Know Your Oils

Posted 09/29/2015 | By HealthCorps

A healthy diet should contain fats and oils but you do need to be selective. Yes, olive oil and extra virgin olive oil contain healthy monounsaturated fat, and vegetable oil, which is usually soybean oil, is comprised of mostly polyunsaturated fats and is also considered a heart-healthy choice. Are there any other oils that are healthy?

Coconut oil contains mostly saturated fat, and though there may be some evidence that coconut oil’s saturated fat is not quite as harmful as other traditional saturated fats like butter, the jury is still out. Using small amounts of coconut oil in a balanced diet is fine, but this oil is not yet ready for prime health time till it undergoes further studies.

Avocado oil does have a nutrition profile similar to olive oil. You can use it for dressings, sautés, and for grilling. You can also include avocadoes in your diet but use portion control.

Walnut oil is low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and rich in ALA omega 3 fatty acids. Walnut oil can be used in dressings (people like its nutty flavor) and it can be used when baking healthy breads and muffins.

Ghee, a popular fat used in Indian cooking, is made by simmering butter and then skimming off the milk solids that form. The butterfat that is left has a rich, nutty flavor. Since ghee is high in saturated fat, it’s not as healthy as olive or vegetable oil, but small amounts spread on baked crackers or melted on cooked vegetables is acceptable as an occasional treat.

Quick tip: Only 10% of your total daily calories should come from saturated fat. Recommended total daily fat range us 20-25% of your day’s total calories and should come predominantly from healthy fats. There is recent conclusive evidence to suggest that there is no safe level of consumption of trans fats.

Sources: FDA
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine

Healthy Citrus Vinaigrette


¾ cup soybean oil
¼ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon minced chives
¾ teaspoon stevia (liquid)
2 teaspoons grated ginger
½ tablespoon grated orange peel
¼ teaspoon grated lemon or lime peel

Combine ingredients in a metal or glass bowl and whisk together.

Serving ideas: Perfect when paired with a salad that contains a variety of vegetables and fruits like apple wedges, blueberries, or tangerine sections. You can always send salad dressing to school packed in a separate small reusable container. Your student can then add the dressing at lunchtime.

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