Can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that eating fat is something we actually want to do??? After the ridiculous fat-free craze of the 90s that left me with dull hair and skin, an extra 10 pounds of weight, and deprivation from yummy food, it’s such a breath of fresh air that most people now understand fat is not the enemy. Eating fat does not make you fat.
In case you’re still on the fence, OUR BODIES NEED FAT to do many things in the body:
- Fats help us feel full and satiated after meals, not reaching for a snack or dessert a few minutes later.
- Fats help keep our blood sugar levels balanced, thus preventing carb and sugar cravings.
- Fats are a key component of our cell membranes, and we are basically just a big mass of cells! Healthy cells are crucial and integral to having a healthy body.
- Fats play a huge role in hormone regulation and are also one of the materials needed to make many hormones.
- Fats are needed for the body’s healing processes to work properly.
- Fats help keep our skin moisturized, soft, and supple.
- Fats are necessary for healthy liver and gallbladder function.
- Fat stores are needed for long burning energy.
- Fats are required for the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins to include A, D, E, and K.
- Fats make our food taste really good!
Now, just a brief overview of which fats are considered good or healthy. When you are looking for healthy fats, think natural, unprocessed, and unaltered sources to include butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, and the animal fat from grass fed/pastured/free range animals. Bacon grease? Yes. Butter? Yes. Crisco vegetable oil? No. Canola oil? No. Always say no to anything with the word hydrogenated on the label or the dreaded trans fats which have been altered beyond recognition. For a more in-depth view of healthy fats and the desired ratios of essential fatty acids, visit this link.
So now we know fats are good, necessary, and crucial for many functions of healthy bodies, but many of us still do not eat enough quality fats every day. Although it can be a challenge at first to look for ways to add healthy fats to our meals after years of avoiding it like the plague, it becomes a regular thing once you’ve started making the effort. Not to mention, you will notice positive differences in your health and well being when you are consuming adequate amounts of healthy fats each day.
Here are three easy ways to incorporate more fats into our daily diets:
1) Switch out those oil sprays for the actual thing.
Instead of spraying pans or dishes with non-stick spray, add larger amounts of the actual fat. Since I use stainless steel pans, I do use a quick spray of real olive or avocado oil in my pans for easier clean up. But then I add a hunk of butter, ghee. bacon grease, or coconut oil to my pans. Whether it’s eggs or a stir fry, extra fat goes into the pan. The same goes for my baking dishes. When I roast veggies or meats, I add extra fat to the pan first. The only time I skip this step is when I’m making baked goods since extra fat can change the consistency of the item. So in those cases, I just add butter to my muffins or breads right out of the oven. Yum! And just a little note, try to mix up your fats so you’re not always using the same ones. Variety allows you to get a healthy mix of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats into your diet. And yes, you benefit from all of them!
2) Add a small amount of nuts to your meals.
Whether its pecans, pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, or peanuts (which are technically a legume), these high-fat munchies provide wholesome plant-based monounsaturated fats in addition to omega-three fatty acids, healthy-skin-promoting-vitamin E, and fiber. This one was actually weird for me to grasp at first, but I’ve come to realize how easy it is to add nuts or nut butters to meals and snacks. Add cashews to a stir fry, sprinkle walnuts on a salad, or eat your apple slices with a smear of almond butter. Once you start looking for ways to incorporate nuts into your daily meals, you quickly realize how versatile they can be. Just keep in mind that nuts are very dense and high in calories — just a tiny handful is more than enough.
3) Avocado up your plate.
Avocados really are little powerhouses of nutrients and good quality fat. They are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and 20 different vitamins and minerals. Put them on your eggs, your salads, or just add a few slices to your plate of whatever. You can blend them into everything from salad dressings to chocolate pudding. Make a batch of guacamole and then try not to eat the entire bowl. In my opinion, avocados make the food world a much better place!
4) BONUS – Put a fried egg on top.
This is for those of you who don’t like avocados or nuts…I don’t understand you guys, but I know you exist. First of all, I’m super sad for you because avocados and nuts are amazing. But to each his own, and you all deserve to get your healthy fats in ways that you consider delicious in your own right. So here’s an extra way to sneak fat into your diets … just put a fried egg on top. Whole eggs are actually loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain a little bit of almost every single nutrient we need. In one large egg, you will find 1.6g of saturated fat, 0.7g of polyunsaturated fat, and 2g of monounsaturated fat. In addition to healthy fats, you will also consume vitamins and minerals to help build lean muscle and speed up your metabolism. Eating a salad? Put a fried egg on top. Enjoying a burger? Put a fried egg on top. Did you make a quick stir fry? Yep, throw a fried egg on top. It may seem strange at first, but when you are preparing a meal just ask yourself, “Would a fried egg be good with this?” And most of the time the answer is YES. Add in a bit of coconut oil or ghee when you fry that egg and you’re just killing it with this healthy fat thing
I never ever thought I would look for ways to add more fat to practically every meal I eat! But once I realized fat is my friend (and sugar is the real enemy), my health improved greatly. I lost weight, my skin improved, my energy increased, my appetite was no longer erratic, my hormones became more balanced, and my body had less inflammation. And the food I eat is DELICIOUS. I challenge each of you to eat more healthy fat in 2017. Your bodies will thank you for it. More butter, please!
Amanda Koch is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, Pilates Master Trainer, and Safe Skincare Educator. After dealing with personal health challenges to include infertility, multiple miscarriages, chronic pain, depression and anxiety, she made healing changes in her life with real food, healthy movement, and clean products. She strives to provide resources for women to live well balanced lives which are realistic and effective. She currently lives in Alaska with her Air Force husband and two boys, happy and well.