Everyone is hearing more and more about coconut oil, but many of us are not sure just how to use this emerging superfood; here are some suggestions to get coconut oil into some of your favorite recipes, as well as a couple of suggestions you might find intriguing.
Remember when coconut oil was just about the worst kind of oil you could put into your body? It made the tastiest popcorn you could imagine at the movie theater, but it was supposedly as horrible for your body as it was delicious.
“Theater popcorn ought to be the Snow White of snack foods, but it’s been turned into Godzilla by being popped in highly saturated coconut oil,” Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in 1994.
Fast forward to 2013: Coconut oil is the darling of the health-food world, garnering praise as a “superfood,” and many people are asking, “How do I get coconut oil into my diet?”
First, it is important to purchase a good-quality, extra-virgin coconut oil. Like many foods, the health benefits of coconut oil are at their maximum when the oil has not been over-processed. It will be a solid in the container, and melts easily. In fact, you may find that in the container coconut oil will be something of a liquid-solid; that is normal with coconut oil, since the melting point is only 76 degrees. Cooking with it is the easiest way to get it into your diet, just like any other oil, but there are other ways to get coconut oil into your diet, as well.
Five Ideas for Slipping Coconut Oil into Your Diet
- Use in Cooking: The coconut oil does, if you have never used it, bring a coconut taste to whatever you add it to, particularly bland foods that take on seasonings well. But, do not be afraid to use it, fearing a “weird” taste. The flavor of coconut oil brings a different, but rather pleasant taste to everyday foods, such as scrambled eggs. Use about a tablespoon of the coconut oil instead of butter when cooking your eggs, but cook and season them as you usually would. Sautee your meats or veggies in coconut oil, or use it in soup—just add a teaspoon in your serving bowl, and it will melt on its own.
- Add Coconut Oil to Drinks: It seems odd, but adding coconut oil to smoothies and hot drinks can help you get the oil into your diet. Melt the coconut oil before adding it slowly while stirring to a smoothie, to keep it from clumping. And, a teaspoon of coconut oil in coffee or tea may sound odd, but many people find it appealing—no need to melt, it will melt on its own when added to hot drinks.
- Baking with Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can be substituted for other fats in baking, although it may take some experimenting. It tends to impart that lingering coconut flavor, but it is lessened in recipes that are rich in other flavors. It also tends to help add a moistness to baked goods. But, I have also learned that it can bring a greasy texture to some baked goods, as well. After making cornbread with coconut oil, I quickly realized that I needed to cut down the coconut oil by about 1/3 in the recipe, to keep from having an overly greasy crust on the outside—but the flavor and texture inside was fantastic, regardless.
- Drizzle over Foods: Often, we will use olive oil to “finish” dishes, drizzling it over baked or grilled chicken, or over veggies or pasta to give these dishes a bit of extra flavor. You can do the same with coconut oil, melting it gently to drizzle.
- Use in Mashed Potatoes: Instead of butter, use coconut oil. Start with about a tablespoon in a four-serving bowl of potatoes, and add as needed after tasting. It gives the potatoes a slightly different taste that your friends and family will not be able to put their finger on, but will certainly enjoy.
What are your favorite ways to get coconut oil into your diet Huliq readers? Give us your tips in the comment section below!
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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