Have you noticed that popcorn is literally exploding everywhere? The shelves at grocers are stocked with myriad offerings, and the fall holidays are a catalyst as well. From Moose Munch to fall popcorn balls, which are heavily laden with fats, candy, and chocolate drizzles, we all seem to want our popcorn!

I would offer this as an alternative…There are lots of healthy popcorn options widely available. And, with health benefits to our “cleaner” versions, why not leave the microwave bags behind and pop your own? Popcorn is a highly versatile snack that is easily transportable and is actually a whole grain! If you can believe this, popcorn actually has more iron than eggs and spinach, and even more protein and phosphorus than potato chips, potentially with a whole lot less salt (microwave versions excluded!). As if that weren’t enough, it has only 30 calories per serving and no fat, sugar, or gluten…and it’s inexpensive!

Why not pop a batch today? And if you’re still feeling naughty, try Salted Chocolate Chia Popcorn  Balls, a masterpiece created by another of my “go-to” whole foods friends, Alexis, at hummusapien.com. I promise you’ll be in fall heaven, guilt-free!

Deliciously chocolatey popcorn balls with a superfood boost!
Alexis: Alexis Joseph, MS, RD, LD
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 15
For the popcorn:
  • ½ cup organic white popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
For the popcorn balls:
  1. Place coconut oil in a medium or large pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, add two popcorn kernels and cover pot with lid. Once the kernels have popped, and the rest of the kernels and cover. Shake pan continuously as kernels start to pop. After a couple minutes when the kernels stop popping, remove pot from heat.
  2. Line a large plate with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Place 4 cups of popped popcorn in a large bowl. You’ll have plenty of leftover popcorn for snacking! Add chia seeds, almond meal, cacao powder, and salt, tossing to combine.
  4. Place sunbutter and maple syrup in a medium bowl. Microwave for about 20 seconds and then stir to combine. You could also do this in a small pot on the stove.
  5. Pour sunbutter mixture over popcorn mixture. It will be thick, that’s ok. Using your hands, toss everything together. This may take a couple minutes. Be sure to incorporate all the dry ingredients sitting at the bottom.
  6. You will need to wet your hands in between each ball. With wet hands, start tightly packing mixture into balls the size of a golf ball. If the mixture isn’t sticking together, keep wetting your hands and pressing firmly!
  7. Set balls on plate lined with parchment paper. You should have about 15. Place in freezer or fridge for 20 minutes to set prior to serving. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.