Trying to find healthy snack alternatives can be tricky when you want something similar to your delicious corn and potato chips. So, finding something equally satisfying while also nutritious will help you be overall healthier while still satisfying those cravings. While many might think popcorn is unhealthy, that’s not always the case.

Popcorn is a protein snack. Popcorn only contains a small amount of protein. However, adding other high-protein ingredients, such as cheese, will make it a higher-protein snack. Popcorn is a healthy alternative to other snacks, as long as it’s prepared healthily.

The rest of this article will discuss the nutrition facts of popcorn, how to increase the protein content of your popcorn, and what types of popcorn to avoid.

How Much Protein Is In Popcorn?

Although popcorn is considered a protein snack because it contains protein, it doesn’t have much. Therefore, if you’re looking for a healthier high-protein snack alternative, adding extra protein-rich foods will increase the protein amount.

Popcorn has about 3 g (0.10 oz) of protein per serving. Although popcorn doesn’t have the highest amount of protein, it’s incredibly high in fiber and other essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, making it a healthier snack alternative.

If popcorn appeals to you, you can increase the protein content in several ways. Keep reading because I’ll discuss that now.

What Should I Add To Popcorn To Increase Its Protein?

Many people enjoy popcorn with a lot of butter and salt, making it taste mouthwatering. However, those ingredients are not very healthy. A great way to increase popcorn’s health benefits is to cut out the unhealthy add-ins and consider more health-conscious options instead. Adding extra protein to popcorn is a great way to turn it into a healthier snack, but what can you add to it?

To increase protein in popcorn, consider adding ingredients such as low-fat cheese, peanut butter, or a protein powder mixture. Adding a protein-rich topping to your popcorn not only increases its protein but also improves the taste, therefore reducing the need for unhealthy toppings like butter.

Several recipes online involve mixing protein powder with peanut butter or other high-protein toppings. However, if you don’t feel like going through the trouble of making the popcorn yourself, I recommend checking out the ICON Meals Protein Popcorn (available on This protein popcorn comes in various flavors and contains 10 grams (0.35 oz) of protein — significantly more than regular popcorn.

How Much Protein Does The Average Person Need A Day?

Many health-conscious people everywhere keep track of their daily protein and vitamin intake. So, knowing how much protein you need a day is essential to understanding how much popcorn you need to snack on.

The average person needs about 60 g (2.11 oz) of protein a day. However, your weight, age, and activity level precisely determine the amount you need. Consuming about 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight is a reasonable calculation to go by, but it’s best to always consult your doctor.

Of course, getting all of your protein for the day by eating popcorn alone isn’t recommended. That’s because there are a few unhealthy aspects to popcorn. I’ll get into that later in the article.

Is Popcorn A Healthy Snack To Eat?

Popcorn is a delicious snack for any craving. Depending on your topping choice, it can be both savory and sweet, but what are the nutritional benefits? Is it considered a healthy snack?

Popcorn is a healthy snack to eat if it’s adequately prepared. Popcorn contains high levels of fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B1, B3, and B6. While microwave popcorn is easy, it often has many harmful and unhealthy ingredients, so air-popping your popcorn is recommended.

Compared to many other snack foods, popcorn is considered much healthier as it contains various vitamins and high amounts of fiber.

Is Popcorn A Junk Food?

Cutting out junk food from your diet is a smart way to stay healthy. However, telling the difference between a healthy snack and junk food isn’t always easy, but it’s a critical skill. While you might think that popcorn falls under the junk food category, that’s not necessarily true.

Popcorn isn’t junk food. Popcorn is a whole grain with many health benefits. It’s an excellent source of fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Popcorn is typically low in calories and, compared to other snacks, it’s considered a healthy snack choice.

A common popcorn myth is that it’s junk food because people often buy bagged or microwave popcorn. However, popcorn itself isn’t junk food — it’s a natural, nutritious snack.

What Makes Popcorn Bad For You?

Although popcorn has its benefits, there are also some things in popcorn you need to be careful with. Overeating popcorn in one sitting can make it unhealthy for you. So, you have to eat it in moderation.

Bagged and microwave popcorn contain a lot of sodium and sugar, both of which are bad for you in high quantities. Air popping your popcorn without adding salt and butter is much healthier. However, it still contains sugar and fat, which are unhealthy in large amounts.

Eating air-popped popcorn as a snack rather than other processed, unhealthy snacks like potato chips is healthier. However, this also depends on the type of popcorn and what it’s topped with. 

While air-popped popcorn might be healthier than other snacks, bagged and microwave popcorn are not good for you. They often contain extremely high amounts of salt and sugar. But not all bagged and microwave popcorn are like that. Therefore, it’s best to always look at the nutrition facts before consuming any form of popcorn you haven’t popped yourself.

Final Thoughts

Popcorn is a healthy protein snack, especially if you top it with something like low-fat cheese or peanut butter. Popcorn is an excellent snack if you make it yourself by air popping it and adding your own toppings. Unfortunately, bagged and microwave popcorn aren’t the healthiest due to the added sugar and high sodium content.

Therefore, it’s best to eat popcorn when you prepare it yourself without additional ingredients like butter and salt.

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