Last week we investigated why coconut oil is an easy and effective method of weight and health management (PUT LINK HERE)
This week we will look at a few low-investment, high-return ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet. These simple recipe hacks can quickly put coconut oil in our recipes and health back into our diets!
While coconut oil can be slathered onto your body and hair in just about any amounts, as with any food, though, you can have too much of a good thing. The average 150-pound woman needs 60 grams of fat per day, and a teaspoon of coconut oil has 14 grams, so a few delicious spoons a day should do it, said Hundt. Sharp advocates substituting coconut oil in place of other fats rather than adding it, since a tablespoon of coconut oil is about 117 calories.
That one caveat aside, nutritionists agree that coconut oil is pretty great. And since it tastes fantastic, that's really just a bonus.
In Suzannah Weiss’s April 2016 article for Glamour magazine How to Use Coconut Oil in Recipes, she lists the following easy and delicious ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet:
1. Substitute it for butter
According to Sharp, you can use coconut oil in popcorn, on vegetables, in baked goods, on toast or pancakes, and in pretty much anything else where you would normally use butter for a healthy, vegan alternative.
2. Use it as a cooking oil
While olive oil and other cooking oils often lose their nutritional benefits at high temperatures, coconut oil stays intact, making it great for pan-frying vegetables and other foods, as long as you don't mind the coconut taste, said Purdy.
3. Add it to hot beverages
According to Purdy, coconut oil adds a frothy, creamy texture to hot beverages and can be used in place of a coffee creamer. Or, to satisfy sweet cravings without compromising nutrition, Hundt recommends mixing a spoon of dark cocoa with hot unsweetened almond milk, stevia, and a teaspoon of coconut oil.
4. Mix it into smoothies
You can also add a spoon of coconut oil to smoothies to help stabilize your blood sugar, fill you up, boost your energy, and nourish your muscles after workouts. Hundt suggests mixing it with a cup of frozen cauliflower, a cup of frozen butternut squash, three strawberries, and a scoop of protein powder.
5. Saute fruit in it
Purdy recommends lightly frying bananas in coconut oil and drizzling them with cinnamon for a tasty, nutrition-packed dessert.
In Sara Angle’s Shape Magazine’s Nine Nutritious Coconut Oil Cooking Hacks, she gets even more specific with some of the same principles and lists easy creative cooking replacement hacks for recipes we already use in our kitchens.
Coconut Oil in Buffalo Wings
Coat chicken wings with a mix of 1/2 cup of Vita Coco Coconut Oil, 1/2 cup hot sauce, 2 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tbsp white vinegar for a sweet and spicy zing that brings health benefits to your wings.
Get Crunchier Granola with Coconut Oil
Replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil when baking granola. Not only does it taste great, but it helps encourage the formation of those crunchy clusters everyone loves, says Jessica Cording, R.D.
Slash Calories From Rice with Coconut Oil
White rice doesn't have to be the enemy! According to new research presented at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting, boiling rice with coconut oil and then refrigerating it for 12 hours can slash the rice's calories by as much as 60 percent. The combination of fat and cold converts some of the rice's digestible starch into non-digestible starch, so your body absorbs fewer calories. Thanks, chemistry!
Herbs and Coconut Oils in Ice Cube Trays
You've probably heard of freezing fresh herbs in ice cube trays to preserve them for later use in cooking, but the pros at Crisco came up with another an even better idea for their organic coconut oil: Add fresh herbs to ice cube trays, melt coconut oil in the microwave for 20 to 60 seconds, pour it into the trays, then freeze until firm. Store in the refrigerator and pop out for quickly adding flavor to dishes like fried rice, baked chicken, pan-fried fish, or sautéed veggies.
Give Ice Cream a Magic Shell with Coconut Oil
Melt and mix coconut oil with a dash of vanilla extract and drizzle over ice cream, sorbet, or a smoothie for an all-natural 'magic shell,' says Cording. Yes, the kind you loved as a kid! Top with mangos for a piña colada style treat.
Un-Fry Your Doughnuts with Coconut Oil
You don't have to give up fried foods—you just need a healthier way to make them. Due to its high-heat tolerance, coconut oil is ideal for frying foods from eggs to donuts, says Marci Clow, R.D. at Rainbow Light. While most of the fats we consume are long chain fatty acids that must be broken down before they can be absorbed, coconut oil contains short and medium chain fatty acids, which are more easily digested, she explains.
Make a Zingy Salad Dressing with Coconut Oil
Change up the classic balsamic and olive oil combo by combining coconut oil, vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and a dash of honey, recommends Sarah Hallenberger, lead dietitian at Bistro MD. The dressing works especially well on salads with fruit, like an easy spinach, feta, and strawberry dish.
As with every fad and trend that comes and goes in dieting, with time and practice we eventually find what works best with our bodies. But with an answer to our dieting woes as easy and delicious as coconut oil appears to be, the benefits appear to be here to stay!