Sunday’s big game is just around the corner. And whether you’re cheering for the Ravens or pulling for the 49ers, we can all agree that good nutrition can lead to good overall health. That’s certainly important when it comes to considering the amount of fat included in your diet. Fat is actually a very important part of a healthy diet, but many Americans eat too much of it. Your body uses fat to absorb vitamins, and some fats have nutrients that are good for your heart. However, eating too much fat can lead to weight gain, serious disease and health conditions, and other costly health care expenses.
Think about these tips when considering how much fat is part of your diet:
1. Purchase reduced-fat items like two-percent cheese, reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream, light salad dressings, and one-third less fat snack options.
2. Drink and eat fat-free milk and yogurt.
3. When eating, watch out for foods that are fried, buttered, or smothered in creams and sauces. Bisques can also be fatty.
4. Limit eating cakes, cookies, baked goods, candy bars, and chocolate.
5. Measure out portion sizes. Even if what you are eating is good for your body, too large of a portion can include too many calories.
It’s also important to know the differences between the various types of fat included in your diet. These include unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. They are called heart healthy because they have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol in your body. These fats typically come from sources such as nuts, seeds, oils, and olives.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. They can raise cholesterol levels in your blood, making it thick and difficult to pump through your arteries. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products and include butter, cream, bacon, and other meats.
Trans fats are manmade fats found in baked goods, shortening, and even peanut butter. These fats have been found to be harmful to your heart as they can increase your bad cholesterol while decreasing your good cholesterol.
Limit the amount of total fat you eat throughout the day. Pay close attention to saturated fats by making sure you are getting no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake from them. Avoid trans fats if possible by reading the Nutrition Facts Label and Ingredient List on all food packaging. If you see “partially hydrogenated” you know that there are trans fats in the food.
Remember, small changes make the biggest difference. Simply switching to low-fat food products, you can significantly reduce fat intake.
Pregame with some of these healthy snacks:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Recipe Yields about 3 cups (12 servings) Serving: ¼ cup
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup tahini paste
1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1, 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Add these flavor options to the recipe above:
Cucumber Hummus – one cucumber coarsely chopped
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – ½ cup roasted red peppers coarsely chopped Sun Dried Tomato Hummus – ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes and ¼ cup finely shredded basil
Buffalo Hot Wing Hummus – ¼ cup Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce or to taste (serve
Place garlic, tahini paste, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor and blend until garlic is finely minced. Add garbanzo beans and flavor selection into the food processor and puree until smooth. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
Refrigerate 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend.
For more information, please visit CDC.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/index.html.