Healthy Now: Party on, and on, and on with popcorn | SierraSun.com

Healthy Now: Party on, and on, and on with popcorn

Simone Grandmain
Healthy Now

The ingredients for a healthy batch of popcorn are shown above.

At the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District Aquatic Center, members who have enjoyed our party room are trying to keep it a private affair.

They want to keep this treasure to themselves — kind of like your amazing secret fishing spot. The thing is, unlike that fishing hole, the TDRPD pools are not going to run dry or freeze over. They are not hard to access. The pool party rooms are there for all to enjoy and, guess what, the secret is now out.

Reservations available Saturdays and Sundays, the "Party Rooms" located poolside, come complete with a refrigerator, television, sink, counter space and view of the pool. They offer seating for 20 people, though there is room for additional guests. Shoot! Most of your invitees — children and adult alike — will be in the pool anyway.

What have made these TDRPD pool parties such a big hit besides the obvious fun aspect, is parents can now book and enjoy the room for one hour and thirty minutes, have cake or pizza, present opening — whatever your heart desires — and then when your room time is up, guests can continue to enjoy swimming.

No more wondering what to do once your Bouncy House time has expired. No more long drives to and from Reno to hit Chucky Cheese. No more hidden expenses for beverages, cutlery or tablecloths. You can bring your own spread to the TDRPD pool party rooms. So cool.

The great thing about bringing your own food anywhere is you have more control over what you are eating. While the kids are running amok hopped up on sugar coated sugar, you can be snacking on — what?

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An often ignored, misunderstood Healthy Now option is popcorn. When done right, popcorn is ridiculously good for you, low in calories, fat, and carbs and delicious. Seven cups (count them: seven!) contain only 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and five grams of fiber. Keep in mind, we talking about stovetop popcorn. It may a take a few minutes longer to prepare than its microwavable counterparts but it really is the best way to go, and then you are set with a huge batch of popcorn for several days.

Other than the popcorn ingredients, you will also need to have on hand a big Tupperware (preferably a cake pan style, as pictured), and a large, heavy bottom stock or stew pan, about six-quart size. The following recipe is simple and provides a ton of flavor without fat or calories. Make a batch, carry it always, and definitely bring it to your pool party or dockside this summer.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District staff and members, inspiring creative, active lives for a healthy mountain community. For more information on how you can stay in shape this spring, visit tdrpd.org.

Popcorn ingredients

(makes eight cups)

3 tbls. olive oil

1 / 2 cup yellow (ALWAYS YELLOW!) popcorn

3-4 tbls. powdered chicken bouillon (Knor granulated is a good one)

2 tbls. garlic powder (not garlic salt)

1 small packet Stevia sugar substitute

Preparation: Have your big Tupperware ready to roll somewhere handy, lid off. Put pot on stove, pour in oil and popcorn and put on lid. Turn burner on medium-high heat and pop corn until it is corn is popping singly at about four second intervals. Remove from heat and immediately remove lid so your popcorn does not get soggy from the steam. Pour into your big Tupperware and shake around to cool a bit. Sprinkle on chicken bouillon powder. Put on lid and shake. Turn over too and shake that way. Take lid off and sprinkle on garlic powder. Lid back, shake. Lid off. Sprinkle on Stevia and shake. Lid off again. Now keep the lid off and let popcorn cool completely before putting lid back on. Enjoy!