The Skinny on Popcorn

Lori Boxer
Weight★No★More℠ Diet Center

(c) deepspacedave Fotosearch_k88211713



As clients know, when it comes to certain snacks (and all frozen desserts), I prefer things that are pre-measured. This is definitely the case when it comes to popcorn because pre-measured takes away the “scooping issue.” On the rare occasions when I do buy popcorn, which is only when I know my daughter will be visiting, it is always pre-measured, one-serving bags of microwave popcorn. And for those who are Skinny Pop fans, I recommend the one-serving 100-calorie mini-bags instead of larger bags where you have to figure out how many cups you have to scoop to stay with a Grain-serving of calories (120). Then, you have to resist the temptation to give yourself another scoop or two!


However, I do get asked from time to time about how to go about the issue of portion control when it comes to popping your own. So, here it is.


The “popcorn basics” when it comes to kernels is that the standard measure is one ounce (2 TBS) of kernels makes about 4 cups of popcorn.


That one-ounce, 4-cup serving plain (air-popped, no oil or butter) = 120 calories = 1 Grain.


With oil, however, that measurement changes.


There are 120 calories in one tablespoon of oil (and about 14 grams of fat).


The same one-ounce (2 TBS of kernels) of oil-popped popcorn, therefore, has roughly 240 calories.


That’s about 60 calories per cup.


That means the same one-serving (4 cups when it was air-popped without oil) becomes 2 servings of 2 cups each.


So, if you do the oil, 2 cups = 1 Grain.




Oh, by the way, while on the subject of popcorn, if you’re thinking of movie theater popcorn . . .  DON’T. DON’T. DON’T.


Using three movie theater chains as a reference — UnitedArtists (UA), Regal Cinemas, and AMC; they all had the exact same nutritional stats, so we assume all other movie theater chains are identical or close to it — here are the facts.


Kid’s size (5 cups), plain  – 300 calories, 20 grams of fat
Kid’s size (5 cups), with butter 470 calories,  37 grams of fat


Small (7 cups), plain – 400 calories, 27 grams of fat
Small (7 cups), with butter – 630 calories, 50 grams of fat


Medium (16 cups), plain – 900 calories, 60 grams of fat
Medium (16 cups), with butter – 1,200 calories, 97 grams of fat


Large (20 cups), plain – 1,160 calories, 77 grams of fat
Large (20 cups), with butter – 1,640 calories, 126 grams of fat


These are some scary, scary stats . . . and it only gets worse when you consider all the sodium!!!


THINK AHEAD before going to the movies. Have a plan. If you want to stay on track, if you want to feel good about making the right decision, pack your own.

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