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Are you one of those people who has trouble watching a movie without a bowl of popcorn on your lap? You’re definitely not alone. Each year, Americans eat enough popcorn to fill the Empire State Building 18 times. Dieters often turn to popcorn to satisfy their cravings without eating a ton of calories. In terms of keto, popcorn may or may not fit into your diet plan. Let’s take a closer look at the keto popcorn issue.

The Answer to the Question, “Can You Eat Popcorn on Keto?”

Yes and no. It really depends on your individual plan. To determine whether popcorn may fit into your keto program, it can be helpful to take a closer look at what popcorn actually is.

When you eat corn on the cob, corn is considered to be a vegetable. However, when you pop dried corn kernels in the microwave or on the stovetop, this food is considered to be a whole grain. This is because the corn kernel, which is the part used for popcorn, is a grain. (To complicate matters further, corn is also botanically considered to be a fruit because it’s sourced from the seed part of the plant.)

If you are trying to increase your intake of vegetables with corn, you should definitely eat corn on the cob. However, if you are trying to satisfy a craving for carbs, popcorn can fit the bill—within limits.

Just one cup of popcorn is quite low in calories and relatively low in carbs. However, many people eat more than one cup in one sitting.

In order to stick to your keto goals, you will need to make sure you don’t eat too much of it. For those on keto, popcorn is possible, but only with proper portion control.

The Situations When You Should Avoid Popcorn on Keto

The nutrition facts for popcorn in the section below will help you determine whether keto popcorn is possible for you. However, you should note that those nutritional values are only applicable for popcorn without additions.

People typically add flavorings to their popcorn, such as melted butter, chocolate, caramel, cheese, or spices. Kettle corn contains a mixture of sugar and salt.

Anything added to popcorn will alter its nutritional value and it may possibly be enough to throw you out of ketosis.

This is why it’s best to make popcorn yourself. Making it yourself allows you to precisely control the additions. Avoid buying a tub of popcorn at the movie theater, and avoid buying bags of ready to pop, pre-seasoned popcorn. Instead, buy a jar of popcorn kernels and make it yourself on the stovetop.

Homemade popcorn isn’t difficult at all to make, and it can make movie night more satisfying.

If you want a quick reference guide to another salty snack check out our Free Peanut Tips and Recipes Downloadable.

A Breakdown of Popcorn Nutrition

The nutritional profile of this popular snack varies depending on how you make it and what you add to it. Air-popped popcorn contains the least amount of calories and macronutrients. Its nutritional breakdown for a one-cup serving of cooked popcorn is as follows:

  • Calories: 30
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 g
  • Total carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Remember that for those on keto, popcorn doesn’t contain six grams of net carbs. Since a one-cup serving has one gram of dietary fiber, its net carb count is five grams.

If you’re making popcorn on the stovetop with vegetable oil, the nutritional breakdown of your snack, per one-cup serving, is as follows:

  • Calories: 35
  • Calories from fat: 10
  • Total fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 g
  • Total carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

You can also make stovetop popcorn with olive oil, rather than vegetable oil. Per each one-cup serving, you’ll get the following:

  • Calories: 40
  • Calories from fat: 15
  • Total fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 g
  • Total carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Note that you’ll get a little more fat and one more gram of dietary fiber when making your popcorn on the stovetop with olive oil. Your net carb intake for a one-cup serving will be four grams.

You can also make popcorn on the stovetop with coconut oil. For a one-cup serving, the nutritional profile is as follows:

  • Calories: 45
  • Calories from fat: 20
  • Total fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 g
  • Total carbohydrate: 6 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Note that, when making stovetop popcorn with coconut oil, you’ll get more saturated fat.

On the keto diet, it’s best to choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as often as possible, so making popcorn with olive oil or vegetable oil may fit into your program better.

Keto Popcorn: Recipes to Try

It’s easiest to manage your dietary intake when you add the least amount possible of flavorings to your popcorn. If you enjoy popcorn with just a dash of salt, go for it. However, popcorn that is only modified slightly can be somewhat plain.

Try the following keto popcorn recipes to satisfy your cravings.

Note that the last recipe is actually a one-ingredient popcorn alternative. Since it’s exceptionally low in carbohydrates, this keto popcorn alternative may satisfy you while fitting into a strict keto program.

Avocado Keto Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of popped popcorn
  • ½ ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. of olive oil
  • 5 tbsp. of chili lime salt

Directions

Drizzle the popcorn with the olive oil, mixing as you do so. Sprinkle the chili lime salt on the popcorn while tossing with your hands. Then, add the diced avocado and toss to combine.

Spicy Keto Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1 tsp. of vegetable or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • ¼ tsp. of paprika
  • 1 tsp. of chili powder

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, and chili powder. Drizzle the oil over the popcorn, tossing to combine. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the popcorn while tossing.

Keto Popcorn Alternative

Ingredient

100 grams (about one cup) of hard cheese such as Gouda

Directions

Cut the Gouda into slices, and then cut the slices into bite-sized squares. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with oven-safe parchment paper. Scatter the squares on the baking sheet, and then cover them with a paper towel. Set the baking sheet aside at room temperature for 48 hours. Then, preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the Gouda squares for three minutes and serve immediately.

There are approximately 3.5 ounces in every 100 grams of Gouda cheese. Per each ounce of cheese, there are 101 calories and 0.6 grams of total carbs. Since Gouda lacks fiber, there is also 0.6 grams of net carbs. This serving size also provides seven grams of protein and nearly eight grams of fat.

Other Keto Popcorn Alternatives

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We understand not everyone has time to make their own keto popcorn so here are some of our favorite popcorn alternatives that you can buy:

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