This week in my Healthier Family series, I am going to talk about adding the right kinds and amounts of fat to your family diet. For the longest time, I avoided fat. I ate skinless chicken breasts and dry toast. If I didn’t, I felt like I had to do another lap around the block, to compensate my heart-health and waistline.  But after going cold turkey on fat for years, I’ve recently started adding it back in.

Why would a nutritionist be advocating saturated fat? My body needs it. Not heaps, but some.
 
Fat transports the vitamins and minerals from my food. Plain broccoli is chock-full of calcium in need of transportation to my blood stream. I now add butter or ghee to most vegetables served at my table. Along with the naturally occurring vitamin D found in butter, it helps calcium’s absorption, so my bones and teeth are stronger for it. And, of course, the taste is better. 
 
Here’s the skinny on saturated fat:

- Following a low-fat diet doesn’t mean eliminate all pleasures. Eating small amount of saturated fat daily, spacing out your red meat intake like steak to two to three times a month is a good start.
 
- On the flip side, increase your polyunsaturated fat intake. Found in nuts, seeds and fish, this essential fat helps to improve just about any situation of heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, asthma, eczema and overall inflammation.
 
- Monounsaturated fat from avocados, olives and olive oil are a better and healthful choice. Enjoy guacamole or avocado as a side or piled on a salad along with a simple homemade salad dressing daily. 
 
- Your goal should be about balancing your diet with more of the good and less of the bad.  
 
Salad dressings are a fantastic way to enjoy more essential and monounsaturated fats by using extra virgin olive oil and flax or hemp seed oils mixed. Try out this recipe by drizzling over any vegetable or salad.
 
Vegetable or Salad Dressing
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp grainy or dijon mustard
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp apple cider or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp flax oil
1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
 
Mix all ingredients into a jar and shake. 

Store in the fridge and consume within one week. Olive oil turns cloudy and hard when chilled, so leave on the counter for 10 minutes before using. 
 
Note: total recipe contains 114 g of fat. Use 1 tbsp daily over salad or vegetables.
 

Read More by Lianne Phillipson-Webb:
How to Cut Back on Salt for a Healthier Family

School-Safe, Seed-Based Snack Ideas and a Yummy Rice Crisp Square Recipe

Does Fatherhood Help Men Make Healthier Food Choices?

 

 

 

  • Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products including dairy; butter, cream, whole milk, and cheese. Fatty meats like beef, veal, lamb, pork and ham are higher in saturated fats than poultry and fish.  Vegetable based fats include shortening, palm kernel oil and coconut oil. Although coconut oil is a source of medium chain triglycerides–MTC for short–that actually boost metabolism, and is instantly used by the liver as fuel as opposed to storing it, so although classed as saturated, it’s the best of the bunch.
  • Saturated fats are used to manufacture cholesterol, so excessive intake can raise blood cholesterol levels -- especially the low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol known as “bad cholesterol”.
  • Your daily intake of saturated fats should be less than 10% of total calories eaten. An average daily calorie count for a woman is about 2000 cal, so no more than 20g of fat per day. One tablespoon of butter is about 12 g of fat.
  • When saturated fats are cooked or heated, they turn to trans-fats or hydrogenated oils which are completely foreign to your body. They wreak havoc and damage to arteries and tissues and should be avoided at all cost.
  • Low fat options are often unhealthier than the full fat version. As fat is reduced, so is taste. The replacement is usually sugar or other sweetener to make up for that taste loss. In most cases, you’re better off enjoying a smaller amount of the full fat version. A good example of this is yogurt.