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Kristine Xu is a journalism freshman and Mustang News food columnist.
With every new quarter comes the resolutions to work out and eat healthier. Instead of struggling through the usual routines and feeling uninspired by the food options, consider introducing coconut oil as a healthy supplement.
Originally from tropical regions such as India, Thailand and the Philippines, coconut oil has been used for centuries as a natural supplement for healthier diets. Because of its high anti-fungal, antioxidant and antibacterial qualities, coconut oil has many benefits, including stress relief, regulating metabolism, boosting the immune system, weight loss, lowering blood pressure and improving dental, hair and skin health.
Despite being falsely regarded as unhealthy because of its high-saturated fat content, coconut oil has become a widely accepted household ingredient that also adds a great tropical flavor. Here are some healthy food and general options to incorporate coconut oil.
For those with easy access to a toaster and a regular habit of eating breakfast, substitute butter with a light coating of coconut oil for a healthier choice with a slice of whole wheat or rye bread.
2. Coconut oil-infused hazelnut spread
Dress up a bland slice of toast with homemade coconut oil-infused hazelnut spread for another tasty and healthy breakfast option. Combine roasted hazelnuts, melted chocolate chips, sugar, vanilla, coconut oil and salt in a blender until smooth for a delicious and homemade breakfast option. Add a layer of fresh strawberries if desired.
Considered a staple in any college student’s diet, popcorn can be easily transformed into a healthier snack by using coconut oil instead of butter. Add coconut oil and popcorn to a pot, making sure to have only a single layer of kernels on the bottom of the pan. Over medium heat for five minutes, let the kernels heat up and pop on top of the stove. Similarly, coat already popped popcorn with a little bit of melted coconut oil and top with crushed sea salt.
4. Grilled cheese
Grilled cheese — another popular meal item that is easy to prepare on a college budget — can also be improved by toasting the bread in coconut oil instead of butter. After coating the bottom of the pan with coconut oil, place the bread on the pan and grill until brown, making sure to evenly toast both sides. This can even be done in the microwave for a quick snack.
5. Chocolate chip cookies
This ever-popular snack can be improved by simply using coconut oil instead of butter or vegetable oil for a mild tropical flavor. Even though coconut oil does not have the same amount of fat as butter, it can still be used in recipes with a 1:1 ratio of butter to coconut oil.
It only takes a handful of fruit, a dash of coconut oil and a cup of milk to make a delicious smoothie. Choosing fruits high in antioxidants provides more nutrition to the smoothie, on top of the soothing properties of coconut oil. Because of the healthy fats found in coconut oil, it increases the amount of vitamins and nutrients absorbed by the body and tastes great too.
7. Coffee and tea
For those with little appetite at all in the mornings, coconut oil can be added to morning coffee and tea for an added energy boost. Melting just a spoonful of coconut oil in a cup of hot tea or coffee is a great way to add a little flavor to a morning routine. When taken regularly, coconut oil can even help improve sleep.
For a great way to start your morning, fry up some eggs with this unique twist. Instead of using cooking oil, pour a light layer of coconut oil on the bottom of the frying pan for some delicious fried eggs. Season with sea salt and crushed pepper for more flavor.
On top of being an excellent health supplement for many easy-to-make foods, coconut oil can also be added to a personal grooming routine. Since a lot of makeup is not water soluble, any kind of oil is ideal to clean off any makeup left over from the day’s adventures. Healthier eyelashes are also an added bonus when using coconut oil as a makeup remover.
10. Tanning and skin use
With the days getting longer and beautiful weather gracing the Central Coast, more effort will be put into tanning as students prepare for the summer months ahead. Using an even mixture of sunblock and pure coconut oil is a simple, organic way of tanning at the beach while keeping skin moisturized.
For minor scrapes and cuts, coconut oil can also be used topically to quicken the healing process.