Popcorn is one of the best snacks to munch on at the cinema or watching your favorite TV show lying on the couch. Of course, you can eat popcorn in large quantities, especially when you get caught up in the movie’s action, but is this food keto-friendly? You will find the answer in this article.
What Is Popcorn?
Popcorn is expanded corn under heat and is a much healthier snack than chips or chocolate. Air-popped popcorn can be a nutritious snack as it is a great source of carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
The first commercial popcorn machine was invented in 1885, and microwave popcorn in 1981. Popcorn became a popular cinema snack with the advent of the commercial engine in 1885.
Popcorn is considered a whole grain, and it’s a super popular snack made using dried corn kernels. You can make popcorn on the stove, microwave, or an air popper.
Popcorn Nutrition Value
Popcorn is a whole grain, and it’s considered super nutritious. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that may contribute to your overall wellbeing.
According to the USDA website, 2 cups of homemade air-popped popcorn contain:
- Calories – 62 kcal
- Total Carbs – 13g
- Protein – 2g
- Fat – 0.6g
- Fiber – 2.4g
- Net Carbs – 10.6g
Homemade popcorn is super low in calories but very filling as it’s high in fiber.
Is Popcorn Keto?
The short answer is yes, you can consume popcorn on a keto diet, but it depends on the amount you consume.
So, yes, popcorn is keto as long as you are able to fit popcorn into your daily carb limit.
For example, if your limit is 50grams of net carbs, you can enjoy about 2 cups of popcorn. However, to stay in ketosis it’s important to choose Air-popped popcorn that’s the most nutritious and it doesn’t contain unhealthy fats or chemical flavorings.
To make Air Popped Popcorn I usually use this Hot Air Popper than needs no oil and makes popcorn super fast.
Popcorn and Ketosis
To maintain ketosis, it’s crucial to limit carbohydrate intake. The 15 grams of carbs in a serving of popcorn can be concerning for some keto followers, as it can take up a significant portion of their daily carb allowance (usually around 20-50 grams of net carbs). However, there are some ways to enjoy popcorn on keto:
Portion Control: Smaller servings of popcorn can be accommodated within a keto diet. Consider measuring your popcorn portion to ensure you stay within your daily carb limit.
Choose Wisely: Opt for air-popped popcorn without added butter or sugary seasonings, as these can significantly increase the carb content. Season it with keto-friendly alternatives like olive oil, butter made from grass-fed cows, or nutritional yeast.
Incorporate Into Macros: If you plan to include popcorn in your keto diet, be mindful of your daily carbohydrate intake. Adjust your other meals to accommodate the popcorn if necessary.
Monitor Ketone Levels: Some individuals may find that even small amounts of popcorn affect their ketone levels. Consider using ketone test strips to gauge how your body responds to popcorn.
How Can I Include Popcorn In The Keto Diet?
If you love snacks and are wondering if popcorn is one of the best snacks to eat on a ketogenic diet, here’s how you can enjoy it:
- Choose Air Popped Popcorn which is lower in carbs, calories, and fat.
- Make sure you measure out your serving size and use a keto calculator to determine your daily carb allowance.
- Use healthy fats such as unsalted butter, coconut oil, and seasonings to flavor your popcorn.
- Store-bought pre-popped popcorn is not recommended on a ketogenic diet as it’s loaded in chemicals and super easy to overindulge.
Keto Popcorn Alternatives
Here are a few keto-friendly snacks that you can try instead of popcorn:
- Zucchini Chips – chips and veggies at the same time, great idea, right?
- Zucchini Fries
- Cheese Chips – are one of my favorite alternatives because they are made almost entirely with cheese.
- Cheese Crackers
- Pork Rinds – Like popcorn, they’re salty, crispy, and addicting. Pork rinds, unlike popcorn, do not contain any carbohydrates.
- Beef Jerky
- Cheddar Cheese Crackers
- Keto Tortilla Chips – are incredible to dip in salsa, guacamole, or a cheesy sauce.
- Salami Chips
- Roasted Cauliflower – maybe it doesn’t as yummy as the popcorn is, but trust me that you have to try my recipe.
- Nuts and Seeds
How Many Carbs Are In A Serving Of Popcorn?
A 3-cup serving of air-popped popcorn contains around 15 grams of carbohydrates.
What’s The Best Way To Make Keto-Friendly Popcorn?
The best way is to air-pop popcorn and season it with keto-friendly options like olive oil, butter from grass-fed cows, or nutritional yeast.
Are Microwave Popcorn Bags Keto-Friendly?
Most commercial microwave popcorn bags contain additives and seasonings that are not keto-friendly. It’s best to make your own air-popped popcorn.
So, in conclusion, is popcorn keto?
While popcorn is relatively high in carbohydrates, it can still be enjoyed in moderation on a ketogenic diet. The key is to be mindful of portion sizes and choose plain, air-popped popcorn or season it with keto-friendly ingredients.
If you’re strict about staying in ketosis, you may want to limit or avoid popcorn altogether and opt for alternative snacks that align with the keto guidelines.