Power up with popcorn

Have you found yourself stuck in the three-meals-a-day cycle for some time now? Well, it might make you feel better to learn that you’re not actually alone. The vast majority of people get hung up on the widely accepted misconception that eating more than the traditional three meals a day constitutes as some sort of dietary failure. While it’s true that eating calorie-laden snacks between meals is no recipe for good health, limiting yourself to the ancient breakfast, lunch and dinner format isn’t doing you any favours either.

Forget three square meals a day and most certainly forget snacking in between meals. Your new healthy eating regime consists of six mini meals but while it may be super healthy, sitting down to eat six small meals a day won’t always be convenient which is why we’re going to show you not only why this style of eating habit is healthy, but just how healthy popcorn can make it more convenient, achievable and enjoyable too.

While it may sound like a contradiction in the sense of eating more and eating one of your favourite snack foods, but with a little focus and a little education, eating six mini meals instead of three large meals a day will not only add to your diet in terms of variety but will help you to feel fuller and much more healthy overall.

A healthy eating regime with a little popcorn fun

Your very first step in eating six diverse meals a day is to kick the word snack out of your vocabulary entirely. The word snack often conjures up images of low nutrient, high fat filled snacks like crisps and ice cream. These types of foods are simply empty calories and are void of any beneficial nutrition. You should then begin to focus on size, however you must be aware of the fact that doubling your amount of meals doesn’t necessarily equate to doubling your food intake. Instead of three larger sized meals, you’ll be opting for six mini sized meals. Finally, do your very best to make each mini meal an opportunity to give yourself a varied and balanced diet that will include the correct amount of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats along with your required vitamins and minerals. The health side effects of eating more meals are actually pretty varied in that you tend to consume a much greater variety of foods and are much more likely to meet your recommended daily requirements nutritionally. Eating more frequently will also help you to control your appetite, which in turn will help you to control your weight. By breaking up the three meals a day into six, you may also help to lower your blood cholesterol and risk heart disease.

Eating just three meals a day tends to create long gaps in between meals encouraging blood sugar levels to drop down low. When this occurs, the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks becomes all too much which is where we can often get into trouble. Grabbing a quick high carbohydrate snack might bring blood sugars up quickly but it’s likely they’ll do so too quickly and as a result, crash once again soon after leaving you yet again, craving those unhealthy snacks. Eating a number of small meals throughout the day however, as long as they’re balanced, will help to stabilise your blood sugar preventing you from any energy highs and lows which is the key to feeling at your best. The key to the “mini-meal” approach as it’s often known is to ensure that each meal packs a real nutritional punch as well as provide you with enough fibre to sustain yourself without adding the unwanted saturated fat and calories.

To keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day, simply focus on foods that will increase your blood sugar levels in a slow and steady manner. Include fibre rich food such as popcorn along with protein rich and a little healthy unsaturated fat in every single meal. This will then sustain your energy for a longer period of time. Be sure to keep your focus on diversity in each meal so whilst you want to balance your intake of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats, your goal should be to enjoy a number of different items from each of the food groups. This is where our popcorn power bars and yogurt coated popcorn bowls will come in handy.

You may even find that pairing certain foods will also help to maximize the benefits of the six mini meals lifestyle. You can do that by coupling your vegetables with a little healthy fat, as this will help your body to absorb the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables much better. A great way to do this would be to drizzle a little olive oil onto your salad of mixed greens and sliced tomatoes. This makes it easier for your body to absorb the lutein in the greens and lycopene in the tomatoes.

Popcorn inspired mini-meals

The first mini-meal we’ll be looking at are popcorn power bars. Not only are they quick to prepare, but they’re also incredibly convenient to grab and nutrient dense. These are also brilliant to enjoy before or after a workout or other such physical activity. While we wouldn’t suggest a power bar to count as a full meal when eating only three meals a day, one or two power bars are the ideal on-the-go food choice when sticking to a six mini-meal lifestyle. They’re great for offering slow releasing energy and especially good when time is of the essence. They also beat other high fat and calorie laden food choices hands down in terms of nutritional value and flavour. These Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars are a particular favourite and full to brim with delicious flavours in an easy to pack and eat bar. They contain popcorn, which is of course a wholegrain, adding fibre and carbohydrates to your diet. The mixture of popcorn, oats, berries and nuts will fill you up and fuel you too taking you all the way through to your next meal. For this you’ll need 8 cups of popcorn, 1 ½ cups rolled oats, 1 ½ cup dried blueberries, ½ cup pomegranate seeds, 2/3 cup natural almonds toasted and chopped along with 2/3 cup honey, 2 cup brown sugar and 6 tablespoons of butter or margarine with 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted.

First line a pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray. Combine the popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranates and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Combine the honey, sugar and butter in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat. Boil for two minutes and pour over the popcorn mixture, mixing thoroughly as you go. Using damp hands, press the mixture into the prepared baking tray and place in your fridge for about two hours or until firm. Cut into twelve bars. Dip the bottom of the bars into the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate once again and then store in airtight containers.

Yogurt happens to be yet another fab way to introduce calcium into your diet whilst also creating a delicious meal filled with other essential nutrients such as wholegrain, fibre and vitamins. Water buffalos, goats and cows all make it. You can sip it, eat it and even drink yogurt making it hugely versatile. It’s so popular that even if you wandered in to the most remote fuelling stations you’re likely to still find a container or two of this stuff. Many cultures will claim that their yogurt was their very own invention although it’s likely just to be a variation of sorts. The question on many people’s lips however is just who braved that first taste of their soured milk?

Thankfully someone did and as a result we get to benefit from it. Many yogurts contain live bacterial cultures that break down the milk sugar (lactose) in order to produce the lactic acid. It’s the lactic acid that gives it the refreshing flavour. Your body needs a certain amount of good bacteria making yogurt a healthy choice. As mentioned before, it also offers calcium and protein too. The fact that it’s often thought of as the healthy, on the go snack also makes it the perfect pairing for popcorn which also happens to be quick, naturally low in fat and good for you. Our recipe below suggests peachy yogurt however you can experiment with your own favourite flavours to create a chewy, caramel like textured meal.

First of all, you’ll need to collect the necessary ingredients. These include 10 cups of popcorn, ½ a cup of dried blueberries (hopefully you’ll have some left over from the previous recipe) along with 1 cup of fat free peach yogurt, ½ a cup of sugar, ½ a cup of brown sugar and 1/3 of a cup of light corn syrup. Place your popped popcorn and dried blueberries in a large bowl and keep it warm. Next combine the yogurt, sugar (both white and brown) along with the corn syrup in a saucepan. Cook this mixture over a medium heat and stir continuously until it begins to form thick “ropey” like threads that will drip from the spoon. Once it’s reached this stage, pour over your popcorn and blueberry mixture, stirring to coat and voila.

There you have two very delicious popcorn recipes to introduce into your six mini meal lifestyle for a better, healthier you. If you’d like more information on the popcorn we provide here at Empire, whether it’s our raw kernels to pop yourself at home for all your popcorn recipe needs or perhaps our gourmet flavoured popcorn for those dark evenings when only a bowl of warm popcorn will do, please contact us today.

Source – Popcorn.org, Popcorn Power Up

Source – Popcorn.org, Yogurt Covered Popcorn No Whey

Source – Sharecare, Diet and Nutrition, Six Meal Diversity Deal