Go for Healthy Fats!

Date: October 30, 2018

This month we are focusing on fats found in foods. The type of fat you eat is much more important that the total amount of fat in your diet!

The key messages for adults are:

  • The type of fats in the foods you eat is more important than the total amount.
  • Eat “good for you” fats found in fish and plant sources like vegetable oils (such as olive and canola), nuts, and seeds.
  • Limit saturated fats found in butter, whole milk, and red meat.
  • Avoid trans fats found in fast food, packaged baked goods like cookies and muffins, stick margarine, and any food with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “shortening” in the ingredients list.
  • Limit fast food to no more than once per week when you really need the convenience.

The key messages for kids are:

  • You need to eat fat to keep your body healthy, but not all fats are the same. Try to choose fats that are good for your body.
  • Fats from fish, nuts, and seeds are healthy for your body.
  • Limit fats from animal sources, like butter, whole milk, and red meat
  • Do not eat trans fats found in fast food like french fries and baked goods like cookies.

Tips for choosing and healthy fats

  • UNSATURATED FATS – “The Good” Eat more of these! What: Oils found in plants and fish. Where: Vegetable oils like olive and canola oil, fish, nuts, seeds, peanut and other nut butters.
  • SATURATED FATS – “The Bad” Eat lowfat or nonfat dairy and lean meats. What: Fats found mostly in animal foods. Where: Whole milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, red meat, sour cream, lard, coconut and palm oils.
  • TRANS FATS – “The Ugly” Avoid these! What: Vegetable oils that are chemically changed to increase the shelf life of processed foods. Where: Fast foods, packaged snacks (cookies, crackers, etc.), baked goods, and stick margarines.

Use these Healthy Habits Power Tips to help you select and prepare foods with healthy fats. Pick one tip that you want to try right away, and go for it!

  • Choose lowfat dairy (1% or skim milk) when you shop and order out. Milk is the biggest source of saturated fat for children, so you can make a big difference with this one change. Children under 2 years old should continue drinking whole milk for proper growth and nutrition.
  • Minimize fast food eating. Foods served in fast food restaurants are often high in unhealthy saturated and trans fats. Save fast food eating for when you really need convenience.
  • Read labels when you purchase foods to avoid products with trans Look for
    0g trans fats AND read the ingredients to avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.” Many manufacturers are reducing or eliminating them from their products.
  • Cook with liquid oils (high in unsaturated fats), not butter (high in saturated fat), stick margarine, shortening, or lard (all high in trans fats).