When we hear or see the word “fat,” most of the time, we automatically assume it to be a bad thing or a sign of a poor diet. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as healthy fats, and they should be an important part of your family’s diet. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are known as good fats because of the impact they can have on your heart, cholesterol, and overall health. Our bodies also need these fats to help absorb vitamins and give us energy.
Since healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet, let’s go over some of the foods that are high in healthy fats that you should be feeding your family.
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, and they are free of sodium, sugar, and cholesterol, which makes them the perfect candidate for your family’s meals. Avocados contain nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, magnesium, fiber, and vitamin K, which will all help support bone health and the overall immune system. They are naturally a good fat, and they are sugar-free, which is a huge bonus. Some easy ways to use avocados in meals include mixing it into a smoothie, chopping it up and mixing it into a salad, smearing it onto toast, and an all-around favorite, guacamole.
Olive, peanut, and sesame oils
Extra virgin Olive oil is considered one of the most healthy and versatile oils to cook with and eat. Olive oil contains both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and has been linked to good heart health. Peanut oil is one of many nut oils and can be a great cooking oil to flavor your dishes. It also contains the highest amount of monosaturated fats among cooking oils. Sesame oil has a potent flavor and is best used for high-heat recipes. It also contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
What’s great about oils like olive oil and nut oils is not only can they be used as healthier cooking oils, but you can also use them to make heart-healthy salad dressings. Mix two parts oil with one part vinegar, add herbs of your choice, and within seconds you’ve created a healthy alternative for your salads.
Salmon is a great source of healthy fats loaded with vitamins A, D, E, and K, which can help benefit the eyes, joints, repair muscles, and feed the brain. Salmon is rich in omega -3 fatty acids, which helps sharpen the brain and improve memory retention. Salmon is an easy go-to for healthy meals, and there are so many ways you can cook it, whether in the oven, stovetop, or on the grill.
Cheese may be considered a guilty pleasure to some, but it’s incredibly healthy to include in your family’s diet. Cheese is rich in protein, and it’s a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and many more nutrients. If you’re concerned with calories, low-calorie cheeses like swiss, feta, and part-skim mozzarella are some alternatives and taste just as great. It’s important to be mindful that cheese can also be loaded with sodium, so be aware of hard cheeses like provolone, parmigiano, and gouda, which require more salt in the aging process. You can also check your local grocery store for low-sodium options of your favorite cheeses.
That’s right, dark chocolate can be added into a healthy balanced diet. Dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants and fiber making it the perfect alternative to satisfy any sweet tooth. Dark chocolate has a fatty acid profile made up of monounsaturated fats with a small amount of polyunsaturated fats. Several studies have also shown that individuals who eat dark chocolate weekly are less than half likely to suffer from heart-related problems. Although Dark chocolate contains many nutrients and healthy fats, it is high in calories with a considerable amount of sugar, so consuming in moderation is important.
Eggs are pretty inexpensive and a great source of protein for your family to have. A majority of the protein of an egg is found in the egg white, which includes vitamin B2. There is also a ton of minerals in eggs, such as zinc, iron, and copper. When buying eggs for your family, it’s best to choose eggs from organically raised chicken. Look for cartons labeled “free-range” this means the eggs have come from hens who had access to roam around outside of a confined space. The options are endless when it comes to what you can do with eggs, whether that be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and they should be a staple item in your refrigerator.
Chia seeds are considered a high-fat plant food that contains the heart healthy omega -3 fatty acid called ALA. They are loaded with fiber and minerals, and provide numerous health benefits for your family, such as providing anti-inflammatory effects and lowering blood pressure. Chia seeds can be used to make chia pudding, sprinkled into yogurt or oatmeal for some added crunch, or even baked into waffles, muffins, or pancakes for added nutrition and fiber.
These are just a few of the many foods out there that contain a considerable amount of healthy fats. The more you discover, the more unhealthy fats you can start to remove from your family’s diet. We sometimes become too concerned with cutting calories from the foods we eat that we strip ourselves of the fats our bodies need to maintain proper health. Aim to create a well-balanced diet that includes various vegetables, fruits, beans, and healthy fats while eliminating trans fats, which is found in fast food and baked goods. Your family will appreciate your efforts to provide healthy meals, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing your best to take care of them.