Trail Mix Popcorn Balls- The Healthy Way!

Maybe it was the constant slandering of high-fructose corn syrup in the Juicy Juice commercials played 10 times an hour on PBS kids, or maybe was just the thought of corn in my fruit snacks, but ever since I was young I’ve always been a little wary of corn syrup. And apparently for good reason. Did you know that for a single tablespoon of corn syrup there’s 57 calories and little to no nutritional value? Why? Because it’s highly processed.

But really, how on earth did corn go from a delicious, get-stuck-in-your-teeth addition to a summer dinner, to one of the major causes of obesity in America?

So why would I want to eat it?

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Today when I woke up, there was one thing I was craving. Popcorn. More specifically, popcorn balls.

I researched a few recipes and you know what I found? Corn syrup in every. Single. Recipe.

So instead of the typical, obesity-inducing recipes, I decided to create my own healthier version of this classic Halloween treat. Made with my very favorite: honey! All natural and much tastier than corn syrup. Combined with peanut butter, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, crushed almonds, and molasses, and you’ve got a delicious, and healthy, afternoon snack!

Warning: This recipe is definitely extremely sweet. If you don’t have a huge sweet tooth, I’d suggest adding more peanut butter and cutting back on the honey.

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Trail Mix Popcorn Balls- The Healthy Way!

  • 8 c. air-popped popcorn
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 tbs molasses
  • 1 tbs peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/4 c. chopped almonds
  • 1 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla

Begin by pouring popcorn in a large bowl. Heat honey, molasses, peanut butter, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan on medium until it barely starts bubbling. Remove from heat and pour over popcorn. Use a spatula to stir slowly until all the popcorn is coated. Quickly add the coconut flakes, cranberries, and chopped almonds and stir to combine. Dip hands in a bowl of cold water before pressing handfuls of the popcorn mixture into balls. Transfer popcorn balls onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper and wait for them to cool before storing (or enjoying!).

Nutrition Information (from myfitnesspal.com)

Calories: 134

Fat: 4g

Carbs: 25g

Protein: 2g

(Yields 7 servings)

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