Similar to the potato, corn is another one of those foods that gets a bum rap because of how it’s usually served: fried (corn chips/corn dogs), processed (corn syrup), extruded (many sugary cereals) or otherwise fashioned into foods you never thought were made with corn (ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies, bread and more). One can of soda is rich in corn, in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which shocks our body with an insulin-spiking 120 calories of simple carbs, and no nutrients whatsoever. That’s Mr. Hyde.
Yet there is a brighter, more natural side to corn; the one you see when you take a long ear and slowly peel back layer upon layer of its stringy exterior to reveal a yellow, white or multicolored bonanza of kernels that you can eat straight off the cob. Beyond its juicy crunch and naturally sweet flavor, corn’s got some serious nutrients too. Just one cup (the size of your fist) packs 5g of protein, 4g of fiber, and it has a natural source of many nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese…all into a 130 calorie package. So grab an ear, Doctor Jekyll is in!
Heck, even popcorn, when not dressed up in lots of liquefied fat and salt (typically found in the store-bought microwavable packages and the movie theater kind), is one of the healthiest snacks around. It provides most of the protein, fiber and nutrients listed above and three cups (three fistfuls) of air-popped popcorn runs only 90 calories. Toss with a teaspoon of melted butter (optional – 30 calories) and your favorite spice (zero calories) to add tons of flavor for minimal calories. Try curry powder or fresh, chopped rosemary, yum…
One final, random tip: At your next Mexican feast, consider using corn tortillas…they usually have less calories than their flour counterparts.
Interested in getting corn back into your cooking rotation? Here are some other tasty uses for the healthier, happier side of corn:
Dr. Jekyll: How do you like to cook with corn?
Mr. Hyde: Where have you found processed corn where you least expected it?