With so much information at our fingertips, it is easy to get confused about beneficial fats and bad fats.
These days it's hard to keep track of dietary trends and changing medical advice about what products we should incorporate or avoid when it comes to nutrition! We should all be getting enough fat in our diet, though not all fats are created equal. The truth is, you need this component of your diet for energy and vital body functions.
Let's take a look and learn more about the best sources of the nutrient and how to incorporate those healthy fats into your diet. Yes, there are good sources of fats!
Fats can be divided up into two major categories: saturated (unhealthy fats) and unsaturated (beneficial fats). Of the two, the unsaturated fats are considered better for you, since these fats come primarily from plant foods and can help to keep blood cholesterol levels within a normal range. On the other hand, a diet with a lot of saturated fats (found primarily in animal products like butter, cheese, whole milk and meat), can contribute to a rise in cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats can be broken down into two categories: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
- Monounsaturated Fats: found in nuts, seeds, olive oils and avocados. Good for you when eaten in moderate amounts.
- Polyunsaturated Fats: can be classified as either omega-3 or omega-6 fats. Your body needs both types but requires a proper balance to promote health. The problem for most of us is that we eat too many omega-6 fats (fried foods, snack foods and sweet baked goods) and not enough fish, nuts, seeds and leafy greens that provide the omega-3s.
Within the BTES App, there are over 300+ recipes that you can choose from that incorporate healthy fats like fish, leafy and my favorite, avocados! How do avocado spinach pancakes sound?!? Trust me, they are AMAZING! Join now to start cooking!
Fats and Calories
Calories are a foundation of health - the trick is knowing the right amount and right source, to consume each day. Everyone has different energy outputs depending on age, sex, size, and activity level, so there’s no one-size-fits all answer when it comes to cal count! The energy to perform vital body functions comes from what we feed our system, and our organs would not be able to carry out the basic processes needed for living if we did not consume calories - numbers attached to calories tell us how much potential energy different foods contain.
Remember, extreme calorie restriction affects your health and your ability to lose weight. Low calorie intake reduces the amount of food you can eat and may prevent you from getting all necessary nutrients. Research shows that calorie restriction reduces leptin, a hormone that helps to regulate appetite. Low levels of leptin can lead to hunger and overeating.
There are plenty of online resources to help you determine the amount of calories you should ideally consume each day, though that’s not enough to ensure body changes in the right direction.
Calories are not the end-all of nutrition indicators, and you need to know more about beneficial foods in order to achieve a balanced diet. Learning about the nutritional values of various foods is one of the first steps towards an overall healthy lifestyle!
If you are looking for more guidance when it comes to your nutrition, it is time for you to join my FREE 5 Day Better You Program! You will get paired up with one of my coaches, receive a free customized nutrition plan and be on your way to results!
How To Add In The Good Fats!
The foods that contain beneficial fats include nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, seafood and avocados. I have come up with some great ways that you can work more of these beneficial fats into your day.
1. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans are considered tree nuts, which have more heart-healthy omega-3 than peanuts. Here are some ways to include more nuts and seeds into your diet.
• Add nuts and seeds to trail mix.
• Tahini (sesame seed paste) makes a delicious base for a salad dressing or sauce.
• Sprinkle nuts or seeds into green salads, on top of cooked vegetables, yogurt or hot cereal, and into your shakes.
• Finely ground nuts make a delicious crispy coating for fish or chicken. Dip fish fillets or chicken breasts into beaten egg white, then lightly coat with ground nuts. Season with salt and pepper, then bake or sauté. (YUMM!)
• Try stirring some nut butter into oatmeal, yogurt or protein shakes; or spread some on apple slices for a quick snack.
• A handful of nuts make a filling snack
2. Olive Oil and Olives
Olive oil is one of the richest sources of monounsaturated fat. If the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil is too strong for you, look for light olive oils that have the same calories as regular olive oil, but are lighter in flavor.
• Add whole olives to salad, or chopped olives to pasta sauces, or stirred into whole grain dishes after cooking.
• Use a tiny bit of olive oil to flavor cooked vegetables.
• Make your own salad dressing with 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice or vinegar; salt and pepper to taste.
• Use olive oil to replace vegetable oils and butter when you cook.
Fish fat naturally contains heart-healthy omega-3.
• Canned tuna and salmon are super convenient. Top green salad with tuna for a quick meal.
• Add frozen cooked shrimp or scallops to soups and pasta dishes.
• Use fish instead of chicken in some of your favorite dishes like tacos or one-dish meals.
Avocados are technically a fruit and a good source of monounsaturated fat.
• Use mashed avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad or egg salad.
• Mash into guacamole with a little lime juice and salt; use cut veggies rather than chips for dipping.
• Try a few slices of avocado in an omelet, or on top of hard-boiled eggs.
Now that you are up to speed on the difference between bad fats and healthy fats, don't forget to get your workout in to burn some calories! Join our current monthly challenge today to start sweating!
In order to give your diet the boost of healthy fats it needs, its very important to first learn the difference between the good and the bad fats. Good fats are essential to your diet — and when balanced with other nutrition can make you healthier.
Adding more into your diet doesn't have to be difficult. Get creative and have fun with these suggestions. Let me know in the comments if you tried any of these out and which ones you liked the most!