How to Plan a Low Fat Diet

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As heart disease reaches epidemic proportions in America, more and more individuals are adopting low fat diets. Whether you are following your doctor's orders or working on your own to stay healthy and fit, with some time and energy you can develop new healthy shopping and cooking habits.

Eating at Home

  • Limit your daily intake of fat to less than 30 percent of your total calorie consumption. In a 2,000 calorie diet, for example, 600 calories should come from fat. Your daily intake of fat should be less than 66.6 grams.

  • Include six to eleven servings of whole grains in your diet every day. These can be whole wheat breads or pastas, brown rice or old fashioned oatmeal.

  • Add two or three servings of dairy products to your daily menus. Try fat free yogurt, skim milk or low fat cheese.

  • Include two to four servings of fruit in your eating plan every day. A small banana, apple, pear or 1/4 cup of dried fruit makes one serving.

  • Shop for three to five servings of vegetables to eat every day in your low fat diet plan. One cup of raw or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables makes one serving.

  • Make sure you include two or three servings of lean protein in every day's menus. You can choose between three ounces of turkey, fish, low-fat beef, one egg or an ounce of low-fat cheese for each serving.

Eating Out

  • Order a salad with low fat dressing or visit the salad bar. Choosing items from the salad bar will allow you to customize your dinner to suit your low fat diet.

  • Watch for items that are labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu. These will most likely be suitable for your low fat diet.

  • Opt for baked, broiled, steamed or roasted entrées. These will generally have less fat than fried dishes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Saturated fats are common in foods that come from animals (egg yolks, butter and cheese, for example) and are solid at room temperature. Less than 10 percent of your total calories should come from saturated fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and should make up less than 15 percent of your total calories.
  • Polyunsaturated fats come from vegetable sources (like olive oil) and are liquid at room temperature. These lower both good and bad cholesterol and should make up less than 10 percent of the total calories in your diet.
  • Use only one or two Tbsp. of canola oil for frying or sautéing foods, or try sautéing with fat-free chicken bouillon

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