Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Skipping the snacks & then along came the Super Bowl February 6, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In 2014, I photographed these vintage potato chip bags at a “Food: Who We Are & What We Eat” exhibit at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2014.


FOR THE MOST PART, I’ve avoided eating chips for the past year. This snack avoidance began with a weight loss challenge at my husband’s workplace. I, unofficially, joined him in the challenge. I lost 20 pounds and have managed to keep off the weight for almost a year now. Randy lost about the same.


I started out lifting 1.5 pounds, then advanced to 3 pounds followed by five. Today I am lifting eight pounds with a single arm. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


Our weight loss happened primarily via eating smaller portions, reducing sugar intake and eliminating unhealthy snacks. I’m also lifting weights, an exercise initiated in physical therapy last summer for a broken shoulder. I noticed not only a strengthening of my arm muscles, but the side benefits of a stronger, and flatter, core. Win, win. Now, months after therapy ended, I continue to pump those individual weights.

But back to those chips. Randy ate them nearly daily with the lunch he packed for work. Me, only occasionally. I convinced him to stop eating chips and to pack almonds in his lunch instead. He’s mostly stuck to that chips ban, although once in awhile I must pull chips from the shopping cart and place them back on grocery store shelves.


Retailers really push the chips and other snack foods prior to the Super Bowl. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo January 2018.


Last weekend we made an exception to our “no chips in the house” rule. I blame the Super Bowl and a weak moment of caving to the munchies hype that accompanies it. I wanted guacamole, which requires tortilla chips. I picked up a bag of multi-grain. Randy wanted Doritos. Who am I to deny him chips when I had just purchased some for myself?




And then I read an article about Minnesota’s snack industry, which includes BOOMCHICKAPOP. The ready-to-eat popcorn is made at Angie’s Artisan Treats in North Mankato. That’s an hour drive to the west of Faribault. I’ve seen the product with the signature hot pink package lettering in area grocery stores but never purchased the popcorn. Until Sunday. Just in time for Super Bowl snacking. I chose the sweet & salty kettle corn. That’s how the business started with husband and wife (Dan and Angie) making kettle corn in their Mankato garage and selling it locally. I appreciate that the ingredients are simple and few: popcorn, sunflower oil, cane sugar and sea salt.

In October, Chicago-based ConAgra Brands paid $250 million (according to Twin Cities Business magazine) for the business. BOOMCHICKAPOP is a Minnesota success story. So, you know, I just had to try that kettle corn…

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “Skipping the snacks & then along came the Super Bowl”

  1. Go Grandma Says:

    I didn’t know Boomchickapop was local! It’s a regular at our house. I feel slightly less guilty snacking on that.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I love BOOMCHICKAPOP! And did not realize it was a MN success story! Yippee–another reason to love it.

  3. Jena Says:

    Well done with your health journey. It’s hard to reduce the snacks and portions but it’s also fun to create new veggie based dishes. We strapped on our fitness trackers,too. But Super Bowl Sunday- have to indulge!

    • Kudos to your family also for eating healthier and for exercising.

      I don’t totally cut chips and other such snacks out of my diet. I still eat them if I’m at someone’s home and they are served. Moderation is a key in those situations. But I find that it’s better not to have any of these foods in our home, except on special occasions. Otherwise the temptation is too great to snack.

  4. Valerie Says:

    Good for you for giving up/cutting back on snacks…savory and sweet. I
    like the popcorn too…didn’t realize the story behind it.

  5. MN is a food company state and I am probably aware of it since I have family in the industry there. I still remember my first job and not making it one day at the cream corn division of Green Giant – I could not handle the smell and made me physically ill (I grew up on a farm and can handle smells). Moderation and portion size is key when it comes to snacking. I need a snack now – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    • Ah, Green Giant, yes a well-known name in Minnesota. A few years ago I found a Green Giant giant stashed near a museum in LeSueur. I don’t think I ever posted those photos. I need to do that sometime. I can understand how that particular smell would get to you.

      Absolutely, moderation and portion control are keys to snacking. Great advice.

  6. Don Says:

    Growing up my dad was a baker and my mom ran the lunch counter in the bakery. They were smart in that they allowed me to eat all the rolls, donuts, candies and drink all the pop I wanted. When it’s that accessible it soon lost it’s appeal and to this day I rarely indulge in any of those treats. I may have one or two donuts in a month and possibly a can of pop which I then have a problem finishing the entire can. I remember that going north on highway 169 just outside of Le Sueur on the top of a hill there was a huge Green Giant Giant. This of course due to the fact that Le Sueur had a huge Green Giant plant there. I wonder if what you saw stashed near a museum was that giant……………..

    • Oh, that would seem like every kid’s dream to grow up in a bakery. But I can see where too many sweets would cause you to stay away from them.

      I can’t remember the last time I had a can of pop or a doughnut.

      As for that Green Giant, I don’t know if he’s still standing along 169. I’m thinking not, which would make the one I saw likely the roadside attraction. The Green Giant plant in Le Sueur is gone. That much I know.

  7. Don Says:

    Green Giant plant is gone….oh my! Ya know having grown up in the bakery I was never able to have such childhood delights such as Twinkies, Oreo cookies etc. My dad would say, “We have a bakery why would you want that garbage!” he was right but when your a kid……..well we made do without those treats.

    • Hey, I seldom got those coveted store-bought treats either, except when we visited Grandpa and raided his stash of “skunk cookies” (our name for fudge striped cookies).

      Now as an adult, I agree 100 percent with your dad’s garbage assessment. But try telling that to a farm kid denied of mass manufactured sweets.

  8. Littlesundog Says:

    I only miss the crunch of chips these days. We’ve been with the Paleo lifestyle four years now, and though the crunch and salt might be tempting, even the paleo chips that are available do not agree with my stomach. I used to love sweets too, and I can still be tempted by them, but the belly ache I get after does not make it worth the splurge. I guess once the body gets used to running on clean fuel, throwing chips or sweets down the hatch into the tank only asks for trouble! Bravo to you and Randy for adhering to healthy habits and sticking with it. We never really had store-bought snacks and rarely did we have soda pop as kids. I think not getting into the habit of indulging in a lot of that made it easier for me to give up those kinds of snacks.

    • Once again, your comment reflects similarities to my childhood. Pop was a treat and so were snacks like potato chips.

      You’re correct about your body feeling yucky after eating too many sweets when you’ve mostly cut them from your idea. While I still crave chocolate occasionally and do give into that craving, I certainly don’t crave sweets much anymore. I can walk away from those or limit myself.

      Congrats to you and Forest for choosing this healthy way of eating and living.

  9. Jackie Says:

    I’ve seen this popcorn in the stores but I had no idea it was made so close. Did you like the kettle corn flavor. I may have to try it 🙂

  10. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I’ve never tried kettle corn but it sounds great. We recently purchased a popcorn machine so we can make healthier popcorn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.