The Healthiest Microwave Popcorn

September 6, 2010   20 Comments

A while back, I wrote a post on Homemade Microwave Popcorn that was enjoyed by many. The simplicity of it was shocking.

The Healthiest Microwave Popcorn

All you have to do to make your own microwave popcorn is put popcorn in a paper bag! Isn't that crazy? I also featured a cool book on adding different flavors to popcorn (see below).

Then, Kat contacted me:

Okay, great idea, but for a gal that knows she will never take the time to do this... what store bought microwave popcorn should I be purchasing?

You know something, Kat, Snack Girl has also been known to never take the time to fill bags with popcorn. Yes, I take off my Snack Girl cape and buy packages of microwave popcorn (in disguise, of course).

There have been a bunch of great products to keep us popcorn lovers happy. I chose Newman's Own because:
1. It is packaged in 100 calorie packages. Hurray!
2. They give all their profits to charity.
3. The ingredients list is popcorn, palm oil, salt, natural flavor, vitamin E. 5 ingredients - all of which I understand.

This tasted a little bland to me, but then I can choose to add other stuff to it (like crab cake seasoning).

You have to be really careful in the microwave popcorn aisle because other boxes of Newman's Own are not so great. If it says MOVIE on the package it usually means it is packed with fat and salt (and sometimes sugar).

My suggestion is to pop a simple popcorn and then just add some yummy flavors yourself. Hey, if you like butter, add butter! But, don't buy the crappy butter flavor microwave popcorn. Add REAL butter (yum).

This is a great healthy snack to add to your lunch box or your kids lunch box. For your child, it is packaged (they LOVE that) and it is healthy (you LOVE that).

Please share your favorite brand of microwave popcorn.



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I really like Trader Joe's 94% fat free microwave popcorn. Ingredients: popping corn, palm oil, salt, natural butter flavor, annatto coloring,, vitamin E, citric acid. It's 130 calories, and 2 Weight Watcher's points, per bag. The bags are smaller than the usual micro-popcorn bag.

What about Simply Salted?? I have been choosing that brand - am I making a wise choice?! :)

I made air popped, mix a little spenda and cinnamon, spray the popcorn with a little Olive Oil Pam, sprinkle the cinnamon mixture and do that a few times. Yum!

OK, I have to speak up here because the "I don't have time" excuse does *not* apply here. In the time it takes you to unwrap the microwave package, you could have saved yourself at least 1/2 the cost of that package and eliminated a piece of plastic from your garbage.

I am completely befuddled as to how store-bought microwave popcorn can save you time over pouring some kernels in a brown paper bag and putting in the microwave.

And now I feel bad because that last comment came out way more harshly than I had intended. So, I'm sorry for that ... <sheepish grin>

I have to agree with Julie - it's so freakin' easy to dump some popcorn in a bag. It takes seconds, and even my kids do it. It's the only way we make popcorn now!

Julie and Mo'Betta - no offense taken - respectful criticism is valuable to this site (and life :)

I have to agree, we just keep a scoop in the popcorn container and and the clip to hold our bag closed on the bags and it takes about 30 seconds to toss it together. Best popcorn I've ever had. Palm oil isn't as eco friendly either. Do a quick google search on palm oil and orangutans :-(

I'll have to agree with the no excuse crowd. I don't have the prices at hand, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that buying and popping organic corn would be cheaper than the regular boxed stuff.

Plus, the term "natural flavors" is extremely loosey-goosey. A pretty good way to hide anything you don't want to specifically list on the label.

another healthy snack with 2ww points is the kardea nutrition bar--also with 7g fiber (5g soluble fiber) to support satiety. Natural, vegan, really tasty. limited supply of free samples from

I go back and forth between making my own...and eating the "bad" stuff. Just the other day I made my 2 year old daughter and myself homemade microwave popcorn. She didn't even know the difference. Having a pack of paperbags and the kernals right is quick and easy. There is a popper bowl you can buy from the store. Haven't tried it. But another "no excuse" you have to pour it into a bowl anyways.

I'm really surprised to see any type of microwave popcorn endorsed on a site that is supposedly recommending "healthy" foods. When corn is heated quickly, it produces carcinogens. In my opinion, if you want to be healthy, the first step is throwing away your microwave. All it does is destroy any nutrients food may have and it additionally produces chemicals from foods that are harmful at the least, potentially deadly at most...

I recently had to purchase a new microwave, and unfortunately I keep burning the popcorn using the paper lunch bag method. It worked fine in my old microwave at full power. Both microwaves are the same power and size. I tried adjusting the power and time, but it keeps burning. So, I have had to go back to the "bad" stuff. The Newmans you suggested is pretty good and I also add flavorings to it.

I think the Fit & Active Light Butter brand at Aldi's is probably similar to the Newman's Own you spoke of, but it has an exceptionally good flavor--not bland at all! :)

Popcorn, homemade is best. Popped in coconut oil, then sprinkle brewers yeast and some sea salt.

Try 1/2 tbsp good olive oil and 1/4 cup good popcorn in a large glass mixing bowl. Top it with a microwave cover and pop for about 3-1/2 minutes (listen for popping to know how long your microwave takes). I like to sprinkle a bit of garlic salt on mine when finished. You can add seasoning before popping if you prefer. I don't miss the "buttery" taste at all. It is oily enough to hold seasoning but not soggy.

Microwave? Please... just heat some coconut oil and add your organic popcorn in a pan on your stove. Add sea salt & brewers yeast for a cheesy flavor & added nutrients!!

The microwave will kill all the nutrients.

So, I don't usually engage in conversations like this on the Internet, but I don't like to see unfounded fear being propagated.

It is a fallacy that microwaves kill nutrients in food. You can certainly do dangerous things with your microwave that are not good for your health -- using plastic wrap and plastic containers, for example -- but generally speaking, microwaving food does *not* kill the nutrients in the food. As a matter of fact, microwaving most vegetables in the microwave w/ just a small amount of water retains just as many (and in some case, more) nutrients than steaming those same vegetables.

Check out this article for just one of many that explains how microwaves work and why they won't "kill nutrients":…

I actually intended to link this article instead of the one above, but they're both information, so more's the better. :)

Here's one from Harvard:…

I am more concerned with the chemicals that are released when you use the packaged microwave popcorn. I bought a popcorn popper and I use coconut oil and season it with salt and real butter.

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