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Friday night is movie night with the kids. It is a great way to wrap up a busy week and it is the only night that the kids are allowed to eat in front of the television. It has become a well loved tradition in our home and one that I hope that continues for many years to come. It all started with watching Cars and Curious George in rotation for months on end. I think if I tried, I probably could still recite a good portion of the scripts. While those were fun times, I’m happy to say we’ve moved on to a more varied approach in our movie choices.

I try to keep family movie night as healthy as I can while still allowing a few indulgences. We often purchase ready made pizza crusts and add our own toppings. I used to make the crust but quickly realized that our ‘easy’ movie night dinner required more effort and time than I was willing to invest on a regular basis. By using our own toppings, I can control what type of ingredients are used and how much. We use either nitrate free pork pepperoni or turkey pepperoni for the meat lovers in our house and we also add in extra veggies. Spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese tastes delicious on a pizza!

What about the snack portion of the evening? I don’t like purchasing bags of potato chips or popcorn that are laden with artificial ingredients or flavour enhancers. So what do we do? Occasionally, I will buy a bag of plain chips and then make our own dip. I know what is in it and I like it that way. Most often though, we make an enormous bowl of popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain, a source of fiber and can be a relatively healthy snack.

As a mom and nutritionist, I pay attention to the quality and source of our food. Corn is one of the crops in Canada that is considered GMO or a genetically modified organism. The reality is that we just don’t know what the long term effects are on us and our planet. Because of this, I’ve chosen to avoid these crops whenever I can. Knowing that corn was a GMO crop, led me to believe that popcorn must therefore be GMO as well. Much to my surprise it is not!

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, “Snack food manufacturers are aware of public perception of biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There is concern that the industry could be affected if their products are negatively associated with these issues. Currently, chipping potatoes, white corn, and popping corn and food grade yellow corn are non-GMO.” source: www.agr.gc.ca

We still use organic popcorn to avoid the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are commonly sprayed on conventional crops. We pop our kernels either in a hot air popper or in a cinema popper with coconut oil. We drizzle a little butter & grind some sea salt on the hot air popcorn or simply add a little salt to the coconut oil popcorn.

Ditch the microwave popcorn and do it yourself. Microwave popcorn is laden with artificial butter flavouring and the safety of the bag is in question. Remember how I say popcorn could be a healthy treat? Using the microwave bags pretty much squashes that claim! Making your own popcorn is so quick & easy and can often be done in the same amount of time as a hot air popper. As an added bonus, no more scorched black popcorn because you missed your 5 second opportunity to grab the bag out of the microwave! Up for a little culinary experience? Try drizzling a little lime juice and sprinkling some chili powder on your next bowl.