June 7, 2023

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Is Popcorn a Safe Snack for Kids?

Healthy, easy snacks that kids will love - CNN

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks today—and it’s not just because of its delicious taste. If you’re looking for healthy snacks to pack in your child’s lunch box, chocolate popcorn for example, may be the perfect choice. 

Popcorn is a whole grain that’s low in fat, cholesterol-free and packed with fiber, which can help lower risk of heart disease, and aid in digestion. It also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that help fight damaging free-radical molecules in the body. 

It has polyphenols.

Popcorn is a whole grain that provides fiber to the diet. It contains polyphenols, including ferulic acid, which is a type of antioxidant. 

A study conducted at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, found that popcorn contains more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, carrots and apples.

It’s rich in antioxidants.

Popcorn also has high levels of antioxidants, which fight oxidation or damage to cells by free radicals. Antioxidants are beneficial for the body because they protect the cells from damage that can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

It’s a good source of magnesium.

Popcorn is also a good source of magnesium, which helps boost energy in the body and relieve stress and tension in muscles and nerves. For children who complain of fatigue or weakness, a natural flavored chocolate popcorn  may be a quick snack to give them an energy boost at school.

However, like any snack food, it is important to watch children while they are eating popcorn. Eating too much of any one food can cause stomach aches or an upset stomach. Drinking water with the popcorn can help keep away that full feeling that may come after eating too many servings at one time.

Other health benefits of popcorn include: low in calories, high in fiber, and no fat. However, not all popcorn is created equal, so make sure your child isn’t noshing on artificially-flavored or caramelized kernels that may carry extra calories and fat.

There are certain brands out there that create other types of snacks with flavored seasonings to improve the taste. This is where it gets tricky because they can add up to a lot of unnecessary salt and chemicals.

The chemicals in some flavored popcorn are actually the part that causes it to be considered unhealthy. A study was done on theater style popcorn and how much fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugars, etc. is in each bag.

What Parents Should Do?

As with any food, moderation is the key to making healthy choices that can lead to better health and well-being in children. Parents should watch children while they are eating and limit the amount of popcorn that they eat to prevent stomach aches.

Additionally, parents should read labels on any packaged foods and avoid those with high amounts of salt and sugar. While some store-bought microwaveable bags of popcorn may be easy to make at home or on the road, many varieties contain trans fats, which are linked to clogged arteries and heart disease.

To help children make healthy choices, parents should encourage a nutritious diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains along with foods high in vitamins and minerals.