Avoiding high levels of fat is important to just about everyone these days. High levels of dietary fat and cholesterol have been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some types of cancers. Staying healthy often means cutting back on fat. The trick is to do this without sacrificing the taste you and your family crave.
There are many good reasons for cutting back on the amount of fat in the diet. The average diet today contains far too much fat, and lowering the level of fat in the diet is a great help for losing weight and gaining fitness. Since fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates, cutting back on fat usually means a reduction in caloric intake.
In addition to its usefulness in losing weight, cutting levels of fat in the diet is also important to long term good health. High fat in the diet can lead to high cholesterol levels, hardening of the arteries, obesity, diabetes and other serious medical complications. In addition, high dietary fat is though to play a role in the development of some of the most common cancers.
In addition, cutting back on high fat foods will allow you to enjoy more of other, healthier foods. Enjoying more wholesome, healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains while cutting back on greasy, fatty foods, is a great way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Cutting back on the amount of fat in the diet is not always easy, however, especially for those who have never had to worry about fat content before. There are a number of simple, easy changes you can make, however, that will allow you to enjoy a low fat lifestyle with little sacrifice.
For instance, when enjoying toast, bagels and other whole grain products, don’t use peanut butter or cream cheese, which are high in fat. For a low fat alternative, spread toast, bread and bagels with jelly, jams, apple butter, low fat cream cheese or low fat margarine.
Eating a healthier, lower fat diet often means changing your relationship with high fat foods. That means enjoying high fat foods like bacon and sausage as an occasional treat or garnish, instead of as a staple of the diet.
Eating healthy naturally means eating more salads, but it is important not to wreck the healthy effects of the salad by loading them down with high fat dressings. A salad tricked out with blue cheese dressing, for instance, can easily contain more fat and calories than a hamburger. That is why it is important to keep a supply of low fat or nonfat dressings on hand. When eating at your favorite restaurant, ask for nonfat dressing, or get the dressing on the side so you can control the amount used.
Baked potatoes are another healthy alternative, but like salads, they can be sabotaged by the addition of high fat dressings. Instead of using butter, margarine, cheese or sour cream, try topping baked potatoes with plain nonfat yogurt, salsa, cottage cheese or steamed broccoli. And don’t forget to eat the potato skin for extra nutrients. The skins of baked potatoes are great sources of fiber and vitamins.
When using seasonings, there are a number of great garnishes that add zest and flavor without adding calories. Additions like lemon juice, salsa, herbs and green onions are great additions to salads and stir fried vegetables.
You’re probably seeing a pattern here. Toppings can be great when used wisely, but the wrong toppings can quickly add fat and calories to even the lowest fat recipe. Use high fat toppings sparingly, and try to find low fat and nonfat alternatives whenever possible.
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There are a great many low fat and nonfat products on the market, and these products make it easier than ever to eat healthy while still enjoying your favorite foods. Some of the best low fat and nonfat foods are found in the dairy case, including low fat and nonfat milk, cheese and even ice cream.
Many popular snacks, including cakes, cookies and even potato chips, are available in nonfat and low fat varieties as well. Care should be used, however, with such products. Some of these baked goods and salty snacks have very high levels of sugar, sweeteners, salt and other unhealthy ingredients. As with all snacks, low fat cakes, cookies and chips should be an occasional treat only. Instead, snack on fresh fruit like apples, oranges and bananas.