Knowing how many calories are in a bag of popcorn is a great way to track your daily calorie consumption and stay healthy.
A typical 100 g bag of popcorn contains between 424 and 557 calories. The calorie content varies depending on the type of popcorn and what flavorings have been added to it.
Plain, air-popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories, whereas butter popcorn and caramel popcorn are high in calories.
Let’s find out more about how many calories are in a bag of popcorn, how to restrict your calorie intake and still enjoy popcorn, and what the best type of bagged popcorn is.
How Many Calories Are in a Whole Bag of Microwave Popcorn?
The number of calories in a bag of microwave popcorn varies by brand. However, the USDA states that a whole bag of microwave popcorn typically contains 424 calories.
How Many Calories are in Microwave Butter Popcorn?
Again, the number of calories in a bag of microwave butter popcorn differs between brands. But as a general rule, you’ll find about 557 calories in one bag of microwave butter popcorn.
What are the Side Effects of Eating Too Many Calories?
We’re all guilty of eating too many calories on the odd occasion. A bad day at work or a stressful afternoon with the kids tends to push people to reach for unhealthy snacks.
But if you eat too many calories regularly, you’re at risk of the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Sleep issues
- Skin issues
- Digestive problems
- Tooth decay
You can avoid these problems and stay healthy by eating a sensible number of calories each day. This means eating snacks, such as popcorn, in moderation and choosing popcorn cooked in healthy ways.
Popcorn cooked in oil is higher in calories than air-popped or microwave popcorn, so it’s best to opt for one of these where possible.
You can make air-popped popcorn and microwave popcorn easily in your microwave at home. Don’t panic if you have a small microwave, as there are simple things you can do if your popcorn bag is too big for your microwave, which we discuss here.
How Many Calories Should I Eat Each Day?
Everyone needs a different number of calories per day. Age, sex, physical activity, and weight all play a role in the number of calories you should eat each day.
But there are calorie guidelines in place that will help you stay on track:
- Adult males – between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day.
- Adult females – between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day.
- Older children & teens – between 1,400 and 3,200 calories per day.
- Children between 2 and 8 years of age (remember popcorn is not recommended for children under the age of 4) – between 1,000 and 2,000 calories per day.
How Many Calories are in a Movie Theater Bucket of Popcorn?
Movie theater popcorn is one of the unhealthiest types of popcorn there is. But you could also argue that it’s one of the tastiest.
Check our article on how to make movie theater popcorn at home.
Movie theaters sell several different bucket sizes of popcorn. Each size contains a different number of calories. Calorie content even varies between theaters.
You’ll find the total calories in a small, medium, and a large bucket of popcorn at the 5 biggest movie theater chains below:
|Cinema||Small (calories)||Medium (calories)||Large (calories)|
Which Popcorn is Low in Calories?
The plainer your popcorn, the lower in calories it is. Bags of popcorn that contain air-popped popcorn or which have been microwaved have the fewest number of calories.
If you like the ease of prepackaged popcorn, one of the best options is Black Jewell No Salt No Oil Microwave Hulless Popcorn which contains just 100 calories per bag.
Other low-calorie prepackaged options include 365 Everyday Value Organic Popcorn, Light Butter which contains 130 calories per bag, and Newman’s Own Touch of Butter which also has 130 calories per bag.
Can I Eat A Whole Bag of Popcorn?
We know it’s tempting to pig out on a whole bag of popcorn, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
Let’s assume that you’re an adult female who needs 2,000 calories per day. Eating a 421-calorie bag of popcorn would take up more than 21% of your recommended daily amount of calories.
It’s advised that each snack you eat contains between 150 and 200 calories. As you can see, a whole bag of popcorn is a lot more than this and will limit the other foods you could eat throughout the day. This will also impact the nutrition your body gets.
How Many Calories Are in Snack Bags of Popcorn?
If you can’t stop yourself from overindulging on a large bag of popcorn, you may be better off with snack bags of popcorn. Most snack bags of popcorn promise to satisfy your popcorn craving in 100 calories or less.
Brands that sell snack popcorn containing 100 calories or less include:
- Pop Secret
- Jolly Time
- Act II
- Orville Redenbacher
How Many Calories Are in Popcorn Toppings?
Some popcorn toppings contain virtually no calories, others contain lots. Low-calorie popcorn options include:
- Salt – 0 calories
- Cinnamon – 19 calories per tablespoon
- Cocoa powder – 12 calories per tablespoon
- Mixed spice – 16 calories per tablespoon
- Chives – 0.6 calories per tablespoon
- Black pepper – 6 calories per tablespoon
- Garlic powder – 32 calories per tablespoon
- Lime zest – 3 calories per tablespoon
If you prefer to top your popcorn with more luxurious yet unhealthy popcorn toppings, you’ll ramp up the total calorie content of your snack.
Let’s take a look at the calorie content of some typical popcorn toppings:
- Butter – 78 calories per cup of popcorn
- Caramel – 151 calories per cup of popcorn
- Cheddar cheese – 160 calories per cup of popcorn
- Ranch – 140 calories per cup of popcorn
- Chocolate – 150 calories per cup
A bag of popcorn is a low-calorie snack when it has been air-popped or cooked in a microwave. As popcorn is such a tasty and satisfying treat it’s easy to eat too much of it and this is where problems can occur. Similarly, eating popcorn with high-calorie toppings is risky. We suggest that you always make sure you’re careful with your popcorn portion sizes so that you can enjoy it guilt-free.
Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!