With childhood obesity and cholesterol levels on the rise, informing parents how to continue to make healthier lifestyle choices should include the oils they use in their daily lives. When it comes to oils, there are several choices; whether the oil is used for baking, cooking, marinating, flavoring or garnishing determines if it is the best choice. For example, when baking, healthier choices include coconut and palm oil, but high-oleic safflower and sunflower oil are the overall best for this purpose.
Although we should not encourage families to fry their foods, we can recommend that they use avocado, palm, and sesame oil when doing so because they stand up so well to high temperatures. When sauteing, these choices also work great. For dips, dressings, marinades, and garnishes, use flax, olive, toasted sesame or walnut oil.
Cooking oils are generally extracted from one of the following sources: seeds, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Here are the best and most recommended choices when preparing/serving food, and particularly during cooking.
1) Olive Oil– is produced by pressing the flesh of olives. This oil has become known as the healthy cooking oil, and it certainly is compared to vegetable oil and some of the other oils out there. This cooking oil is one of the few cooking oils that contains about 75 percent of its fat as oleic acid. Research shows that this oil can help with decreasing cholesterol and the LDL/HDL ratio. This is great as a salad dressing and sauté option, but not as good for frying or baking.
2) Coconut Oil– is produced by pressing the fruit of the palm tree and is ideal for light fare and subtly flavored dishes. The oil itself is very light and does not have a strong or clingy flavor, so there is no concern that it will overpower or affect the taste of the food being prepared.
3) Avocado and Grapeseed Oils– are also considered healthy oils. Avocado is particularly good in salad dressings and when sauteing. This oil also has been suggested as a great option for frying because it can tolerate the high temperatures. Grapeseed oil is another healthy alternative for salads, served with raw veggies, and in dips, sauces and salsas.
When parents consider the number of cooking and dressing oil options that are beneficial to their families health, these are the top picks