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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pop! Culture


I adore Halloween! I love carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds, I love haunted houses and scarecrows, I love hay bales and corn stalks, and most of all I love dressing up! I’ve been everything from the Easter bunny to Donald Trump, but I’m still undecided about this year (please send ideas!).

So, last night my husband and I decided to get into the Halloween spirit by watching a scary movie, and we were hunting for snacks. We finally settled on popcorn, so I switched into dietitian mode to investigate our options.

If you’ve ever taken a gander at a popcorn label, you know you practically have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. But, I cut right to the chase and zeroed in on 3 numbers – the number of calories per 1 cup popped, the number of cups popped per serving, and the number of servings per bag.

The brand I settled on lists: 15 calories per cup popped; 7 cups per serving; and 2 servings per bag. Now, I’ve measured it out several times and I’ve never gotten 14 cups of popcorn out of a bag (that’s 14 baseballs!) but at least I know that if I did, the maximum number of calories I’d rack up would be 210 (15 calories per cup times 14 cups). That’s a LOT of food for not so many calories, especially if you consider that half of a regular sized bag (12 oz) of potato chips easily provides over 900 cals!

And, did you know that popcorn is a whole grain (3 cups popped counts as a whole grain “equivalent” according to MyPyramid.gov)? Pretty cool, huh? It’s also versatile – you can spruce it up by sprinkling it with Cajun or chipotle spices, salt-free Italian seasoning, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, or even cocoa powder – yum!

P.S. I even have two black cats – this is Pepper, my “spicy” baby – in case you can’t tell, she loathes having her picture taken!
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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