Harvested from an Indian water lily plant, roasted until crunchier than popcorn, and beaming with health benefits, popped water lily seeds sound like a snack in a fantasy world — but they are very real. The low-calorie Ayurvedic snack has been eaten for many years in India and China but have only recently popped their way to the West. Free of allergens like wheat, nuts, corn, and soy, the marble-size bites are predicted by some health experts to be one of the top health-food trends of 2019. What’s with the sudden buzz?

Jai Farswani, co-founder of AshaPops, says the superfood seeds have three main benefits. First, they are high protein, with as much as 5-6 grams per ounce. They also contain antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, which can strengthen bones, improve sleep, and relieve anxiety. Lastly they won’t set you back calorie-wise. “The big thing for our customers is that it’s a low-calorie snack — 100 calories in the whole bag — but it’s nutrient-dense,” he says. Combine those factors with the addictively crunchy texture, and you have a winning snack. Suddenly feeling snacky? Here are four brands making popped water lily seeds in all kinds of flavors, from sweet dark chocolate to spicy sriracha.


AshaPops ($22/4 bags) are named after Farswani’s mom, Asha, who grew up snacking on popped water lily seeds in India. She suffered from joint pain and sleep troubles as she got older, but she claims that her problems subsided when she started snacking on the seeds again. Try AshaPops in Indian-inspired flavors like Turmeric and Bombay Pepper Masala as well as Dark Chocolate and Vegan Cheese.

Lily Puffs

Lily Puffs ($20/6 bags) only come in one flavor, but the taste is so Cheetos-like, it might be the only flavor you crave. Vegan Cheese blankets water lily seeds in a simple mixture of coconut oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and paprika. It contains 120 calories per serving with 6 grams of protein, compared to 2 grams in a 150-calorie serving of Skinny Pop Popcorn.


Bohana Himalayan Pink Salt ($25/6 bags) gives you an idea of what water lily seeds taste like before they’ve been flavored: like popcorn, but with twice the crunch and without pesky kernels stuck in your teeth. You can also try Bohana in Wild White Cheddar (which contains dairy) and chili-dusted Soulful Spice.


Taali ($18/4) is your one-stop-shop for a wide range of flavors, from simple Himalayan Pink Salt and Salt & Pepper to highly savory Tangy Turmeric and White Cheddar. Tikka Masala, made with tomato, onion, and lots of spices, means you can experience the taste of your favorite Indian take-out dish on the go and for about 50 calories per cup.

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(Photos via Bohana, AshaPops, Lily Puffs, and Taali)