I’ll be the first to admit it….there is SOMETHING about movie theater popcorn that is utterly delicious. And, no visit to the movie theater feels complete without it.
I also know that just two or three handfuls isn’t enough of this addicting, salty, crunchy snack. Before you know it your down to the crumbs….and those can’t be left behind either! I hope I’m not alone with this…
Unfortunately, the traditional movie theater popcorn doesn’t do much for our health. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest a medium popcorn and soda combo at a Regal movie theater is calorically comparable to three McDonalds Quarter Pounders with 12 extra pats of butter!!!!
Give me a minute while I pick my jaw up off the ground…..
If you have worked with me, heard me speak or attended one of my workshops you know that I’m not one to dwell on calories. Using calories is a misguided way of choosing healthy foods, in my opinion. To put is simply – 300 calories of broccoli and 300 calories of jelly beans just are not the same nutritionally speaking.
However, the comparison of popcorn to fast food and a load of butter take it to a whole new level. This is NOT ok – especially since sitting and watching a two-house movie isn’t exactly a super energy burning activity.
Aside from the ridiculous number of calories in that box of popcorn we should also talk about the QUALITY of the ingredients. Popcorn ingredients and process varies from theater to theater. But, suffice to say that cheap, low quality ingredients are the norm everywhere. They want to make max profit on that $8 box they’re selling!
Corn is one of the main GM (genetically modified) foods in the US, so you can be sure that this is the kind movie theaters are popping up into those white clouds of crunchy goodness. GM foods have become a concern for many in regards to our health and environmental impacts.
But the yumminess of our popcorn doesn’t stop there. The oil and salt is what makes eating it so satisfying! Many years ago movie theaters used coconut oil to make their popcorn but it has since been demonized as being an unhealthy saturated fat (in case you haven’t heard, coconut oil is NOT bad for you!). In response theaters started popping corn using low quality, canola oil – a VERY unhealthy trans fat. The salt is your traditional, iodized salt which has been depleted of critical minerals. Adding that buttery topping? You’re squirting artificial flavorings, colors and who knows what other weird stuff on there.
I’m not here to ruin your next movie theater experience. I want to give you an amazing alternative that will satisfy the biggest salt craving and add some wonderful nutrients to this normally guilt inducing snack.
Bring your big purse and sneak a few bags into your next movie date…..not that I’m speaking from experience here….
I do recommend getting a air popcorn popper. They usually run no more than $20 and will provide you will endless bowls of delicious, fresh, chemical free snacking. And, a cheap movie snack!
Sea Salt Popcorn with Kale Crumbles
For the kale crumbles
1 large bunch of kale (you can also use bagged kale if you prefer)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
For the popcorn
1/4 cup organic popping corn (the organic label ensures that you are also buying a non-GMO product).
6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons sea salt
Nutritional yeast, to take (optional)
Instructions – kale crumbles
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Remove ribs from kale and cut into large pieces (1 1/2 to 2 inches). Place kale pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with the melt coconut oil. Toss until well coated. You want the kale to be slightly coated with oil, not dripping. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt.
3. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, turning the leaves halfway through. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven when most of the kale is crisped – often not all will crisp up in the oven, but will finish while the kale cools on the pan. Place the pan on a heat safe surface until the kale cools completely.
4. Once the kale is cool, crumble it in your hands into a small bowl. Set aside.
Instructions – popcorn
1. While the kale is in the oven you can make your popcorn using an air popper.
2. If you don’t have an air popper you can do it on the stovetop. Using the biggest pot you have heat about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. When hot add your corn, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium-low (the temperature may vary depending on your stove). Shake the pot every 30-45 second to keep the kernels moving around so they don’t burn. Covering the pot lid with a dishtowel can help keep the heat from your hands. Keep shaking until you hear popping, turn off the heat and let the pot sit on the stove until the popping stops. You might want to give it a shake or two while the corn pops to keep the kernels moving.
3. Once your popcorn is done, pour it into a bowl, drizzle with the melted coconut oil and sprinkle with salt, nutritional yeast (if using) and kale crumbles. Don’t go too crazy with the salt! Don’t forget the kale has some salt on it and the nutritional yeast also has a salty flavor. Taste and add more salt if needed.