The real costs of microwave popcorn bags

Microwave popcorn

by Debi and Grant

Before our family of six switched to popcorn poppers, the microwave popcorn bag was an easy family night ritual. Rip open a box, tear the cellophane, unfold and toss in the microwave for three minutes or until the sound of popping slowed. Carefully rip open the steaming bag, pour in bowl and we’re done.

Sure, the microwave provided us convenience (or so we thought), but at what cost?

Certainly, not at the cost of calories. Microwave popcorn bags can contain enormous amount of calories per serving. According to the Calorie Count website, Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter Mini Bags (yes, mini bags) contains 213 calories per serving. Their Smart Pop Butter Mini Bags  contain 110 calories per serving.

Air popped popcorn contains about 30 calories per serving (about a cup). Oil popped popcorn contains 55 calories and lightly buttered 90 to 120 calories per serving. Yes, adding flavor to popcorn does increase calories; however, by popping the corn yourself, you gain control on the amount and type of popcorn seasoning you use. With microwave popcorn, you’re eating what the manufacturer chose to put in them.

And really, we weren’t saving much time with the microwave popcorn bags. Typically, our popcorn poppers will pop corn within five minutes.

After switching away from microwave popcorn bags, we gained another unexpected benefit. The magic of popping popcorn. Quite honestly, there’s enchantment watching that first popcorn pop in a popper, followed by another, then another until finally an eruption of all the corn bursting into fluffy crispy white. This is a performance we miss when the corn pops anonymously in the microwave bag.

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