Avoiding fat for healthier eating

Avoiding fat for healthier eating

While some fat in the diet is necessary, and it would be a mistake to try to eliminate all fat from the diet, most people simply eat too much fat.  Cutting back on fat is an important part of creating a healthier diet and lifestyle.

There are a number of good reasons for cutting back on levels of dietary fat.  Those reasons include:

Ø  Lowering levels of dietary fat helps in weight loss and weight management.  Fat contains twice as many calories per gram as protein and carbohydrates, so eating less fat usually means consuming fewer calories.
Ø  Lowering fat has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease.  Dietary fat, particularly saturated fat, has been implicated as a factor in heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels.
Ø  A low fat diet may help to reduce the risk of some forms of cancer.  Although this matter has not been totally settled, there have been a number of studies which indicate that a diet low in fat can keep certain cancers at bay.
Ø  And of course eating fewer high fat foods means that you will be able to enjoy many more low fat alternatives, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  Since these types of foods tend to be nutrient rich and low calorie, they can be enjoyed guilt free.

Of course cutting back on dietary fat is easier said than done, so we have compiled the list of tips for low fat healthy eating to help you get started.

ü  In place of spreads like peanut butter and full fat cream cheese, use lower fat alternatives such as low fat cream cheese, jellies, jams, fruit spreads, apple butter, mustard, low fat margarine, or low fat mayonnaise.
ü  Use high fat foods as an occasional treat, not as a dietary staple.
ü  Use reduced fat or nonfat salad dressings whenever possible.  When eating out, request the salad dressing on the side so you can compare the amount used.
ü  .Instead of butter or sour cream, top baked potatoes with plain nonfat or low fat yogurt.  Other delicious baked potato toppings include steamed broccoli, cottage cheese, salsa, low fat cheese and low fat or nonfat sour cream.
ü  Get creative with seasonings to add flavor without adding fat or calories.  Garnishes like lemon juice, herbs, salsa or green onions are great toppings for vegetables and salads.
ü  Use high fat toppings sparingly.  For instance, instead of using a tablespoon of blue cheese salad dressing, try using only a teaspoon.
ü  Avoid full fat dairy products whenever possible. Using skim milk or 2% milk instead of whole milk can make a huge difference in your daily fat intake.  Likewise, low fat alternatives to ice cream, such as frozen yogurt, provide all the flavor and none of the fat.
ü  Low fat cheeses also provide a great alternative to full fat varieties.  Most varieties of hard cheeses are available in low fat versions.
ü  Use low fat varieties of popular snacks.  Ginger snaps, angel food cake, vanilla wafers, fig bars, jelly beans, hard candy and gum drops are all excellent choices for a sweet treat.
ü  Instead of potato chips, which are very high in fat, choose pretzels, unbuttered popcorn and other healthier alternatives.

In addition to choosing the right foods, the preparation of the foods you buy is very important to keeping fat levels as low as possible.  Proper low fat food preparation starts with buying the leanest cuts of beef, pork, fish and chicken, and removing the skin and fat from chicken breasts, legs and thighs.

Broiling, backing and grilling are generally the lowest fat methods for preparing the meats and seafood you buy.  Try to avoid frying foods, and if you must fry, try to use a pan that allows the excess fat and oil to drain off easily.

Healthy, low fat cooking does not have to be boring or unappetizing.  There are great many excellent recipes for low fat, healthy meals that are easy to make.  The most important thing is to be an educated consumer and shop carefully for the healthiest produce, meat and seafood.

Healthy eating for a healthy body

Healthy eating means many things to many people, and everyone has different goals for the perfect diet.  The key to following a healthy diet is to find a diet you can stick with for the rest of your life.  A diet should not be simply a temporary change in the way you life, eat and exercise.  Rather, it should be a permanent change that you can live with day in and day out, year in and year out.

For some people, a healthy diet can be as simple as increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet.  For others, a radical change, involving strict control of fat and cholesterol, may be required. 

Of course what is needed will depend on the goal of each individual.  The serious runner in search of greater conditioning will of course have different goals than the couch potato who is concerned about the possibility of heart disease.

Even though every person will different goals when it comes to healthy eating, the basic tenets of healthy eating are the same.  The most important thing is to eat a good variety of foods, while eating less of the bad stuff and more of the good.

That may sound like an oversimplification, but it really is that easy.  Putting that simple concept into proactive, however, is the hard part.  Everyone wants to eat healthier, but there are so many temptations in today’s world that healthy eating can be very difficult.  The key is to make healthy choices as appealing as unhealthy ones.

One way to make healthy foods appealing is buying a wide variety of exotic fruits at the local supermarket.  There are probably varieties of fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store that you never even heard of before.  Why not make your next trip to the grocery store an adventure by sampling these exotic offerings?

Experimenting with new recipes is another great way to bring excitement and adventure to healthy eating.   A quick perusal of your favorite low fat or healthy eating cookbook will likely present you with many fun and exciting recipes to try.  Often a new cookbook, or a couple of new recipes are all it takes to spur a healthier lifestyle.

It is also important to know that eating healthier does not necessarily mean making a radical change.  There are very simple things you can do, such as cutting the skin off your chicken breast, or trimming the fat from your favorite steak, that can result in significant fat reductions and health improvements.  Dieters should not overlook the importance of these small changes when seeking a healthier diet.

Other examples of small changes resulting in healthier eating include:

Ø  Replacing whole milk with skim or 2%, both in recipes and for drinking
Ø  Snacking on sorbet or low fat frozen yogurt instead of premium ice cream
Ø  Spraying pans with nonfat cooking spray instead of using butter or margarine
Ø  Replacing high fat cuts of meat with leaner ones
Ø  Eating more low fat fish and less red meat
Ø  Using egg substitutes, the kind made from egg whites, in recipes, meals and baking

There are probably hundreds of other such tips, and they can add up to significant health improvements, whether your goal is to get fit, lose weight or improve your level of health.  No matter who you are or what your current level of fitness, eating a healthier diet and losing weight may be easier than you think.

In the end, eating a healthy diet, improving your level of fitness, and managing your consumption of fat and cholesterol boils down to common sense.  Depriving yourself of your favorite foods can be counterproductive to a long term dietary change.  Deprivation leads inevitably to cravings, and that can start a vicious cycle of dieting and splurging.

It is best to think of healthy eating as a marathon rather than a sprint.  The goal of any healthy eating program should be to make easy, lifelong changes in the way you shop, cook and dine.  Only by making changes that you can follow for a lifetime will you truly be able to enjoy a healthy diet.