By Nutritionist, Melissa Fine.
Close your eyes and you’ll be sure you were on a tropical island.
Slightly sweet, slightly nutty-tasting coconut water is delicious straight up, but can also be incorporated into more recipes than you would think. Here, learn how nature’s electrolyte-rich drink can add complexity to a simple recipe, while also helping keep you hydrated.
Day One: Coco-nutty Chia Pudding
For one serving, combine 3 TBS white chia seeds with one cup of Raw C coconut water, a generous pinch of cinnamon and a drop of good quality vanilla essence; You can also add one chopped/mashed Medjool date if you want it sweeter. Stir well, cover and leave to set in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if you’re patient.
This is also a great breakfast or dessert idea if you’re having friends over; Make individual chia puddings in cute glasses (I like mason jars or wine glasses) and set up a self-serve toppings bar with things like natural muesli, fresh berries, crushed raw nuts, shaved coconut, yoghurt and cacao nibs.
Day Two: Green Smoothie
Start your day right with a coconut water-based smoothie, inspired by paleo chef and founder of Raw C Coconut Water, Pete Evans. “The recent explosion of the coconut water category can be explained relatively simply,” says Evans. [It] meets growing consumer demands for natural, healthy products”.
For two servings, blend one cup frozen fruit (banana, berries or mango work well) with one cup of coconut water, a handful of ice and two generous handfuls fresh spinach. For those new to green smoothies, spinach is a very mild tasting green leafy vegetable, so you probably wont even taste the ‘greenness’, especially if you use banana.
If you’re having this for a meal and want to bump up the protein and fat content, you could add two dollops of unsweetened Greek yoghurt, and a couple tablespoons of LSA (ground linseed, sunflower and almond meal) or creamy almond butter.
Day Three: Put It In Your Porridge
Why not switch the water or milk in your porridge for coconut water instead? It will add a subtle sweetness to your oats, so you probably wont want that sprinkle of sugar.
Just combine one part rolled oats to two parts coconut water (I use 1/3 cup of oats and 2/3 cup coconut water) in a pot, bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is absorbed. For a tropical theme, top with fresh papaya, coconut flakes and a handful of raw nuts.
Day Four: Straight Up
Served tall with fresh cucumber slices and a squeeze of lime sometimes simple is best. This is a great option to serve over cocktail hour for those who’d like to skip the alcohol, but still want a beverage that feels a bit fancy.
Day Five: Banana ‘Ice-cream’
For two servings, simply combine two very ripe frozen bananas (Peel and chop before freezing) and about ¼ cup coconut water. Blend until smooth, pour into two bowls and if you’re feeling crazy, top with a drizzle of coconut butter (which hardens so you get a ‘Magic Ice’-like, crunchy shell – Try it!). Perfect if you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, or if you just want a not-too-heavy, healthy dessert.
There are so many brands of coconut water on the market…Which one should you choose?
Cracking a young coconut open at home is no easy feat, so if you’re choosing a packaged coconut water, pick a brand where the product is as close to nature as possible. My rule of thumb? Read the nutritional information and choose a brand that is preservative and concentrate-free, and one with less than 5 g of sugar per 100 ml; the lower the sugar content the better. One of my favourite brands is Raw C Coconut Water, which has just 2.52g of sugar per 100 ml.
The sweetness of a young coconut changes with its age, which is one reason why there are such disparities between brands. Also, some brands add sugar or fruit juice to the coconut water, unnecessarily bumping up the sugar content and also your blood glucose levels.
For more great coconut water recipes, follow the Raw C Instagram page @naturalrawc. They put a new recipe up daily!
Coconut water by Raw C has been playfully nicknamed “nature’s Gatorade”. Raw C is a natural sports drink alternative because coconut water has electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, but all of these are in their most natural and healthy form.
Raw C prides itself on supplying 100% Pure Coconut water, ("No added sugar, no preservatives, no funny stuff, and not from concentrate").