Sunday, 29 September 2019

Simple ways to cut down on FATS

Fats can wreak havoc on our bodies and contribute to weight gain if we eat too much. Although we need fats in our diet, many of us are unaware of how to maintain a healthy weight because we’re not consuming the right amount and types of fat. Cutting down on fat is not as hard as we think, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to give up our favourite foods. Get started with these simple tips.

Fats we love

Unsaturated fats are great for our bodies – they lower our cholesterol levels and give us the fatty acids we need. These ‘good fats’ come in two forms – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in fish (especially oily fish)nuts (walnuts and Brazil nuts), seeds (such as sesame – hommus and tahini are great!), polyunsaturated margarines and some oils (sunflower, safflower, soy, and corn.) Monounsaturated fats are found in avocado, nuts and nut spreads (peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews and almonds), margarine spreads (such as canola or olive oil based), and oils such as olive, canola and peanut oil.

Beware of trans fats

 Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids) are actually worse than saturated fats. They are variants of unsaturated fats that have been altered during the manufacturing process to make fats and oils harden, (imagine what they’re doing to our insides)! These fats alter our cholesterol levels for the worse and put us at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s important to limit products where fats have been altered in some way, (such as deep-fried food, pies, pastries, cakes, donuts and some margarines and butter). Small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in milk, cheese, beef and lamb and are not dangerous.
Hint: read food labels carefully and if you see trans fat listed choose another product.

Learn to love vegies and legumes

The best way to cut down on bad fats is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and legumes (or pulses). Pack a punch by adding as many colours and varieties as you can. Learn to love legumes – they fill us up and are loaded with fibre, vitamins and antioxidants.

Hint: try adding legumes to your vegie intake – one serve of legumes is 75 g (about a half a cup) of cooked beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils. If you don’t have time to cook from dried, use canned instead. Try our hearty vegetable soup.

Get the good oil

When cooking, get into the habit of using a small amount of oil, margarine and butter. Grease pans with cooking spray, or use a pastry brush to apply oils and spreads directly to food instead of adding it to the pan. Use unsaturated oils and spreads, such as canola, olive, safflower, sunflower, corn or soy. Watch coconut oil and cream, they're high in saturated fat.

Hint: when cooking with oil, or using unsaturated spreads (such as margarine on sandwiches), aim for one teaspoon per person. Measure it out too – or you may end up eating more than you bargained for!

Be a master chef

Be adventurous in the kitchen – try healthier methods and modify recipes. Steam, bake, grill, braise, boil or microwave meals rather than frying in loads of oil. For example, meat, fish and vegetables can be roasted in the oven – put meat on a rack with a dish underneath to collect oil and fat. Invest in some non-stick cookware to lessen the amount of oil required. Replace oil with liquids too (such as chicken or beef stock, red or white wine, lemon juice, fruit juice, vinegar or even tap water).

Hint: look for healthy alternatives to popular meals – give these potato wedges a go, they’re better than chips, quick to make and the dishes aren't as greasy to clean!

Big is not better

We should be eating no more than 20 g of saturated per day, which according to the Heart Foundation, is around seven per cent of our daily diet. Most of us however, are eating nearly double that limit. Over the years, the size of our meals has grown at an alarming rate. Take control of portions by following this simple rule – a half of our plate can be taken up with a variety of vegies, a quarter with cereals and grains, and a quarter with meat and alternatives (meat, fish, tofu, legumes). Be a mindful eater – are you really hungry or just eating for the sake of it? Do you take time to savour your food or wolf it down? If you find it difficult to cut back, do it slowly – even reducing in small amounts can make a difference.

Hint: use a smaller plate or go for an entrĂ©e size when eating out. And if you’re loading up or going in for seconds, it might be time to rethink about what and how much you’re eating!

Burning fat

Many of us overeat and are consuming more energy than we burn, which leads to weight gainFat (37 kJ) is energy dense, it contains more kilojoules (or calories) than other components in foods such as protein (17 kJ) and carbohydrates (16 kJ). When we exercise, some fats break down (metabolise) faster than others, and saturated fats are the hardest to shift. Aim for at 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day (kids need more – 60 minutes) and cut down on the amount you eat, especially high fat foods.

Hint: embrace technology, it’s a great way to track your way to a healthy lifestyle. There are plenty of reputable apps out there and many of them are free!

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