10 Foods with Healthy Fats (Slideshow)
January 2, 2014
Foods contain several different kinds of fat — and some are better for you than others
"These nuts are great for maintaining a healthy body weight," said Keri Gans, a nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet. Almonds are high in vitamin E, and actually, according to the experts, most nuts are a great source of healthy fat.
Recipe Idea: Make your own trail mix with a bit of dark chocolate, almonds, and other nuts. But be careful of dried fruits — they can be loaded with unnecessary sugars.
"I know people are afraid to eat avocados because they are high in fat, but it’s good fat!" said Dr. Lori L. Shemek, a fat-loss expert and best-selling author of Fire Up Your Fat Burn! "It stops hunger cravings in its tracks." Another tip? Portion control. Because avocado is so high in fat, one serving is actually 1/5 of the avocado.
Recipe Idea: Skip the predictable guacamole. Heat your portion of avocado and serve over an egg-white omelette.
Speaking of eggs, whole eggs are a great source of fat, according to Dr. Shemek. Contrary to popular belief, Shemek said the yolk is not unhealthy because it leads to bad cholesterol — this is actually a myth.
Recipe Idea: Spice up your simple scrambled eggs with a toss of homemade salsa (chunky tomatoes, jalapeños, peppers and onions, cilantro, and seasonings).
"People tend to think peanut butter and almond butter are treats to be avoided, but that’s not true," said Gans. The best kind of peanut butter to get? Organic and all-natural varieties usually do not load up their jars with sugars.
Recipe Idea: Peanut butter apple breakfast quinoa. Seriously.
Although olive oil isn't often a main meal component, it’s just as important in a diet, as it’s a healthy oil and a great alternative to palm oils and peanut oils (which are some of the unhealthiest, but most common cooking oils in restaurants!). "More is not better when it comes to oils," said Gans. "A tablespoon of olive oil is 120 calories."
Recipe Idea: Literally anything. Add olive oil to most recipes, or even top salads with flavored olive oil — try garlic-infused olive oil!
This part of the Mediterranean diet really knows what its talking about! Any type of olive is a good source of fat, but be sure, as with anything, to eat in moderation, said Gans.
Recipe Idea: Blend Kalamata olives into a tapenade with capers, garlic, and seasoning. Spread on top of sandwiches in place of mayo!
Fish is a go-to for a healthy protein choice, but much seafood is actually a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, too — one of the most important fats to develop in a healthy diet. Fatty fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and Chilean sea bass. "We have too little of omega-3 in our diets, which is causing low level inflammation in our bodies," said Dr. Shemek.
Recipe Idea: A tuna whole-wheat wrap filled with chopped olives, a sprinkling of feta cheese, and garnished with lemon juice.
One of the less well-known healthy sources of fat, seeds can play an important part in your diet. Some of the winners, according to Gans, are flaxseeds and chia seeds, one of the so-called superfoods with loads of omega-3 and benefits that could help weight loss, hydration for athletes, and boost blood sugars.
Recipe Idea: Make a delicious fruit spread from chia seeds, strawberries, honey, and water. It's a great alternative to sugary jarred jams!
Although mostly known as the meat alternative for vegetarians, tofu is actually a healthy source of polyunsaturated fat.
Recipe Idea: Tofu really lends itself to stir-fry recipes: try teriyaki flavorings atop tofu, mushrooms, and a vegetable medley.
Walnuts help curb hunger and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. "Walnuts are sorely lacking in American diets!" said Dr. Shemek.
Recipe Idea: Chop them up and throw them on top of your favorite salad. Be wary of the temptation to candy-coat them, though. A sugar coating turns a healthy nut into a candy!