Kickstart the 10-Week Wellness Challenge with Smart Snacking!

By Michelle Chalkey

It’s time to kick those wellness resolutions into high gear with Live Healthy Iowa! Bringing together friends, families and co-workers, Live Healthy Iowa kicks off their annual 10-Week Wellness Challenge this month. From Jan. 23-March 31, teams of Iowans will motivate each other to move more and make nutritious food choices while engaging in fun and friendly competition to see who can improve their health the most in 2017.

Supercharge your wellness efforts with smart snacking! What better way to satisfy a salty craving than with a bowl of popcorn produced right here in Iowa?

Iowa is a leading state in the production of popcorn! While most of the corn grown in Iowa – 97% to be exact – is field corn, less than 1% of Iowa’s farmers grow the delicious snack that moviegoers are so fond of eating. Many people think all corn is the same, but it’s not. The four basic types of corn all have distinguishing traits and uses. You can’t pop sweet corn, and you wouldn’t want to eat boiled field corn!

Much of the field corn grown by Iowa’s farmers becomes livestock feed and ethanol fuel or is exported as value-added products. Corn is in almost everything, and there are a whopping 4,000-plus uses and products made from corn that can be found in your local grocery store – like all the meat, milk, eggs, poultry and other protein sources. Many other products depend on corn as well, from paper goods and cardboard packaging, to tires, makeup, soda and even ice cream – proving that corn is in just about everything!

Corn grown for popcorn is visibly different from field corn. The tassels are the telltale signs of different types of corn; tassels on field corn stand upright while popcorn plants have floppy tassels. At the heart of this plant is the endearing popcorn kernel – a healthy whole-grain, which is naturally low in fat and calories.

Popcorn makes for a great snack to help you reach your wellness goals. Four cups of plain popped popcorn contain only 120 calories and 5 grams of fiber. While low in saturated fats, popcorn has natural oils that are essential for the body.

National Popcorn Day is celebrated in January, but we don’t believe in limiting the celebration to just one day. We love to celebrate one of America’s favorite snacks all year long!

The Iowa Food & Family Project is a proud sponsor of Live Healthy Iowa. Live Healthy Iowa brings together friends, families, businesses and communities in team-based wellness challenges designed to promote positive lifestyle change. These challenges are proven to change the culture of a company or community, one team at a time! Learn more at www.livehealthyiowa.org