Crunch Time

  Every year millions of Americans vow to better their health. Gym memberships are renewed, cupboards are cleared, and diets are begun. People want to eat smarter and put a few more crunches into their workout routine. But while the mind is willing, the body is grumbling because hunger has struck and dinner is still hours away.  It’s not always easy keeping mid-day hunger at bay, which is why it’s important to add an in-between meal snack that will pack in energy without packing on pounds.  Enter popcorn!  Popcorn is a whole grain that provides carbohydrates and fiber to the diet and is naturally low in fat and calories. One cup of air-popped popcorn contains only 31 calories per cup, and when popped in oil only 55 calories per cup. The fiber means it takes longer to chew and will make you feel fuller longer. Consuming at least 3 or more ounce equivalents of whole grains per day can reduce the risk of several chronic diseases and may help with weight maintenance. And for mere pennies per serving, popcorn is kind on your wallet and your waistline.  After your crunches at the gym, try crunching on this Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Popcorn recipe from the Popcorn Board  ( You can substitute nutritional yeast for a lower fat alternative to the Parmesan Cheese. This south-of-the border inspired snack would be a hit on Cinco de Mayo, while watching a favorite sporting event, or anytime friends gather.

Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Popcorn

Some like it hotter; simply sprinkle on more

jalapeno sauce to taste!

Makes: 4 quarts, 16 servings (1 cup each) Preparation time: 5 minutes

4 quarts popped popcorn

2-3 teaspoons jalapeno green pepper sauce (or tabasco)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (substitute cheese with nutritional yeast for a lower fat alternative)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

• Place popcorn in a large serving bowl.

Sprinkle popcorn with jalapeno sauce, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt; toss and serve immediately.