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…
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,