All About Healthy Fat Foods

Did you know that healthy fat foods make it possible to add fat to your diet which will then help you lose fat?  But not just any fat.  Knowing which foods have the types of fats you want is SUPER important so your diet doesn’t look like this:

Short Story:

I always ask people if they keep a food journal to see how “aware” they are of their habits.  When people do keep a journal this is the first place I look to find out more about them and their habits.

Jessica kept a meticulous journal.  Everything she ate was charted accurately and honestly.  Her diet was void of the typical things that most people don’t consciously add – greens, veggies, protein and healthy fat foods.  

Jessica was proud of her fat levels as they were within the ranges that her online food journal suggested.  In fact, they were probably less than 15% of her total intake so Jessica was proud!

But little did Jessica realize that staying well under her suggested intake was not helping her – and the types of foods that contributed to her fat intake certainly was not helpful.

The items in her food journal that was responsible for her fat intake was tortilla chips, margarine, doughnuts and/or tater tots.  Even though she limited the amounts and she was within her calorie limit.

But she did not understand why she was not losing weight?  And she made a comment to the fact that her hair was dry and her nails were brittle – not even realizing that these things are connected.  So when Jessica was asked to eat more healthy fat foods – she was certainly baffled.  Why would she eat something that might make her fat?

Just as there are good carbs and “not so good” carbs – the same is true for fats.  Some sources of fat do way more harm than good and not all fats are created equal.  I can go into a lengthy discussion on the elements of fatty acids and talk about hydrogen, carbon, bonds, double bonds, methyl groups, carboxyl groups……I am sure your eyes would start to glaze over and I would start to sound like that Charlie Brown character…..the teacher who starts talking and sounds like “Mw – Mwa – mw – Mwa – mw- Mwaaaaa!!” 

Sooooo........ let’s make this SUPER simple. 

The fats you want to consume will have nutrient benefits and Essential Fatty Acids that you cannot get without consuming the foods that have it.  And what will these types of foods with these types of fats do for you?  Well, healthy fat foods will:

  • Improve joint health
  • Suppress cortisol production (one cause for increased abdominal fat)
  • Improve skin texture
  • Promote growth of hair, skin and nails
  • Increase metabolic burn rate
  • Help burn BODY FAT

This is a very simplified reason of why you need to eat fat to lose fat.  But the source of fat can help or hinder the process. 

List of Healthy Fat Foods

  • Nuts – almonds, brazil, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Seeds – chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Oils – coconut, flaxseed, sesame, olive
  • Butters – peanut, almond, sesame and regular good ole fashioned butter – used sparingly!
  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Olives – black and green, pitted
  • Mayonnaise – fat free, olive oil, canola or fat-free/light mayo
  • Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines

This Chocolate mousse contains a ton of healthy fats because the mousse is made out of Cashew Cream - one of my favorite tricks to make yummy desserts and cream sauces.

But how much fat should I be eating?

Good question!!  After the low-fat craze we know that is not the answer and that it’s actually destructive.  A diet that uses sources of fat like listed above that is about 15-20% of your total intake is a good place to start.  As with every macronutrient suggestion – it’s very individual.  Some may do better on a higher fat diet and some a bit lower.  It is suggested to not go higher than 30% of total intake and not lower than 10% total intake.  But again, it is very individual.


Healthy Fat Food Tips

  • Avoid trans fats at all costs!!! Look at labels for things like “partially hydrogenated” or vegetable oils.  Just put it back on the shelf – maybe add a sticky note for the next person so they are made aware too!!
  • Avoid any type of fried food!! On a fat loss program these should be OFF LIMITS
  • Use a non-stick spray to coat pans when cooking.  You will use less oil and less calories
  • Avoid margarine completely
  • Limit butter or if you can eliminate it on a fat loss program since it does not have a nutrient benefit such as Essential Fatty Acids
  • Avoid high fat intake on a high carb day – this is a fat storing combo.  Try going high fat on low carb days and vice versa – low fat on high carb days.

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