Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in the United States. According to Statistica, up to 29.67 million Americans consumed six or more bags alone in the United States. Although butter is king, it’s not a healthy topping, so you might consider other options to spray on your yummy snack.
You can spray your popcorn with water, freshly squeezed citrus juice, vinegar, butter, and oils (grapeseed oil, olive oil, or coconut oil). If you are adventurous, you could also try different sauces, such as soy sauce or tabasco sauce, depending on your taste.
There are a variety of benefits to spraying your popcorn as opposed to just pouring butter. Not only are some oils healthier than high-fat butter, but sprays can also help your powder toppings to adhere to the kernels giving you more flavor. Here’s why you should consider spraying your popcorn and which sprays will best suit your taste buds (and waistline).
What Sprays Are Good for Popcorn?
Oil-based sprays with coconut, avocado, and olive oil are good for popcorn. They provide healthy fats that increase energy and improve brain and hormone function. Stay away from corn, sunflower, and soybean oils, as they’re typically highly processed and offer less healthy versions of fatty acids.
Most Healthy Popcorn Sprays
- Coconut oil spray – offers several healthy saturated fats, including lauric acid.
- Avocado oil spray – rich in oleic acid and lutein, a powerful antioxidant
- Grapeseed oil spray – offers vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Olive oil spray – rich in antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Vinegar – excellent for weight loss as it is a natural appetite suppressant.
- Citrus sprays – can freshen your popcorn flavor and raise healthy cholesterol.
Not So Healthy Popcorn Sprays
These sprays are a flavor boom on your puffed popcorn if the taste is what you crave. However, due to their high-fat content, it should be a guilty pleasure only now and then. The not so healthy alternative sprays for your popcorn include:
- Caramel seasoning spray.
- Full cream butter sprays.
- Vegetable oil butter spray.
- Sunflower oils.
- Soybean oil.
- Corn oil.
Why Spray Your Popcorn?
You should spray your popcorn to add flavor or get your seasoning to stick properly. Sprays also prevent your seasoning from collecting at the bottom of your popcorn bowl. You can also use low-fat sprays to give flavor to your popcorn without increasing your calorie intake.
Adding Taste and Flavor
According to an article on the Michigan State University website, adding spray butter to your popcorn is a proper and tested way to add a pop of flavor. You can also use different flavored oils or mix them for added taste and flavor. Adding these oils can make your popcorn crunchy and crispier.
Different sauces, such as tabasco sauce or soy sauce, coupled with a splash of vinegar or citrus juice, will also make your popcorn tastier. Therefore, it all depends on what taste or flavor you seek.
Health Considerations – Reducing Calories
Over the past decade, there has been a growing focus on health and wellness in culinary literature. Consumers are increasingly looking for healthier options with fewer calories.
While popular opinion is that butter and oil sprays are lower in calories, research suggests that most butter spray products sold in stores contain about one calorie per spray. Therefore, spraying butter can add up to 25 or more calories per portion.
You, however, have the option to make your homemade butter spray using extra virgin olive oil and butter extracts if reducing calories is your goal. This version will have fewer additives and preservatives common in commercial butter.
Alternatively, you can spray vinegar or citrus juice on your popcorn to make it healthier and tastier.
Getting Your Seasoning to Stick on the Popcorn
To get perfectly-seasoned popcorn, you want to ensure that your seasoning doesn’t spread unevenly or settle at the bottom. If this is your goal, spray some water on your popcorn after it has popped.
You can also mix water with oil (flavor or unflavored) or melted butter. Once you spray your mixture evenly, sprinkle your ground seasoning. This stage is also an excellent time to add your flavoring agent or spices and herbs.
Here’s a YouTube video on how to make a perfectly-seasoned popcorn:
Additionally, spraying water, oil, or a mixture of salted water, oil, and butter allows for a more even coat on the kernels. This way, the salt, flavoring, or seasoning stick much more quickly.
What Are the Benefits of Spraying Over Pouring?
The benefits of spraying over pouring include a uniform consistency and coating over individual kernels. Spraying also prevents the popcorn from going soggy and prevents the seasoning or topping from collecting in the bottom of the bowl or bag.
You can easily apply melted butter, water, oils, vinegar, or sauce on top of the popcorn using a tablespoon or measuring jar. In fact, in an episode of The Doctors, Dr. Travis Scott argues against spray oils, opting instead for using regular oil.
But pouring these options on your popcorn presents one common challenge; the popcorn becomes soggy. One of the main benefits of spraying is that it stops your popcorn from absorbing liquids that make it lose its crisp texture.
Secondly, using a mister spray allows you to uniformly spray your melted butter, water, or oil on your popcorn. Consequently, the flavor spreads evenly on your portion for a uniform taste. If you intend to prevent your popcorn from sticking to the bottom of the bowl, spraying also offers a convenient approach, covering a larger surface area of the bowl with ease.
Does Spraying Present Any Significant Health Benefits to Its Alternative?
A healthy spray for popcorn over butter offers significant health benefits over using butter. You can introduce beneficial vitamins and fatty acids to your diet, reduce your calorie intake, and lose weight.
Spraying vinegar or freshly squeezed citrus juice on top of your popcorn presents positive health and weight-loss implications. Alternatively, substituting healthier oils such as avocado, coconut, and olive oil provide more natural health benefits than butter.
What you add to your popcorn will largely depend on your specific tastes or goals. If you like spicy food, you may add chili to your water. If you like it extra salty, you can add salt to some water. If you like it sweet, you can add flavored butter, oils, or a splash of various sauces. Experiment and find out which flavor best fits your taste.