The Healthy Fats You Need, and How to Eat Them
Americans are still recovering from the fat phobia craze of the 90s. Fat-free foods stocked shelves, and commercials boasted fat-free products as the answer to everything. If you’re older than 30, you most likely remember SnackWells being a staple in your parents’ pantry.
Here’s the thing: we didn’t lose weight.
In fact, we got fatter, and experienced a rise in diabetes. Why? Because fat-free foods are laden with added sugars and processed carbs. Plus, how much more do you eat when a food is considered “healthy”?
There have been a number of studies done, and there’s been no benefit for low-fat diets to lead to better weight loss, and there’s no benefit for low-fat diets to lead to less disease.–Mary Flynn, Professor of Medicine at Brown University.
Finally, we’re understanding that eating fat doesn’t make you fat.
And, more importantly, eating healthy fats makes you healthier. Women trying to boost their fertility, and new moms wanting to feel their best, healthy fats play a huge role.
Read This: Healthy Fats for Fertility
However, we’re still in a fat-free coma. Both hesitant and confused on making fats a healthy part of our diet. This post clears up the confusion, so you can develop a healthy relationship with healthy fats!
Types of Fat
Unhealthy fats should be avoided, or at least minimized, to reach a healthy weight. And, healthy fats should be prioritized in your diet. Here are the types of fats to chose and those to avoid:
Saturated fat solidifies at room temperature and can raise your cholesterol. You can find these fats in beef and poultry (although leaner meats having less saturated fat) and full fat dairy products. A healthy diet should get less than 10% of its calories from saturated fat.
These fats are altered through hydrogenation, making their shelf life longer, perfect for groceries. Unlike saturated fats, trans fats raise your LDL (bad), and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. Avoid these as much as possible. Trans fats, listed separately on food labels, are most commonly found in highly processed foods, like snacks foods, cookies, desserts, fried foods, and baked goods.
Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature.Opting for unsaturated fat over saturated fat may help improve your cholesterol. You can find these fats in oils from plants, nuts, seeds, and avocados, and vegetable oils (peanut, canola, soybean, sunflower, etc.). There are 2 types of unsaturated fat; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Benefits of Healthy Fats
Improving your cholesterol is a benefit of eating healthy fats, but that’s not all. Eating a low-fat diet did not necessarily contribute to weight loss, but enjoying some healthy fats in your diet can help curb cravings for longer helping us to eat a little less overall.
Read This: How to Stop Junk Food Cravings for Good
Studies show that replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a polyunsaturated fat found in flaxseed oil and fish oil, and fish, have been shown to help fight inflammation which can improve heart health and other diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
Opting for unsaturated fats over saturated fats can slim you down as it is linked to less central fat distribution, meaning less stubborn belly fat.
Healthy fats are also a huge component of a fertility diet, because of their role in female hormone production. In short, body fat cells produce estrogen which not only supports healthy bone formation and gene expression, but is essential for a healthy menstrual cycle.
Read This: The Best Fertility Diet Tips
Incorporating Healthy Fats into Your Diet
Now that you’re on board with healthy fats, it’s time to stock up on foods packed with the right kinds of fats. The top 8 most accessible fats that you can find at any grocery, and won’t break the bank, include:
Top soups, use as a spread on sandwiches, spread on toast, or add to smoothies.
Put on sandwiches, pair with apples, or stock up on string cheese for easy eating on the go.
Use in place of sour cream on chili and tacos, blend into smoothies, or eat as a parfait with nuts and berries.
Tree nuts (and nut butters)
Eat alone or with string cheese for a quick afternoon snack, add to yogurt in a parfait, or spread nut butter on whole grain crackers or celery.
Coconut oil and olive oil
Cook with olive or coconut oil instead of butter.
Drizzle with olive oil and lemon and broil, or check the freezer section for salmon burgers for a quick meal.
Seeds (like flax, chia, and pumpkin)
Buy in bulk and add to salads and smoothies, parfaits, or make your own granola.
Hard boil a half dozen on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week either alone or as a salad topper, make egg salad with greek yogurt instead of mayo, or try a breakfast burrito for breakfast or dinner.
Want more recipe inspiration? Click here to follow my Healthy Recipe Box board in Pinterest!
It’s still crucial to keep in mind that fat – no matter what kind – has more calories per gram than its macronutrient counterparts, carbohydrates and protein. This makes it easy to overindulge and consume excess calories.
Check the serving size so you’re aware of what a serving of almonds is (it fills a shot glass), before you snack on the entire bag of trial mix in one sitting.
Ready to start consistently eating healthier? I love working with moms and moms-to-be, and help them achieve their healthy eating goals. Let’s talk with you about where you’re struggling, and come up with an action plan to get you on the right path! Schedule your FREE Discovery Call to see if health coaching is right for you.