3 coconut recipes for healthy aging

There's still some time to enjoy what's left of summer. What better way to keep it alive than by preparing some seasonal meals and snacks that feature a tropical ingredient? Coconut oil is a healthy alternative to other types of oil and can provide an array of health benefits, according to Organic Facts, an online resource for healthy food information. Its health perks include things like cholesterol maintenance, hair and skin rejuvenation and digestive improvements. It can also help your bones and teeth and reduce symptoms of kidney and heart issues. Make some of these dishes for your friends at your independent living community to stay in the summer mood as the weather grows chilly and get all of the health benefits that coconut oil has to offer.

1. Healthy coconut pancakes

Try Pina LoGiudice's recipe from The Dr. Oz Show for a tropical twist on your favorite breakfast food.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut

Directions

Combine the pancake mix, egg, coconut oil, milk, vanilla and spices in a large bowl. Once blended, add the flaxseed and walnuts, and pour small dollops of the mixture onto a greased skillet. Let the batter fry for a bit, and flip once it starts to bubble in the middle. Continue the process until there's no more batter, and serve with shredded coconut as a garnish.

2. Fluffy coconut cupcakes

Satisfy your sweet tooth and promote healthy aging with these delicious coconut desserts from baking blogger Chef Chloe.

Cake ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar

Frosting ingredients

  • 1 cup unrefined coconut oil (should be solid at room temperature)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons coconut milk (or other nondairy milk)

Cake directions

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake wrappers in your muffin pans. Next, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one large bowl. In another, mix the coconut milk, oil, vanilla and vinegar, and pour the liquid mixture into the first bowl. Whisk until combined, but be sure not to over mix. Distribute the batter into each wrapper and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool before applying the frosting.

Frosting directions

While the cupcakes are baking, you can whip up the frosting. Pour coconut oil into a bowl and blend with a mixer until it's smooth. While mixing, throw in the powdered sugar and vanilla, gradually adding in 1 tablespoon coconut milk at a time until the mixture turns into a spreadable consistency. Continue to mix for two more minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.

3. No-bake protein bars 

These healthy treats are some of the tastiest power bars out there, and you only need five minutes and four ingredients to whip up a batch. Try this summery recipe from baking guide Beyond the Peel.

Ingredients

  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions

Blend the nuts until they're fine and match the consistency of bread crumbs. Add in the dates, cocoa powder and coconut oil and mix together until it starts to get clumpy. Next, layer plastic wrap on a loaf pan, scoop the mixture on top, put down another layer of plastic wrap, then use your hand to push it down and even it out. If you don't have plastic wrap, wax paper also works well. Pop in the fridge and allow it to cool down before serving. Try putting it in the freezer if you'd like to speed up the process. Once cool, all you need to do is cut it into sections and serve to your guests.