A healthy diet includes fat! Check out this post for detailed information on the different types of dietary fat. Healthy fats are those that are rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats. Healthy fat shopping list at the bottom of this post.
Read on for some practical ways to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet.
Swap out butter and other cooking oils for extra virgin olive oil or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil. Flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil also contain omega-3 fats and are good alternatives. Here is a conversion chart when cooking and baking with olive oil in place of butter.
As an Entree
Omega-3 fats are found in cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines), omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole-soy foods. Entree-worthy whole soy foods include edamame, tofu and tempeh. Try to include these foods in place of high-saturated fat proteins (red & processed meats) throughout the week. Here is an autumnal pumpkin curry with crispy tofu recipe that even meat lovers will enjoy.
As a Spread
Instead of butter, try dipping bread or rolls into extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar. Mashed avocado – another healthy fat superstar – makes for a delicious spread on sandwiches or toast. Be wary of margarine and “buttery spreads” that are highly processed. Natural nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.) without added palm oil or sugar can be a more satisfying alternative to butter or cream cheese on toast & bagels — they are high in protein as well as healthy fat. Nut butter also tastes great in smoothies or as a dip with bananas, apples or celery.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts – especially walnuts, and seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fats. Walnuts can be added to salads, oatmeal, dry cereals and granola, baked goods or a homemade trail mix. One serving is one ounce, which looks like 14 halves or 7 whole walnuts. Seeds such as flax, hemp and chia are also great options. Whole flax is not easily digestible, so opt for the ground variety. Use ground flax meal and hemp seeds in baking, smoothies, or oatmeal. Try this overnight chia pudding recipe for a deliciously creamy, protein and fiber-rich breakfast or snack!
If you are eating a variety of the foods above, you are likely getting adequate amounts of omega-3s and do not need to take supplements. If not, or if you are strictly vegan, you may need to supplement. Options include fish oil, krill oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil. Algal oil, obtained from algae, is suitable for all strict vegetarian and plant based diets.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Canola oil, expeller-pressed grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil
- Cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines)
- Omega-3 enriched eggs
- Tofu, tempeh, edamame
- Natural nut butter (without added palm oil or sugar)
- Ground flax meal, chia seeds, hemp seeds
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Consumers https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/
Dr Weil’s Anti-inflammatory Food Pyramid https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-pyramid/dr-weils-anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid/
Valerie Koschnick RDN, CD