Nutritional yeast has gained popularity in recent years as a versatile and healthy seasoning for various dishes, including popcorn and snacks. This deactivated yeast is packed with essential nutrients, making it an excellent addition to any diet focused on healthy eating. In this article, we will explore the benefits of nutritional yeast as a popcorn seasoning and discuss some creative ways to incorporate it into your favorite snacks.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is made from the same species of yeast used in bread-making but undergoes a different process that deactivates it. The resulting product is then dried and sold in the form of yellow flakes or powder. It has a distinct nutty and cheesy flavor, making it an ideal substitute for cheese-based seasonings.
Packed with Nutrients
One of the main reasons nutritional yeast has gained so much attention is its impressive nutritional profile. It is rich in B vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 – especially important for vegans who may struggle to meet their B12 needs through diet alone.
Additionally, nutritional yeast contains all nine essential amino acids required by our bodies. These amino acids are not produced naturally by our bodies but are crucial for functions like muscle repair and growth.
Low in Calories
If you’re watching your calorie intake but still want flavorful snacks, nutritional yeast can be an excellent choice. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contain only about 60 calories while providing significant amounts of protein and fiber.
Seasoning Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast
Popcorn lovers often search for healthier alternatives to butter or artificial flavorings that can sabotage their health goals. Nutritional yeast comes to the rescue as an incredibly tasty option!
To season your popcorn with nutritional yeast:
1. Pop your corn kernels using air-popping method or a small amount of oil.
2. While hot, toss the popcorn with a few tablespoons of melted coconut oil or olive oil.
3. Sprinkle nutritional yeast over the popcorn, ensuring an even coating.
4. Add a pinch of salt and any other desired seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or dried herbs.
The result is a flavorful, cheesy-tasting popcorn that satisfies your cravings without adding excessive calories or unhealthy additives.
Other Snack Ideas
Nutritional yeast can be used beyond just seasoning popcorn. Here are some exciting snack ideas to incorporate this healthy ingredient:
1. Roasted Chickpeas: Toss cooked chickpeas with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and spices like cumin or smoked paprika before roasting them in the oven until crispy.
2. Kale Chips: Massage kale leaves with olive oil and sprinkle nutritional yeast along with sea salt before baking at low heat until crisp.
3. Homemade Crackers: Add nutritional yeast to your favorite homemade cracker recipe for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients.
4. Savory Popcorn Mixes: Combine air-popped popcorn with roasted nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a delicious savory snack mix.
Nutritional yeast is not only delicious but also offers numerous health benefits due to its impressive nutrient content. From boosting B-vitamin intake to providing essential amino acids while being low in calories, it’s no wonder why it has become such a popular choice as a seasoning for snacks like popcorn.
Experimenting with different ways to incorporate nutritional yeast into your diet can make healthy eating more enjoyable and satisfying. So grab some nutritional yeast flakes from your local store or online retailer today and start exploring the wonders it can do for your taste buds and well-being!