When it comes to making dietary changes, the first thing that comes to mind for most is eliminating those tasty “cheat” meals we all love so much. Thankfully, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Instead, this article is going to explore some creative ways you can make your meals both tastier and healthier.
Have you guessed how yet? That’s right – olive oil!
So, if you’re ready to enjoy the countless benefits and tantalizing culinary possibilities this natural miracle ingredient has to offer, let’s dive in.
Why Olive Oil is Important
Believe it or not, olive oil has been around for as long as 4,000 years, tracing all the way back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Though commonly associated with dishes and snacks coming from the Mediterranean region, olive oil can be found growing all over the world. In fact, olive oil is considered by many to be the healthiest fat on earth, being commonly found as a dietary staple in some of the world’s healthiest populations.
The most beneficial type of olive oil that you can buy is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Extracted using natural methods, extra virgin olive oil retains almost all of its beneficial properties when compared to lesser grades. Packed with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, vitamins, and monounsaturated fats, EVOO provides countless health benefits.
However, it’s important to note that not all EVOO is truly extra virgin. You can read more about fake olive oil and how to avoid it in this article.
Below, we’ve covered just a few of the many health benefits olive oil can provide when introduced as a dietary staple.
Between the antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids, extra virgin olive oil has been found to combat chronic inflammation – a leading cause of a variety of diseases.
Protection Against Cardiovascular Disease
Ranked as the most common cause of death in the world, EVOO has been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system by protecting HDL cholesterol (the good guys), lowering blood pressure, and preventing blood clotting.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
As the world’s most common neurodegenerative disease, extra virgin olive oil has shown promising evidence in support of Alzheimer’s prevention.
3 Ways to Get More Olive Oil in Your Diet
1. Incorporate Olive Oil Into Your Cooking & Baking
One of the easiest ways to incorporate more healthy extra virgin olive oil into your diet is by using it in place of butter. As much as we all love butter, when consumed in excess, the high concentration of saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels.
While it may seem a bit strange at first to add a dash of EVOO to your toast rather than spreading a teaspoon of butter, you’ll quickly find that it’s just as delicious. Even better, you can experiment with any number of the flavored olive oils we carry here at D’Olivo to come up with some exciting “spreads”.
Frying & Roasting
Another way you can supplement olive oil for butter in your everyday cooking is by using it to saute or pan fry various foods. Whether it be vegetables or panko crusted chicken, olive oil is a tasty alternative that can get the job done just as effectively.
Lastly, you can even use olive oil for baking. That’s right, instead of using that half cup of butter to bake a cake, you can supplement with a few tablespoons of olive oil for a much healthier alternative. In addition, baking with olive oil can dramatically increase the shelf life and freshness of your baked goods thanks to vitamin E.
2. Make Your Own Salad Dressing
If you find yourself to be the DIY kind of person, you’ll feel right at home with this tip. If not, don’t worry! You’ll be surprised to learn just how easy it is to make your own salad dressing from scratch at home.
When it comes to salad dressing, many of the store-bought options are jam-packed with additives and preservatives. Rather than settling for that overpriced bottle of balsamic vinaigrette because it’s convenient, all you need is a few fresh ingredients to make your own.
To get started, all you need is balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper – that’s it! While each recipe will recommend varying amounts of each ingredient, over time, you’ll figure out the perfect balance that best suits your personal taste.
Not only will it taste much better than any store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, but you’ll also be incorporating more EVOO into your diet without even realizing it.
3. Use Olive Oil as a Topping
Have you ever made a dish that seems to be missing something that you can’t quite pinpoint? Olive oil serves as a great finishing oil on a variety of different cuisines and snack foods. Simply grab your favorite bottle of extra virgin olive oil and drizzle a light coat over whatever you’re eating to instantly create a flavor explosion.
This works particularly well with foods like grilled or roasted vegetables, pizza, seafood, mashed potatoes, salads, and artisanal bread. Once you realize how versatile olive oil is as a topping, you’ll soon find yourself experimenting with flavored oils that bring your favorite dishes into a whole new realm of deliciousness.
The One-Stop Olive Oil Shop
So, are you feeling excited and ready to flex those culinary muscles? By now, you should be well equipped with a handful of creative ways to incorporate more healthy olive oil into your diet. The next step is stocking your kitchen with a bottle or two of high-quality extra virgin olive oil so you can start tasting your way to a healthier diet.
Here at D’Olivo, we proudly carry more than 30 traditional and flavored ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils so you can let your taste buds run wild. By carefully sourcing all of our olive oil from Veronica Foods, we ensure nothing but the highest quality products make it to our shelves and ultimately, your kitchen.
Stop by our Walla Walla location or shop online to start trying out some of many ways you can use olive oil in cooking!