Our bodies depend on fat to maintain life; in fact it is so important to our survival that our body will choose to lose muscle by consuming it for energy before getting too low on fat. Fat lubricates, insulates, and protects us, but by-and-large we as a population consume far too much of it; yet, we don’t have to. It seems like a burden and just a whole lot less fun to get by on a low-fat diet but it really isn’t. By understanding which foods contain the most fat and making small adjustments, it is easy to eat big without getting big.
Filling the Plate
Limiting proportions is an easy way to lower fat intake. We are accustomed to thinking that the main course of the main course is meat. Okay this isn’t going to change! Instead, cut down on the portion of meat and choose cuts and types wisely. Meat should fit in the palm of your hand because that is all that is needed to get adequate protein. Eat meat last so that the smaller portion doesn’t seem so small. Stick to very lean servings of red meat, as it contains a lot of fat: A lean four-ounce sirloin steak has 9 grams of fat and one-quarter pound of lean ground beef sports more than 18 grams. Choose chicken, turkey, and fish whenever possible. A baked skinless chicken breast has 6 grams of fat with 284 calories. Bake or broil meats; they don’t need the extra fat that frying provides.
Load the Carbs
Carbohydrate foods are low in fat and high in calories: It’s the addition of butter and oils that make them high in fat. Pasta (two oz dry) has 212 calories and a minuscule 1 gram of fat. The mighty baked potato has 220 calories and just .1 grams of fat.
Monster Calories/Low to No-Fat
Fruits are the go-to snack or side dish, healthy, packed with vitamins and, when you think about it, they are really good! A medium banana has 105 calories with just .6 grams of fat. Pick at a cup of dried cherries throughout the day and end up with zero fat and a whopping 560 calories.
Use Care in the Dairy Aisle
Eat yogurt instead of ice cream. Although it’s not the same but it does approximate as there are frozen varieties that are pretty close to ice cream. Cheese is out except for cottage (fat-free varieties have no fat and 70 calories per half cup) and fat-free cream cheese (27 calories and no fat for one ounce). Buy skim milk with 86 calories per cup and .4 grams of fat. Keep the eggs but limit or eliminate the yolks as the whites are almost pure protein.
The Little Extras
Fats often sneak into our diets during cooking and when adding spreads and condiments. Season with dried herbs if possible, or if not, use olive or canola oils that have healthy omega 3 fatty acids with 40 calories and 5 grams fat per tbsp. Select fat-free mayo, or ketchup or mustard, as they all contain .1 gram of fat( per tbsp).