Is popcorn a healthy choice for diabetics?

Question: Can individuals with diabetes eat popcorn?

Answer: Yes, yes and yes. Does that answer your question?

Popcorn is a whole grain and could potentially be a fantastic addition to any healthy eating plan. It's a great source of fiber, and you can eat a good amount (3 cups per serving), which can be a satisfying, filling snack.

However, popcorn is typically prepared in excessive amounts of oil and topped with salt and butter. Adding these toppings transforms popcorn from a light and healthy snack into a food product you want to avoid. While plenty of us can eat air-popped popcorn without toppings, most people like to accessorize and jazz up their popcorn.

My compromise is to make air-popped (or if you don't have an air-popper, put 1/4 cup of kernels in a brown paper lunch bag, roll down the top, and microwave for approximately 2 minutes), and then garnish it with small amounts of your favorite toppings. Popular ideas include olive oil and dried herbs, small drizzles of butter and a sprinkle of seasonings, such as chili powder, cinnamon, Italian seasoning. For an out-of-the-box idea, try grated Parmesan cheese. Yummy!

NOTE: After consuming popcorn, subsequent blood glucose levels vary by the individual. You may need to adjust portion sizes, depending on how your body reacts. Be sure to review any concerns you have about your diet with your physician.

If you are issued a new prescription, ask your pharmacist or physician about possible drug-food interactions. If potential interactions exist, you may need to remove that particular food item from your diet.


About Heidi McIndoo

Heidi McIndoo, MS is a registered dietitian who has been counseling women, men, and children about healthy eating for twenty years. She firmly believes food should be enjoyed and all foods can fit into a healthy diet -- it's just a matter of how much and how often.

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