Saturday, March 15, 2008

Healthy Oils

Many newcomers to Weight Watchers are often stumped when it comes to why we should be spending points on oil and how to incorporate it into our diets. I'll go over the "why" and the "how" in this post so that hopefully others won't be missing out on this important addition to our diets.

Why we need healthy oils
The more I read about it, the more it becomes apparent to me just how important the "good fats" are for our bodies. In addition to providing vitamin E and essential fatty acids, healthy oils aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, lubricate the digestion system, reduce internal inflammation and contribute positively to heart health. And if that weren't enough, they make your food taste yummier.

Now I know I'm just a random blogger with no medical background to support any of this. Therefore, don't take my word for it. In fact, I encourage you to do your own research.

To get you started, here's a few resources that I've gathered:
And don't stop there. Do your own searches on the internet. "Good fats" are aptly named.

How to incorporate healthy oils
When I first started, the advice I was given was "cook with it." Unfortunately, that didn't help me much. I crave details – practical instructions and specific tips. I had to experiment on my own and gradually came up with a list.

These are only suggestions and you can use any of the healthy oils that Weight Watchers recommends.
  • Make a bread dipper (olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
  • Add to single servings of soups/stews (canned or otherwise)
  • Stir into pasta and/or pasta sauce
  • Mix into rice or baked/mashed potatoes
  • Make your own vinaigrette
  • Mix it in with bottled salad dressing or dip
  • Spritz it on toast
  • Toss with steamed veggies
  • Toss with raw veggies and roast
  • Mix flaxseed oil into smoothies or oatmeal
  • Make a scrambled egg with olive oil and seasoning to taste
  • Stirfry with it
  • Mix with low-fat mayo for sandwiches
  • Mix into tuna, salmon, or egg salad for sandwich fillers
If you've noticed a pattern, good for you. I stir healthy oil into everything I can. Be creative and use these tips as a jumping point for your own experiments. It's easy once you get the hang of it. Just make sure you measure it so that you know exactly how much you're getting in.

Other tips
If none of the above works for you and/or you're looking to add additional pizzaz, look for flavoured oils (i.e., olive oil infused with garlic or even cinnamon flaxseed oil). As long as they have as their base one of the healthy oils Weight Watchers recommends, they most certainly count. And by base I don't mean margarine that contains olive oil. Only liquid oil counts. Thanks to Maggie-May24 from the board for this last tip.

Oil capsules
There's been a lot of discussion about whether oil capsules count towards our healthy oil servings or not. The consensus seems to be that they don't count. However, I'm a believer in compromise. If you've tried six-ways to sundown to get your healthy oils in (and you've tried every one of my suggestions to no avail), and the only way that works for you is to take capsules, then that's okay. Any healthy oil is better than no oil.

If you do go with oil capsules, I'd recommend measuring one. Slice open a capsule pour it into a measuring spoon. You might just find out that it takes a lot of capsules to make up the two teaspoons that Weight Watchers recommends.

1 comment:

JessiesBlog said...

You know, no one has ever made so many great suggestions regarding healthy oils! Those are all great! Thank you so much!