Choosing the right source of fat can be confusing, especially when we hear coconut oil is the new go-to fat or that adding butter to our coffee everyday is healthy.
Wait, what? Butter in coffee? Yes, it's a thing.
Choosing the right type of fat can be confusing. We need fat for our cells to develop correctly and for energy production. Fats also keep our organs protected and help with nutrient absorption to keep our bodies functioning properly. However, not all fats are created equal. Unhealthier fats, like trans and saturated fats, tend to be solid at room temp (think butter or coconut oil) and have been linked to raising your bad cholesterol. Healthier fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Some food that contain these healthy fats include fatty fishes, avocados, whole eggs, olives, oils, seeds and nuts. Make sure to incorporate a variety of these fats as part of a balanced eating plan. Does this mean you can never have buttered toast or a french fry? No, of course not. You can still enjoy less nutritious foods, but try not to make them a daily habit.
Here are some quick tips to make sure you are on track!
1. Choose monounsaturated cooking oils when roasting or sautéing like olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil as these have been shown to be heart protecting.
2. Add nuts, seeds, and avocado to your diet if you don't already. Here's a fun fact: walnuts are the only nut that contain omega 3. So, go a little nuts for nuts and mix up your nut and seed routine. Keep in mind that nuts are higher in calories than other food sources. Watch the serving size. Remember, 1/4 cup of nuts, 2 tablespoon nut butter or 1/4 avocado is 1 serving.
3. Be weary of fad or trendy diet ideas. Yes, coconut oil is tasty, however, it is a saturated fat meaning it's similar to butter. Researchers are still on the fence about the health benefit, so for now, use sparingly like butter.
4. Avoid partially hydrogenated oils. These are normally found in processed and baked goods. Even though the nutrition label may say zero grams of trans fat, read the ingredient label looking for the words "partially hydrogenated oil".
5. Watch the amount of fat and type of fat in salad dressings as it can add up quickly!
6. Keep an eye on fatty meat intake and cheese intake throughout the week. They can be high in unhealthy fats. For red meat, stick to less then 2 servings (3-4 oz) per week. As for cheese, try opting for no cheese at dinner or modify your entree when eating out if you already had 1-2 servings that day.
Spiced Avocado Toast
makes 1 serving
1 piece of whole wheat bread, toasted
1/4-1/3 of a ripe avocado
A sprinkle of smoked paprika or cumin
A dash of salt
On toasted bread, gently smash the avocado so it is evenly spread. Sprinkle with your favorite spice and add salt if you wish! You can top it with an egg, tomatoes or hot sauce for a little extra kick! Simple. Delicious.