ZeroPoint™ Cheat Sheet: Corn & Popcorn

All your top questions about corn and popcorn, answered

While “zero” usually means “nothing,” at WW, ZeroPoint™ foods are everything! If corn and popcorn are one of your ZeroPoint foods and you’ve got some questions, you’re in the right place.

Which foods are actually included in this category?

  • Air-popped popcorn, no oil, butter, or sugar
  • Air-popped popcorn, no oil, butter, or sugar, with salt and/or spice
  • Canned corn
  • Corn, yellow
  • Corn, sweet
  • Corn, white
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Hominy
  • Popcorn kernels for at-home popping

Hmmm…I don’t see movie theater popcorn and dried crunchy corn snacks here.


Sorry, neither of these are ZeroPoint foods. Since movie theaters use oil to pop their corn—and sometimes serve it with a squirt of hot butter—you need to count the points for the total cups of popcorn you eat. And those crunchy corn snacks are typically fried, transforming them from a high-fiber healthy food to something that’s nutritionally on par with a potato chip.

So how can I recreate the buttery movie theater popcorn experience at home for ZeroPoints?


Place hot plain popcorn in a large bowl and lightly coat it with butter-flavored cooking spray. Toss the popcorn with salt and/or your favorite ZeroPoint seasonings.

What if I don’t have an air-popper?

Not to worry! You can “air-pop” popcorn in the microwave using a silicone popcorn popper like this one from WW. You can also buy plain air-popped popcorn in the snack chip aisle in most supermarkets.

Popcorn makes a great snack but is there any way to actually cook with it?

You bet! Popcorn makes a wonderful stand in for oats in granola bars and grains in stuffing and casseroles, and as a crunchy topping for soup and salad instead of croutons. Popcorn is also tasty tossed into the batter of your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, adding a boost of fiber and a little toasted corn flavor to each delicious bite.

What are some of the easiest ways to cook corn on the cob?


Boil whole shucked ears until tender, about 7 minutes. Grill whole shucked ears, turning a few times, until tender and lightly charred in spots, 10-12 minutes. Microwave a whole ear in its husk: Wrap an ear loosely in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then remove the silk and husk.

And what about hominy? What exactly is it? How can I use it?


Hominy is a type of whole corn kernels that have been cooked in a solution to remove their thick hulls. It’s typically sold canned but can be purchased dried and then cooked like you would a pot of dry beans.

Hominy is a main ingredient in the Mexican dish Pozole but is also super tasty when swapped for corn kernels in no-cook salads, simmered in soups and stews, and sauteed with aromatic veggies such as peppers and onions.

Why don’t I see canned baby corn on this list?


That’s because baby corn is actually a non-starchy vegetable and a ZeroPoint food for everyone!

Any other corn-related tips?


Yes! If you’ve never tried eating raw corn on the cob, give it a try. Just-picked, in-season corn is incredibly sweet and juicy, and delicious in its natural state—no cooking required.

Make sure to extract as much flavor from fresh corn on the cob as you can. If you’re making a recipe that calls for you to cut the corn kernels off the cob, hold the bare cob over a bowl and run your knife over the cob to catch any liquid. This will release corn “milk” from the cob, adding a little extra sweetness and fresh corn flavor to your recipe.

Leslie Fink, MS, RD, has worked on WW’s editorial team for more than 21 years. She plays a key role in food, recipe, and program content, as well as product partnerships and experiences.


Related Articles