The Skinny on Fat
Fat. By now most of us know that the right kind of fat in our diets is a good thing. We’ve come away from the days of thinking that something labeled as “low fat” automatically makes it healthy. There are many reports proving it is quite the contrary, as foods labeled “low fat” are often higher in sugar to enhance the taste. Sure, some fats are bad, and we do our best to stay away from those (i.e. saturated fats and trans fats, often found in animal products and packaged snacks like cookies, crackers, chips, etc.). What’s important to remember is not all fats are created equal. It’s the UNsaturated fats that can have great health benefits, such as helping to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. When you enjoy these fats in moderation, they are not just good for your ticker. They are also satiating, which leaves you feeling satisfied and energized. So how can we easily incorporate these “good” fats into our diets?
As a new mom, I find myself relying on healthy fat to get me through my day. There isn’t much time to spend on eating well when I have an 11-month old opening every cabinet in the kitchen and making a bee line for the dog’s water bowl. I need something fast, easy, and filling, because who knows when I will get a chance to eat next.
My favorite option is a slice of whole grain bread slathered with creamy, delicious almond butter. Almonds are chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and they are also a great source of calcium (yay bone health!), fiber (great for regulating your digestive system and maintaining a healthy weight), protein (keeps you feeling full), and magnesium (a vital mineral also thought to contribute to good mood). I also add almond butter to my smoothies or put it on a few apple slices, which is almost as good as dessert. I will even eat almond butter right off of the spoon, because I can quickly inhale it before my daughter unravels an entire roll of toilet paper.
Another easy way to include monounsaturated fat in our diets is with olive oil. There is a reason why people in Mediterranean countries are known to have lower levels of heart disease. They use the stuff for everything! My family cooks most of our food in olive oil, whether it’s scrambled eggs in the morning or sautéed kale in the evening. It’s a great way to ensure that you’re getting that “good for you” fat.
My third and favorite way to enjoy healthy fat is by way of the avocado. This rich, creamy fruit is probably one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Heart healthy vitamins B6 and folic acid, anti-inflammatory properties, free-radical fighting antioxidants, soluble fiber….you name it, the avocado has it! Whether I eat it on a slice of toast with some salt and pepper or throw it in a smoothie, avocado packs a fatty punch that is incredibly satisfying. My all-time favorite way to enjoy this healthy powerhouse is in guacamole. Just remember to go easy on the tortilla chips!
The best part about all of these delicious, fatty options? My daughter likes them too—and THAT always makes mealtime a little easier. Healthy fat for the win!