All About Olives

If you love olives, you'll be happy to know that you can enjoy them in moderation on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. On Phase 1, use them to add flavor to salads or fish or poultry dishes. On Phase 2, add them to whole-wheat pasta dishes. Olives contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Because they are high in calories, however, try to limit yourself to 15 small green olives or 8 small black olives per serving. Either is the equivalent of 1/2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or another healthy oil in your fats/oil allowance for the day.

Olives come in many varieties and they’re cultivated in numerous regions around the world. Their color varies depending on how long they are left on the tree to mature, or ripen, as well as the curing method used. Green olives are picked early in the season, whereas black olives are fully ripe. All olives, no matter the color, contain the same good fats. Here are some delicious and healthy ways to enjoy olives:

  1. Egg and Olive Sandwich: Green or black olives add a savory touch to this delicious Phase 2 lunch sandwich. Hard-boil 2 eggs, allow them to cool, and then mix with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise and some chopped olives, plus mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Toast 2 slices of whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. Spread the egg mixture on 1 slice of bread and add a layer of arugula or another dark leafy green and some tomato, if you like. Top with the remaining bread slice.


  2. Antipasto Skewers: Alternate grape tomatoes, cubes of reduced-fat mozzarella, and pitted green olives on wooden skewers. Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar and sea salt. This appetizer can be enjoyed on all Phases.


  3. Broccoli Rabe with Olives: Heat 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 bunch broccoli rabe (tough stems trimmed), 3/4 cup hot water, and the zest from 1/2 lemon; cover and cook until the broccoli rabe is wilted and the stems are tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in halved olives (follow serving size above) and lemon juice to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.


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Jennifer K.

Jennifer K. Lost 110 lbs with The South Beach Diet!

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