Popcorn is one of the simplest and most enjoyable treats around, but did you know it is also a wholegrain food?

With wholefood goodness at its heart as well as a pop to bring the party to snack time, this is a treat which is fun and healthy for young and old.

Whether sweet or savoury, popcorn is naturally high in a number of important key nutrients and is also a fantastic source of fibre. While the oldest piece of popcorn was discovered in New Mexico and is believed to be more than 5,000 years old, the most recent research suggests whole grains can aid with reduced risk of heart disease and inflammation and may help protect against dementia.

Researchers from the Rush Institute for Healthy Ageing, Chicago, tracked more than 3,300 adults for six years and found that “individuals with higher consumption of whole grains and more frequent consumption of whole grains had slower decline in global cognition, perceptual speed, and episodic memory”.

The widespread appeal of popcorn in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s was due to its availability and because it was so inexpensive.

Fast forward and it is now America’s favourite snack with more than 500 million kilos being eaten every year.

Popcorn itself is a special kind of corn that “pops” on exposure to heat, much to children’s delight. There is a small amount of water in the centre of the kernel which expands until the corn explodes.

And it’s when you have popped your delicious snack that you can get creative and make your treat to suit your tastes. Here are a few ideas to make snack time or movie night extra special.

The Healthy Option

Photo Credit: "© [Vasiliy] / Adobe Stock

Popcorn made on the hob or in an air popper is the healthiest option. Here is our simple tasty and healthy option.


To Make:

1. Place the oil and kernels into a large pot with the lid on.

2. Cook for three minutes over medium high heat or until the popping almost stops.

3. Remove from the heat and pour into a serving bowl.

4. Season with salt.

From here onwards you can really get creative and add additional flavour with fresh herbs or spices as a sprinkle or topping.

For an added health benefit, sprinkle your popcorn with nutritional yeast. With a nutty-cheesy flavour containing several important nutrients, including protein, fibre, B-vitamins, and several minerals, this will really push your popcorn into the no-guilt zone.

American-style Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn

Photo Credit: "© [pamela_d_mcadams] / Adobe Stock

The treat they made their own takes on a very US flavour with this recipe. Think jam or preserve rather than what we think of as jelly, and this will take you on a Stateside taste adventure.


  • Ready popcorn
  • 2 tbsp unsalted melted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 65g crunchy peanut butter
  • 65g of a choice of preserves from apricot, orange marmalade, raspberry to canned cranberry sauce

To Make:

In a pan, whisk the peanut butter, butter, preserve and the salt over medium heat. Once it is slightly cool, pour over the popcorn and mix evenly.

Mexican-Style Popcorn (Vegetarian) 

Photo Credit: "© [Ezume Images] / Adobe Stock

Spicy and a little hot this one is perhaps for the grown-ups. The freshness of the coriander is an added layer of taste not to be missed.


To Make:

1. Preheat the oven to 275F/140C/Gas 1.

2. Mix the paprika, dried oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and salt in a bowl.

3. Drizzle the butter over the popcorn. Sprinkle the spices over the buttered popcorn. Spread the popcorn on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.

4. Add the chopped coriander and mix evenly.

Coconut And Almond Popcorn

Photo Credit: "© [Mariana] / Adobe Stock

A delicious duo just crying out to be showered on a ready-made bag of fresh popcorn. With the addition of little pops of chocolate this is a truly decadent snack.


  •  Ready popcorn
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125g slivered almonds
  • 180g flaked coconut
  • 125g white or dark chocolate chips

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas 2. On a baking sheet, spread the coconut and almonds. Bake till they turn slightly brown and let it cool. Mix the coconut, almonds, salt, and chocolate chips with warm popcorn.