Can Pregnant Women Eat Popcorn?

can pregnant women eat popcorn
agoss / Pixabay

Movies, carnivals, even the circus… There’s a food staple you can always find that fills us with nostalgia. Popcorn, of course. We microwave it for snacks, so beloved it is that we almost always have some at home. Kids eat it covered in caramel (okay, we adults do, as well). With that in mind, are you going to have to give it up for 9 months? In this article we are going to discuss the question, ‘can pregnant women eat popcorn ?’. We’ll give you all the facts so that you won’t have any doubts about the answer.

So, can I eat popcorn while pregnant?

Hmm, pushy, aren’t we? Alright then, instant gratification time! The answer is ‘yes’. That said, it does come with the restriction that you can only eat popcorn in moderation (unless you are willing to get a little creative in how you prepare it. We’ll go into that later).

What, healthy popcorn?!

Actually, you might be surprised to learn that popcorn is good for you. It is packed with the following nutrients (and more!):

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B1 (aka Thiamin)
  • Vitamin B3 (aka Niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (aka Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Not too shabby, eh? Popcorn will surprise you with the number of benefits that you can obtain from it.

What benefits does this have for my baby and I?

can you eat popcorn while pregnant
1041483 / Pixabay

Quite a few! Most of us think that popcorn is just empty calories but oddly enough, it’s one of the few snacks that doctors often recommend. Check out some of the following benefits:

  • Selenium – This can help to prevent premature birth and also to avoid labor issues.
  • Fiber – The high fiber content helps not only with cholesterol levels, but helps you to lose weight and to balance your blood sugar levels.
  • Antioxidants – The antioxidants in popcorn can help to fight free radicals, protecting you and your baby’s cells.
  • Protein – A great source of protein, popcorn actually helps your baby grow.
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Wow! So you can eat popcorn all the time when you are pregnant?

Not without a bit of creativity. You see, the popcorn itself is pretty healthy, but the butter, salt, and sometimes caramel that people like to add to can move it into the ‘unhealthy’ category. That is not to say that you can’t have a little salt and butter on your popcorn, just that it probably falls into the category of being a snack rather than something to gorge on. There are also a few other things to consider.

” Microwave popcorn is not recommended for pregnant women.”

Popcorn Tips

As a rule you will want to be very sparing in the salt that you use. Too much salt is not good for your blood pressure. Also, don’t microwave your popcorn. Get the kind in a popping tin (or use your own tin if you have one). Microwave popcorn is not recommended for pregnant women, as the bags tend to have a lining of a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid that is associated with low birth weight and a number of other issues. There is also a chemical in the artificial butter flavoring (we’re looking at you, diacetyl) that has been associated with lung diseases in animal testing.

Is there a healthy way to prepare it?

Use your popper and a few tablespoons of olive oil, along with half a cup of popcorn kernels. Cover it up and cook it at medium high for around 3 minutes (or until the popping stops) and season with half a teaspoon of salt. To spice it up you might try adding in a low fat cheese slice on the hot popcorn and mixing it in so that it melts. Get creative but go with additions that you know to be healthy. With this approach you can have a great snack for your cravings. Interestingly enough, popcorn has quite the history. We won’t bore you but let’s take a little peek back in time on this wonder snack.

can i eat popcorn while pregnant
JillWellington / Pixabay

A brief history of popcorn

It might surprise you to know that people have been popping corn for 1000’s of years. The oldest ears of popcorn were actually discovered in 1948 in a cave in New Mexico. They are dated as having been around 4000 years old. Other descriptions throughout history abound. For instance, we know that the Aztecs had popcorn, as an early Spanish account describes special kernels of corn that the Aztecs called ‘momochitl’, which would burst into ‘white flowers’ when heated. Early Peruvian indians had it as well, calling it ‘pisancalla’, per writings in 1650 from a Spaniard named ‘Cobo’. In Chile, 1000 year old kernels were found that would even still pop!

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Certainly it is understandable that any food which could be preserved so well and carried around for instance sustenance would be immensely useful. Nowadays, well, the movies just wouldn’t be the same without it.

In conclusion

Can you eat popcorn when you’re pregnant? Yes, Ma’am! Popcorn is one of the few snacks in your pregnancy time that can feel sinful but is actually good for you. With it’s nutritional matrix and numerous benefits, we would highly recommend that you get a hold of a popping pan (if you do not already have one) and stock up on kernels of this delicious treat. With a little creativity you can probably customize a nice snack mix that is both healthy and almost too delicious to be true. As we close, we will remind you not to mess with the microwave popcorn and be careful how much salt that you are adding so that you can maximize the benefits of eating popcorn. Also, while you are getting that popping pan, why not stock up on some movies? Turn a portion of the time that you are waiting for your new family member into cinema time. After all, popcorn isn’t just about the nutrition and the cravings… It’s about the nostalgia!