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Why You Should Eat More Olives & Easy Olive Meal Ideas

In the past, we’ve talked a lot about the health benefits and uses of extra virgin olive oil, but what about the actual olives that grow on trees? Here we’ll look at the nutrition of olives, easy ways to get more of them in your daily diet, and some recipe ideas to get creative with olives in the kitchen.

Nutrition of Olives

Olives contain high concentrations of vitamin E and antioxidants, as well as healthy fats. They are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its heart-healthy and disease-prevention benefits. A serving of 10 olives contains about 59 calories, olives have a low carb content, and they are also a source of iron, copper, and calcium. It’s a wise idea to choose olives that are not packaged in saltwater, because this will add extra sodium to an otherwise healthy food.

Photo credit: Rene Schwietzke via Flickr

Easy Ways to Eat Olives

There is much more that you can do with olives than just add then to salads for lunch. To get the health benefits of this tasty fruit, you can add olives to a veggie omelet for breakfast along with egg whites, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms and feta cheese. It’s also easy to add sliced olives to sandwiches and wraps, especially ones that contain hummus, tofu, and spinach. Many people like to eat olives as a snack to satisfy their salt cravings. They’re a healthy alternative to potato chips, that’s for sure! For dinner dishes, try adding olives to tacos, pizza, or on top of burgers. It’s also fun to make skewer-style appetizers with olives, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cheese cubes when you have guests over for a meal.

If you don’t like the taste of olives, consider trying Extra Virgin Olive Oil Softgel Capsules to increase the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids without the need to taste the olives or add them to a meal. Monounsaturated fat is important in the support of heart health and for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.  Product Image

Recipes with Olives

If you like to cook, there are even more great opportunities to add healthy olives into daily life. Olives are incredibly versatile, and to show this, here are a couple unique recipes to try. They incorporate olives into baked goods and desert, and these unlikely combinations might surprise you with how delicious they are!

Bread Pudding with Ham & Black Olives

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 egg whites, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 12 ounces bread, cubed with the crust cut off
  • 10 ounces spinach, chopped
  • 4 ounces ham, chopped
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix eggs, milk, salt, and Tabasco in a bowl.
  2. Add half of the bread cubes to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Add spinach, ham, cheese, and olives on top of bread.
  4. Pour the egg mixture on top of the dish.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the dish overnight.
  6. After letting the dish sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Photo credit: houseofthailand.com via Flicker

Maple & Olive Cheesecake Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, warmed to room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325-degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Mix graham crackers, butter, and 1 tbsp. sugar with a spoon in a bowl and add the mixture to muffin cups.
  4. Press the mixture firmly into cups using a small piece of parchment paper.
  5. Mix cream cheese, maple syrup, and 2 tbsp. sugar with an electric mixer and add in flour, vanilla, and egg.
  6. Stir olives into the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Add cream cheese mixture into muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.
  9. Allow muffins to cool, remove from pan, and enjoy!

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