I think it’s common knowledge that there are “good fats” and “bad fats”. We know pretty well what foods contain “bad fats” that we should limit in the diet, but many of us could benefit from adding more “good fat” into our diets. That, however, is easier said than done. But first things first, what fats are “good fats”?
Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats help lower LDL-cholesterol — the “bad” kind.
While I am very likely to slice up and eat an avocado whole and untainted, the average person is not. 😉
Simple ways to include more “good fat” in your diet:
- Toss the vegetable oil. Canola oil, olive oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, corn oil, and safflower oil are healthier options.
- Use flax. Ground flax is great in baked goods and sprinkled on breakfast items such as cereals and oats.
- Get nutty. Nut butters are a great alternative to the traditional butter, margarine, and cream cheese spreads.
- “Bread” your meat. Rather than using bread crumbs to coat your meat, use ground flax or ground nuts, such as almonds. And then bake, broil, or grill…not fry 😉
- Snack smart. Nuts are a great snack food – they are non-perishable, easy to find, and loaded with “good fats”. Or, try a trail mix that includes dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
- Toppings. Nuts and seeds make for great salad, pasta, rice, and vegetable sides…and they add a great crunch!
- Dress up your oats. Add walnuts, pecans, or almonds to your morning oats for a dose of healthy fats to help keep you full ‘til noon.
- Love salmon? Avocados? Eat more of them!
- Add olives. ‘Nuff said. Mmmm!
- Add sardines. They are great on pizzas and pasta salads, if you enjoy them.
- Go meatless – use tofu as a meat substitute once a week to increase “good fat”
- Marinade your meat and sauté your vegetables. Increasing fat means increasing caloric density…so spice up your food with some flavor! Quit the steaming and dry grilling, and get creative with flavors to increase healthy fats in your diet.
I firmly believe not all calories are made equally. We gravitate towards carbohydrates because we can only take in so much protein, fats can be tricky and hard to incorporate healthfully, and we simply love (and crave) carbohydrates. Our body, however, loves to turn carbohydrates into storage (i.e. fat), if we don’t use them or we eat too much. Fat and protein provide much more satiety – trust your body to know how much it needs and don’t get caught-up in the calories of higher fat foods, albeit healthy higher fat foods. Fat has more calories, but it also has many added health benefits.
Advice: When you sit down to a meal ask yourself: does this meal contain a source of complex carbohydrate, lean protein, and healthy fat? And when you sit down to a snack ask yourself: does this snack contain 2 out of the 3 macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat)? Rather than crunching your daily stats, take a look at the composition of your meals and snacks and aim for balance. The numbers tend to work themselves out.
And now for a healthy fat meal Mr. Prevention and I shared over the weekend…
Home-grown tomatoes and basil with fresh mozzarella on a French baguette drizzled with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil
Wild-caught Atlantic salmon marinaded in Sesame Soy Ginger Marinade grilled on a wood grilling plank served with grilled zucchini and home-grown squash
Sesame Soy Ginger Marinade
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ginger (fresh)
1/2 onion finely diced
2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Combine. Put meat in zip lock bag, pour mixture over it, squeeze air out of bag, seal, shake around to evenly coat, and refrigerate until ready. the longer the better! we usually do it overnight.
Result: It was all delicious! Love the marinade, especially on salmon! Sources of “good fat” include: salmon, extra-virgin olive oil, and sesame seeds. Mmm!
Question: If you had to choose one, do you think your diet is too high in carbohydrates, fat, or proteins? What can you do to achieve a better balance?
“Good” fat love,
Your salmon looks soooo dreamily delicious!! I really appreciate this post, because I recently went back to keeping a food diary (which I actually think is fun, how strange is that :-p), and noticed that I’m not consuming nearly enough good fats on a daily basis… Thank you for the encouragement to include more yummy flax, nuts, and avocados in my day! 🙂 I love the idea of using flax as a breading coating!
Carbs for sure! Even thought my body responds really well to carbs, I definitely get more of them than anything else.
I love my carbs!!! I’m with the other Jessica, I too respond well to carbs, but probably eat a few too many!
My diet is definitely higher in carbs than anything else, but I don’t eat meat that much anymore so I get a lot of my protein from relatively starchy things like legumes. I actually don’t think I take in too much sugar nowadays though, which is good. 🙂 But I do take care to take in the good fats. EVOO is my friend, I’ve finally taken a liking to flax (I had to switch to golden flax but it still happened!), and I’m not so picky about nuts and seeds anymore. 😀
Your mozzarella pieces kind of look like scallops. 😛
I know my diet is too high in carbohydrates. I’d love to cut back on the carbs and pump up the protein a little, but I do find that it’s a bit tougher as a vegetarian. I feel like I definitely get enough protein, but I’d like to try and amp it up a little, just to see if I noticed any difference in my body or the way I feel!
I try to keep my intake balanced… but if I end up high on anything, its carbs 😉 But I don’t think I over do it 🙂
Thanks for the tips 🙂
mm love fats! It’s amazing to me that when I skimp on them my body automatically craves them!! lol bodies are just too smart!
I love tomato, mozzarella, basil. It’s probably my favorite meal, and I could eat it forever (provided the tomatoes are in fact red tomatoes and not watery pink restaurant ones). I know my diet is too carb heavy, and I definitely don’t get enough omega-3 fats, which is why I take a supplement. (Darn fish is too expensive and won’t store well for the week!) I use flax, but it’s not the same type of omega-3s so I like to supplement, too.
I love your advice! I’ve been starting to ask myself those questions (am I eating all the food groups, can I have a better snack?) and I think it is really making a difference in my diet! Plus, I think it is a much healthier outlook than counting calories, where you focus on something so tiny and not looking at the big picture, or making sure you are getting all the nutrients you need!
(Great recipes, too!)
I definitely have a high carbohydrate diet (mostly in the form of fruits, veggies and whole grains) but since I run so much I feel like my body can definitely handle (and needs) more carbohydrates than the average person.
your meal looks AWESOME! I love reading about what you guys cook, I think we have similar taste buds over here!
All of that food looks delicious. I found a similar recipe on eatingwell.com for salmon and loved it so I will have to try yours!
I looove fats! Especially salmon 😉 and nut butters! That marinade sounds wonderful. I think people get confused with the word fat, and unless you’re truly educated about the GOOD fat, you just avoid ALL fats, which is NOT beneficial to your brain heart and body in general. Fats are so good! Amen sister!
Oh, forgot the answer to your Q! I don’t count macros, but I feel great with the balance of foods I eat on most days 🙂
I love your advice to just do a quick mental run-through of the macronutrients at each meal and snack. So much easier than counting!
Your salmon looks amazing! The marinade sounds great!
I eat pasta a lot, so I’d say my diet is too rich in carbs. I eat the whole wheat kind though, so that sort of makes me feel better about my choice.
Luckily I love almost all those foods. Avocado and salmon are two of my favorites! I see you’re enjoying the new camera. Looks great! (Those bruschettas sound awesome too!)
My diet is definitely on the higher end of carbs….not too much fat, and not too much protein… all my favorite food seems to be carbs! I love your advice of using fat as “bread crumbs” for meat!
Love your advice! What a simple way to make sure you are balanced and healthy!
I love sardines! So quick and easy and they actually taste like fish, which is nice.
I’m getting in to herring too.
I LOVE your advice about using flax for “breading”! My sister just realized my nephew is allergic to rice and corn (as well as wheat) so she was wondering how to make “chicken nuggets” for him. I will definitely pass that along!
Hmmm…honestly, I’m not sure? I think/hope I get enough fats because I eat nut butters (2-3 servings day) and at least 1/2 if not a whole avocado a day, snack on almonds, etc. But my body DEFinitely craves carbs more than anything. I mean, all of my favorite foods are pure carbs. 😉
Great post. I love your advice. I totally agree and I tell people the same thing. Really variety is essential. That mozzarella and tomatoes looks so good. Love the salmon too.
Thank you for this post! I love all your ideas for incorporating more fats! I just ate 1/2 an avocado today…so delish! Oh and salmon is my FAVORITE way to sneak in healthy fats!
Great tips!! LOVE your salmon dish!!!! yummers. I definitely need to include more fish in my diet and want to experiment more with sardines. I have a few cans lurking in the pantry. I sure wish we had fresh ones here though. I also was thinking . . . boy your pictures sure look posh and lovely and then I saw you got a new beauty, yay!!! Looks amazing girl! I’m hoping I can get mine fixed soon 🙁
I should eat more protein but I think Carbs is where my heart is at lol
that mozz looks so freaking good! I honestly thought they were scallops ha
i have no problems finding ways to add fats to my diet 🙂 that salmon looks so delicious! i LOVE grilled salmon in the summer time and that marinade sounds delicious! sesame seeds-try them toasted!!! just in a pan for a few minutes until they tuirn a bit brown, it really brings out their flavor!
i definitely do not have problems getting fat in. i love avocadoes and olive oil and nuts-maybe too much!
I think for the most part I’m pretty balanced. I am a big carb fan though, so I probably eat too much there.
There is nothing like tomatoes and mozarella together–your meal looks fabulous, including the salmon!
To answer your question, I’m pretty sure I’m balanced (I’m an RD too and am looking forward to following your blog) and include plenty of exercise in my balance as well!
I LOVE fresh mozzerrella with tomatoes…such a perfect combo!
Loved this post Nicole – my diet is definitely too high in fat – some days last month while my calorie level was on target, 50% of my calories were from fat! 🙁
Healthy fats are not only good for you, but they also are soooooo tasty!! I love olive oil, salmon, and avocados. My diet is most definitely too high in carbs. I was doing well when I was doing body for life, but when left on my own to make food choices, I definitely reach for the carbs. I’m making an effort though now that I’m in my 2nd trimester to get more protein and fat in.
Yum your salmon looks delish! I am never scared of fat… Fish, nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocado and oils bring them on! My diet is high in fat I know that for sure, but I usually get a good balance of carbs, protein and fat in each meal and snack. I try to make sure of it at least. Good job on your 46 push ups! Glad to hear your still pushing along in the program, keep it up!
These are some great tips on how to incorporate healthy fats into our diets…thanks! My mouth is watering just looking at that salmon!
Great post Nicole. Did you get a new camera?? The photos look like perfection.
I am in love with fat. You know this. I’ve posted about my scandalous love affair with fat many times. It’s just so…..amazing! And yes, very important in everyone’s diet. Yeah for fat!
I am a lean protein, veggie, healthy fat girl. My favorite food is Salmon. I call it happy food, my mood actually elevates after I eat it. Great post & I agree with all of it. Gotta a lot of healthy fats in out meals over here. xo
Great post. By the way, I love going nutty. 😉 Also, I probably eat way too many carbs…
Carbs – the sugary kind. :). You turned me on to avocados though with your guac. Now I frequently eat a half or whole one on my sandwich with the leftovers diced with tomatoes for tostito chips.
My diet is probably highest in carbs because I eat A LOT of fruit. But I also exercise a lot, so I think I need the carbs.
Right now it’s high in carbs but I have been in race mode and training hard. After my race sunday I’m going to cut back to 40% on my carbs again.