It may be the month of Super Bowl party chicken wings and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate bonbons, but officially, February is National Snack Food Month. The quick foods we commonly reach for can be loaded with calories, sugar, sodium and fat, but snacks don't have to be unhealthy. Ditch the chips and go for a whole grain like popcorn instead. With a little imagination, you can pop up an easy, tasty, good-for-you snack. Try these recipes from popcorn.org:
Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix
Yields 9 cups
Ingredients 5 cups popped popcorn 3 cups whole grain oat cereal 1/3 cup raisins 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
Directions Stir together popcorn, cereal, raisins and nuts in large microwavable bowl; set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Heat until boiling; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly. Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after each minute. Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
Apricot Cherry Popcorn Squares
Yields 12 servings
Ingredients 10 cups air-popped popcorn 3/4 cup dried cherries 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 1/2 cup sugar-free apricot preserves 1/4 cup light corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions Combine popcorn and cherries in large bowl. Combine sugar, water, preserves, corn syrup and lemon juice in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Cook until mixture forms thick "ropy" threads that drip from the spoon. Pour slowly over popped popcorn and mix thoroughly. Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Press mixture into baking dish and cool completely before serving.
Chili Lime Popcorn Snack Mix
Yields 1 quart
Ingredients 1 quart popped popcorn 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (available in health food stores) 1 teaspoon lime juice 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions Preheat oven to 300 F. Spread popcorn on a baking sheet. Sprinkle yeast powder, lime juice, chili powder and salt over popcorn. Heat about 7 minutes and toss just before serving. Serve warm.