The other night I was on the go and realized I was approaching cranky-hungry stage. I had about 5 minutes, so I did the responsible thing: duck into 7-Eleven and buy a bag of popcorn.

Seemed like the healthiest gluten-free option available. None of the ingredients were red flags – it was just plain popcorn, no seasoning or anything – so I figured it was a reasonable gluten-gamble. Plus, I thought it better to avoid potato chips.

By the time I got to the register, a good ¼ of it was in my belly. Then I read the Nutrition Facts; suffice to say the rest of the bag was guilt-flavored.

Popcorn can be a healthy part of a gluten-free diet, though.

At least, it can be a not-terribly-unhealthy part of the gluten-free diet. Your gluten-free grocery guide has plenty of options for pre-popped popcorn. Some of it will be better for you than others, of course – if you’ve been on a gluten-free diet for more than a month, you know there are plenty of ways to indulge (including gluten-free movie theater popcorn, which Sarah covered the ins and outs of in this very blog).

The basic premise for making popcorn at home is simple: put some oil and some popcorn kernels into a) a paper bag, fold over a few times, and microwave or b) a pot, cover, heat and shake. But that gets boring – so I went looking for some ways to jazz things up. Here’s what I found, and what’s going to be happening in my kitchen over the next few weeks:

  • Add a dash of your favorite gluten-free hot sauce to the kernels before popping, along with the oil.
  • Go deeper into Latin territory with elote flavors: butter, cotija cheese, and some combination of chile powder, cumin and cayenne.
  • Relax with this chamomile popcorn recipe from Kanokorn (I’m super-curious about this one, but they have a lot of interesting options to choose from).
  • Cook up some bacon (preferably in a cast iron pot, according to a trusted source), remove it, and cook the popcorn in the grease. I suppose you could chop the bacon up and add it back into the popcorn, but it might just fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  • The Popcorn Board’s ballpark popcorn is reminiscent of Cracker Jacks – but somehow adding the prize to your own bowl takes away some of the fun of the original.
  • I’d like to swim in a tub of this almond honey popcorn from the creatively-named popcorn-recipes.net. Healthy schmealthy.
  • There are many, many more recipes in this handy book, Popcorn. Just be sure to keep your add-ons gluten-free.

How do you like your popcorn?