TikTok's Healthy Microwave Popcorn Alternative Is A Breeze To Make

When movie night is upon you and you don't have any popcorn in your cupboard, you might be tempted to rush to the store and buy some to throw in the microwave. What's the harm, right? You get to pick between extra butter and simply salted and all you've got to do is pop the bag in the microwave and let the cooking appliance do the work. 

However, health professionals have long been concerned about certain health risks that could change your mind about eating microwave popcorn. From high sodium and saturated fat content, harmful synthetic chemicals like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that take time to break down in your system to the prevalence of something called diacetyl, there's a lot to microwave popcorn that alarms dieticians. As nutritionist Dr. Amy Lee told Delish, "You're exposing yourself to a lot ... It's scary ... [Diacetyl has] basically been listed as a poison." 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, TikTok has come to the rescue with a healthy microwave popcorn alternative that's a breeze to make. Personal trainer Felipe, who goes by the name @itsfelipefit on the platform, shared a recipe he calls the "5-minute healthy popcorn recipe." To make it, you'll need 90 grams of popping corn, 30 milliliters of water, and a pinch of salt. As for tools, you'd need a microwave-safe bowl, some plastic wrap, a sharp object (to make holes in the cling film), and of course, a microwave. 

How to make the healthy microwave popcorn alternative

Begin by filling your bowl with the popcorn kernels. The water goes in next. Mix the contents to make sure all the kernels get their share of water, then add a pinch of salt. It's also probably important to say something about the "pinch" right about here. While most people enjoy the saltiness of store-bought microwave popcorn, high sodium intake has been linked with a lot of health problems. The American Heart Association recommends that adults shouldn't consume anything more than 2,300 milligrams a day, while the ideal recommended intake is 1,500 milligrams daily. High sodium intake has been known to increase your risk of heart disease and stroke among other health concerns, per Harvard Health.

While you might be able to keep the salt content in check by making this healthy popcorn alternative at home, keep in mind that store-bought microwave popcorn brands contain as much as 250-300 milligrams of sodium per serving, per Dr. Lee, so you'll want to aim for something a lot lower with your TikTok recipe. 

Once you've added your salt, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke some holes (with a knife or any other sharp object) before throwing it in the microwave for five minutes. What's interesting about this recipe is not only how much of a breeze it is to make, but the fact that you can up the healthiness by adding a few more ingredients of your choice. 

How to make this microwave popcorn recipe healthier

The great thing about working with your own popcorn kernels and other ingredients is that you can tailor it to the taste you want while keeping an eye on the ingredients. You can add everything from chili flakes to oregano, there's really nothing that's limiting you. Also, there's no discounting the unexpected health benefits of popcorn itself. Gregory J. Privitera, an associate professor of psychology at St. Bonaventure University in New York who has an interest in food habits, told TIME, "Without the added butter and high-fat seasoning, the food is quite a healthy snack."

When formulating your own recipe, you can experiment with oils like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil or add some peanut butter to it after you're done if you want to increase your protein intake. You can even refer to TikTok for more ideas. 

Ultimately, a wind-down session at home is not complete without snacks, and homemade popcorn — whether air-fried, stove-top-made, or microwaved — is a healthier alternative to most treats you'll find at the supermarket.