffed, I would be looking for a snack again within an hour or two. That being said - I have no idea what 100 calories of a (very nutrient and calorie-dense) granola bar would be...if it's half an inch of a bar then I guess I would still choose the popcorn! I do like popcorn at night, like others have said, for when I'm not really hungry but just want some crunch.

on October 28, 2014

LOVE popcorn....I have 2 pans just for popcorn....a Whirley popper and a heavy stainless pan, on the small size with a lid I got at a thrift store for 5 bucks....I love the Whirley popper, I just wish they would make a 3 quart.....and once a week I treat myself to 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter on my popcorn....can't stand microwaved matter who makes it...or worse air give me my pans, 1/2 tablespoon oil and 3 tablespoons of popcorn and I am a happy camper...oh and a sprinkle of salt...

on October 28, 2014

My morning snack is a combo of cold coffee, a bit of chai latte syrup purchased from a local coffee purveyor, and a cup of almond milk. I make about 3 cups, comes out to 3 WW points for two big glass-fulls when poured over ice. Much better deal for me point wise (and money wise) than purchased lattes.

on October 28, 2014

Yes, snacks that take a long time to eat are key! My go-to faves are frozen grapes and frozen bananas.

on October 28, 2014

I get really hungry once I've walked to work, so I have a hard boiled egg. I might start packing popcorn as well!

on November 7, 2014

How did you know? Popcorn is my 'go to' snack when I get home from work, before dinner is ready. My son also loves popcorn and he was not happy when the orthodontist told him NO POPCORN with his braces. But I have seen him snatch a few handfuls - can't say that I blame him...

on November 9, 2014

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