One of the fun things about Crohn’s disease is figuring out what you can and cannot eat. When I was diagnosed years ago, I had a hard time finding a correlation of when I felt crummy and what I ate. But eventually I started to figure it out. Popcorn was one of those things I learned to stay away from. But I am one who has a really hard time staying away from something I shouldn’t eat, (it’s harder than you may think)! This meant family popcorn movie nights were hard. Either I would give in and eat it because it smelled so delicious-and pay the price later, or I would go without it and feel sad and left out.
After I had my first surgery and had my colon removed, I waited several months and then tried a tiny bit of popcorn. I didn’t get sick so I tried eating more the next time. And by next time I mean like a week later because in my family we have homemade popcorn almost every Sunday night. Ha! So I was really glad that I figured out I could eat a little of my favorite snack again! The surgery helped me in that regard. But I still have to avoid it if I’m having a flare or not feeling so well. The hard thing is I crave salty snacks a lot! So I went on the hunt for some things to eat instead of popcorn for those times when I should avoid it, and I think I found some great ideas!
I decided to try these popcorn flavored rice cakes. I chose the Carmel one because I was in a sweet mood but the Sea Salt one was tempting too! My husband and my 2 year old daughter tasted them with me. I thought it tasted good and could definitely see myself eating them during movie night! My husband just thought they were ok but my daughter ate a whole one by herself!
You might also check out this Buttered Popcorn flavor from Quaker!
Next I tried out “Toasted O’s,” or “Fried Cheerios.”
When I googled this, I found pretty much the same ingredients/instructions on every link I clicked on. This is a great option for a salty snack that won’t hurt your tummy, and is gluten free.
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups Cheerios
Melt butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add Cheerios and cook, stirring occasionally, until Cheerios are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Salt to taste.
*I used less butter than it called for, but definitely should have used the correct amount. I also used Himalyan salt, but you can just use regular table salt.My daughter loved helping me make it.
I also only cooked the Cheerios for 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat, but they started to burn a little bit, so I would recommend trying it on low heat for 6-10 minutes. They were extra crunchy and salty and did curb that craving I had for a salty snack!
Then I found a recipe that switched things up, and instead of salt, used a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Instructions are the same, but instead of salt, you add a cinnamon and sugar mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. I also added a touch of vanilla. I thought this one was delicious! If you’d rather not use sugar, you could try substituting the sugar for something like Swerve. (Swerve tastes very similar to sugar and can be used for a sugar substitute without having to change your recipe). If you try that option you will have to let me know how that tastes.
Click here for the website where I found these fun Cheerios recipes, and to see more Cheerio ideas!
In the midst of me working on this post, my niece sent me a Marco Polo message about some delicious caramel popcorn that she had just made-out of kernel-less popcorn! I could almost taste it through the camera! I had heard of this but could not find it at the store when I had looked. She bought Chester’s Puffcorn (found by the Cheetos at Walmart). Then she used that to make caramel popcorn with a recipe from her mother-in-law, who has given me permission to share her recipe here! This is a good caramel popcorn option because you actually bake it in the oven, so it hardens and is not sticky, making it a great on-the-go snack as well. Since I could’t find it at Walmart near me, my niece took pictures for me to share. If she was excited enough to send me a Marco Polo message about it, (without even knowing I was writing this post) then I think we can all trust that it is delicious!
Kernal-Less Caramel Popcorn
3 pkgs (3 1/2 oz each) Chester’s Puffcorn Butter
2/3 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
Boil 1 minute.Remove from heat and add 1 tsp baking soda. Mix well. Pour over popcorn and stir until well cooled.
Bake at 225 degrees F on a big cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Stirred every 10 minutes. When done, pour onto wax paper. Separate pieces, let cool. Break into single pieces.
*My niece said that she only used 2 packages, and she put it all on one big cookie sheet and didn’t need to separate it.
OR of course you could just eat the Chester’s Puffcorn plain. Eliminating the kernal would also mean eliminating the pain for a lot of us Crohnies! Who knew there was such a thing??
In my search, I also found a couple other hulless popcorn options:
Tiny But Mighty Hulless Popcorn-this looks delicious!
Amish Country Hulless Popcorn (found here). I even found a microwave version on their website!
I’m a huge Pringles fan, and got really excited when I saw someone mention Pringles Buttered Popcorn flavor in a Crohn’s Facebook group I’m in. But alas, in my extensive search online, I found that these are not available in the United States right now. But hey, if you live in Australia, check them out!
Lastly, while roaming my local Walmart, I discovered Pirate’s Booty. I did not buy any but I have heard good things about it from other Crohnies. It is definitely on my list to try! It is made from baked rice and corn puffs.
Of course, you can always try other salty snack alternatives as well, such as:
Cheese and crackers
Tortilla chips (or any chips that you can tolerate, really)
Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks
…and, if you are brave, Jelly Belly Buttered Popcorn flavor.