Happy National Popcorn Day! How do you plan to celebrate the delicious, nutritious—not to mention, incredibly versatile—whole grain snack food? We may have a few suggestions…
Americans consume a whopping 13 billion quarts of the popped stuff each year, according to The Popcorn Board, a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness of popcorn as a smart and satisfying snack choice.
And all those folks are seriously onto something. Popcorn isn’t just low in fat and calories, it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. It’s also the perfect pick for those adhering to a gluten-free diet.
Are you ready to up your popcorn game in honor of National Popcorn Day? Following are more than 40 easy ways to transform those crunchy kernels from ordinary (albeit extremely tasty) to extraordinary.
And we’re not talking about melted butter here (been there, done that!). Experiment with sauces, spices and toppings that appeal to you. Craving something savory? Try tossing your popcorn with:
- Bacon bits
- Garlic salt
- Parmesan cheese
- Nutritional yeast
- Italian seasoning
- Cilantro and lime juice
- Peppercorn and lemon zest
- Curry powder
- Five spice powder
- Wasabi powder
- Chili powder
- Matcha powder & sea salt
- Jerk seasoning
- Taco seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
- Barbeque sauce
- Buffalo wing sauce
- Ranch dressing
Tasty tip: For enhanced flavor, combine many of the ingredients above with a tablespoon of coconut oil, olive oil or another oil of your choosing.
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try adding the following tasty treats to plain popcorn:
- Dried fruit
- Mini marshmallows
- Mini chocolate chips
- Chocolate candies
- Gummy snacks
- Brownie bits
- Melted white chocolate
- Brown butter and honey
- Crushed sandwich cookies
- Maple syrup
- Caramel sauce
- Apple pie spice
- Sugar (or Stevia) and cinnamon
- Hot chocolate mix
- Powdered peanut butter
Enhance other foods
Create a crust: Crush popcorn and use it as breading for chicken, pork or fish.
Replace croutons: Skip the stale bread and top your soups and salads with popcorn instead.
Sub for marshmallows: Instead of sugar-laden marshmallows, use popcorn to garnish hot chocolate.
Jazz up trail mix: Combine popcorn with standard trail mix ingredients, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit and chocolate chips.
Make treats: Substitute popcorn for rice cereal and follow the recipe for crisped rice treats.
Top cupcakes: Sprinkle some popcorn on top of frosted cupcakes for a flavorful crunch (and visual punch!).
Additional ways to celebrate
Don’t want to eat popcorn today? Not to worry! Here are some other ways you can embrace National Popcorn Day:
Feed the birds: Stock your backyard bird feeder with the crunchy kernels and watch your feathered friends chow down.
String a garland: Pop some corn and thread a needle, and you’ll be ready to create your very own National Popcorn Day popcorn garland.
Protect your packages: Cover your items in plastic wrap (to avoid any oil stains) and pad them with popcorn instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts.
Make jewelry with the kiddos: Help small children craft necklaces and bracelets out of popcorn.