Popcorn is delicious. Let’s just make that clear. Buttery, crunchy, and sumptuously salty or satisfyingly sweet, even the healthiest of health fanatics would now have a hard time arguing against popcorn’s desirability.
And while brands like Propercorn have managed to take popcorn from their sticky cinema heartlands, popcorn can get a bit, well, boring? As with anything, consume too much of it and you get sick to the teeth of the same flavours (anyone who religiously purchases meal deals will know this feeling all too well).
So, I say it’s time to feeling stuck. There are tonnes more healthy alternatives that aren’t popcorn or crisps – all of which will shake up your snack drawer and make you feel guilt-free come elevenses.
Let’s see what healthy popcorn substitutes are available for you right now.
1. Kale chips
Small enough to pop in your mouth like popcorn, kale chips are gluten and wheat free and have that irresistible savoury ‘crunch’ that any satisfying snack should have. Plus, they’re full of essential vitamins and minerals that are part and parcel of consuming more leafy greens (which we all need to do more of!)
There are loads of diferent umami flavours, too, to really set your tastebuds alight. I like the Indian Spice ones from Rawlicious in particular – a real palette cleanser and a great deterrent from choosing calorific confectionery come midday.
2. Popped lotus seeds
Okay, these are my new favourite snack. Popped lotus seeds might sound alien but they have the same familiar taste and mouthfeel of popcorn mixed with rice cakes. As the name suggests, they’re incredibly light and delicate, yet have an incredible crunch that makes them difficult to put down.
My absolute favourite popped lotus seed brand is Karma Bites. Each bag is filled to the brim with equally delicious bites (literally, it feels like you’re eating forever). And because each bite is so generously enrobed in flavouring, you really will want to take your time and savour each piece.
The best savoury flavours for me are their Wasabi which is spicy and delectable Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Both sit in that lovely ‘midday snack that won’t make you feel drowsy’ category, while their Coconut & Vanilla is suitably sweet enough to round off a good lunchtime sandwich without the concern of looming 3pm cravings.
Elsewhere, their Caramel flavour is the closest to sweet popcorn (at just 105 calories, these are some of the lowest calorie packs in the range, too!) and their Peri Peri will shake off any unhealthy McCoys or Pringles cravings with their super satisfying red chilli spice. All Karma Bites products can be found on Ocado or on their website!
3. Roasted chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are sincerely having a moment. Bountiful in protein, low in calories, and high in fibre, these popped pulses are a more wholesome cousin to buttery popcorn and provide a wonderful alternative to healthier types.
I really enjoy BRAVE’s roasted chickpeas. These plant based snacks contain complex carbs so you feel fuller for longer, and have 7g of protein per bag. Double win! As I’m a big fan of sweet and salty together (yes, I am that person to opt for a ham and pineapple pizza, sorry!) , I really adore their sweet chilli flavour. Like a sweet chilli hummus, but in delicious tiny bites. What’s not to love?