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Healthy snacks: Air-popped popcorn with pizzazz

Popcorn kernels
Popcorn kernelsKimberley O'Dea

Air-popped popcorn has always been the healthier way to go when it comes to snacks. Popcorn is low in calories and touts health benefits such as fiber and zinc. Plain popcorn, however, it can get a very boring. So spice it up a bit! Add a variety of different ingredients to add zip and pizzazz to your popcorn.

If you don’t have an air popping popcorn machine, it is easy enough to pop the kernels in the microwave. Place 1/3 cup of natural or raw kernels in a lunch-size brown paper bag. Twist the top of the bag lightly, so that steam can escape from the bag. Place the bag in the microwave and set on high setting. Cook for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Some microwaves are quicker, so some experiments on timing may be necessary.

Kale and red pepper flakes
Kale and red pepper flakes Kimberley O'Dea

Kale and red pepper flakes

The nutrients of kale and the metabolism boost red pepper flakes turns boring popcorn into a super healthy snack.
1 small but of kale leaves
Olive oil cooking spray
4 cups of air-popped popcorn
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Lay the kale leaves out on a microwave safe dish, lightly spray with olive oil.  Cook on a high setting for 1 minute.  Flip the kale leaves and continue to cook on high until the leaves are dried and crisp.
In a large bowl, toss the crisp kale leaves into the popcorn and season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Seaweed and chilies
Seaweed and chilies Kimberley O'Dea

Seaweed and chilies

Add a mix of Japanese seasonings like togarashi (a chile blend) and crumbled nori (dried seaweed) for a spicy healthy snack.
2 sheets nori (dried seaweed), crumbled
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon togarashi chile seasoning
1 tablespoon kosher salt
5 quarts of air-popped popcorn
Olive oil cooking spray

In a food processor, pulse the first four ingredients to a fine powder. In a large bowl, lightly spray popcorn with olive oil. Toss the seaweed crumble mixture with air-popped popcorn and serve.

Cinnamon and honey
Cinnamon and honey Kimberley O'Dea

Cinnamon and honey

For something a little sweeter, but still healthy!
1/3 cup air popped popcorn
2 tsp natural honey
1 tsp freshly grounded cinnamon

Transfer the popped popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle the honey over and sprinkle with the cinnamon and toss to combine.

Dark chocolate and sea salt
Dark chocolate and sea salt Kimberley O'Dea

Dark chocolate and sea salt

Dark Chocolate provides antioxidants to your healthy snack.

1/4  up dark chocolate chips
1 Tsp olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil spray
Sea salt
Ground cinnamon

Place air popped corn in a large bowl and set aside. 
Place chocolate chips in a small pan over a low heat and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in olive oil.  Lightly spray popcorn with the extra virgin olive oil cooking spray. Add sea salt and cinnamon; toss to coat.
Drizzle with melted dark chocolate and serve.