What’s the best microwave popcorn in the grocery store? We set out to discover our top 3 picks in the supermarket, looking at 5 aspects of each brand to ensure you are purchasing a healthy product.
Natural popcorn is a delicious whole grain snack that is full of satisfying fiber. Microwaveable popcorn makes cooking and serving popcorn almost effortless. However, many store brands are loaded with artificial ingredients, trans fats, and sodium. Look at these 5 factors before you buy:
1. Trans fat content. Check the ingredient list to see if the product contains partially hydrogenated oils. These oils contain trans fats that raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Packaging may claim zero grams trans fat per serving, yet companies can claim their product is trans fat free if it contains less than 1 gram per serving. Eating several servings of a food containing 0.5 grams trans fat can exceed the recommended maximum of 2 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet.
2. Total and saturated fat content. Be sure to check the total fat and saturated fat content on the nutrition facts label and choose a variety that is lower in total fat, particularly saturated fat. Look for light or reduced fat varieties, they can contain around 70% less fat than regular products.
3. Artificial ingredients. Many microwave popcorns contain artificial ingredients or flavorings. Check the ingredient list to be sure your choice is free of these.
4. Sodium content. Inspect the sodium content on the nutrition facts label. The lower the better. Do your best to find a brand that has less than 300 mg per serving.
5. Serving size. Serving sizes vary from product to product. Always check the serving size and the number of servings per bag.
We’ve searched the aisles again to bring you and updated list of the 3 best microwave popcorn varieties. Trans fats, total fat, saturated fat, artificial ingredients, sodium, calories, and of course taste were all considered when choosing our favorites.
1. Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Naturals Simply Salted Microwave
With an ingredient list that resembles homemade, you can feel good about popping up this snack. Also available in Zesty Pepper and Garlic Butter varieties, if you’re feeling adventurous! Per serving (about 4 cups): 130 calories, 5 gm fat, 3 gm fiber
2. Newman’s Own Organics: Pop’s Corn Light Butter
This organic option boasts a simple ingredient list and impressive stats. With just a hint of butter and salt, the natural popcorn flavor shines through. Butter lover? With just 2 more grams of fat per serving, the butter variety is also a good choice. Per serving (about 3 cups): 112 calories, 3 gm fat, 3.5 gm fiber
3. Quinn Popcorn: Just Sea Salt
This all-star has the most impressive stats we’ve seen in a microwave popcorn. With just two ingredients (organic popcorn kernels and sea salt), it’s hard to beat. Look for it in select stores, or on Amazon. Hint: their product line includes a number of fun and innovative flavors! Per serving (3 cups popped): 80 calories, 1 gm fat, 3 gm fiber
Disclaimer: I provided an objective and independent review of these products; no affiliations or support was obtained from any grocer or food marketer.
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: August 6, 2014
Updated on: July 29, 2019