There are many theories about what’s good and bad for you. One thing that researchers have found is that too much-saturated fat is bad. It blocks the arteries and causes some heart and weight problems. Having a lot of visceral fat is also dangerous for your organs.
On top of that, fats are higher in calories than other food groups. If you eat too many fats, you will end up gaining weight much quicker, or it can stall your weight loss. This is because you’re eating the extra calories.
While you still want some healthy fats (as they’re good for your body and brain), you will want to cut down on the saturated fats you eat.
But sometimes you don’t know how much fat is in your food, do you? Reading the labels will help, but when you want to make quick choices or work off restaurant menus, you’ll need to take other steps to cut down on your fat consumption. Here are five ways that you can do it.
Opt for the Lean Cuts of Meat as Much as Possible
Before you buy the cuts of meat from the store or your local butcher, find out about how lean it is. Lean protein will have very little fat on it. But there are plenty of cuts out there that are high in fat, with the majority of it being the unhealthy saturated fats.
Sure, you can cut the fats off, but some of the fats are within the meat itself. You can’t get rid of that. You’ll usually notice if the meat is high in fat due to the amount that comes off during the cooking process. Lean cuts will give off very little in the baking, grilling or cooking process.
This will mean changing your buying methods in some cases. If you go to the butcher, you’ll need to ask for the lean cuts and find out more about the way the minces are made. In the grocery store, you’ll want to look for specific types of animals, cuts and the labels that say 5% or 10% fat. Anything under 5% is considered “Extra Lean” and the best option for you.
You can also make a change by switching the type of meat you eat. Pork and beef are the most common types to have the extra saturated fats. Therefore you’ll likely see the 5% beef mince but nothing on the chicken or turkey mince—they’re already low in fat. You can get lean versions of pork and beef, but opting for chicken, turkey, and seafood is going to be easier for you. All you then have to do is avoid the skinned poultry—but you can take the skin off and still benefit from the lean cuts.
If you’re not allergic to seafood, definitely start adding that into your diet 1-2 times per week. Not only is it low in fat, but it’s good for the brain health. It’s packed with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, which will help support the brain tissue and cells, reducing the risks of the likes of dementia and heart disease.
This isn’t going to be easy for everyone, but it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your fat consumption. You’ll be surprised at how healthier your meals are with a little planning on the cuts of meat you get.
Switch Out the Whole Fat Dairy
Whole fat milk, cheese, and yogurts may taste delicious, but they have the problem of the fats. Dairy products made with whole fat milk are packed with extra unsaturated fats. They come from the animal, and you can’t get rid of them through processing at home.
Instead, you’ll want to rely on the farmers who do the processing for you. Instead of drinking whole fat milk, switch for 2% or 1% milk. Going straight to 1% can be a challenge, as it doesn’t taste as creamy. In fact, some people never get along with the 1% milk. 2% milk is often that happy medium that works for many, and you can always try the 1% in small amounts slowly.
Over time, you’ll no longer notice the difference in your milk. You can also opt for low-fat cheeses and yogurts to benefit there, too. When opting for low-fat yogurts, find out the amount of sugar added to them. Sometimes, just opting for Greek or Natural yogurt is better than a low-fat option due to the sugar intake, which can be as bad as fat.
After a while, you can switch away from dairy altogether. Look out for almond or soy milk instead of cow’s or goat’s milk. Coconut milk is another option, although this has more fat than in almond or soy milk.
The benefit of the milk alternatives is that you get away from the lactose in dairy products. Some of us are intolerant to milk alternatives, which can leave us bloated and uncomfortable. Getting almond, soy or coconut milk escapes that problem, so you’re left feeling healthier mentally while being healthier physically.
These milk alternatives can sometimes have a strange taste at first, especially when you use them in your tea or coffee. You’ll eventually get used to them in your diet and wonder why you even avoided them in the first place. They even have the calcium and other nutrients that dairy products have (sometimes extra amounts of them).
Soy milk is made from soybeans. Soy is one of the only complete proteins outside the animal world, which means you’re still stocking up on all the nutrients that you may fear you lose by giving up milk. Almond milk doesn’t offer all the same benefits but is low in fat, calories, and sugars.
If you still want to use some cheese, you can also make a switch to the stronger tastes. You don’t need to use as much of the cheese, so you can stick to whole fat cheeses without having to put up with the excess fats. This is an excellent way to use cheese in cooking, so you get to useless for the taste.
Get Rid of the Junk Food
Junk food offers absolutely no benefits to you at all. Well, no nutritional benefits. You may feel like they get rid of that craving for burgers or pizzas, but all you’re doing is adding extra saturated fats to your diets.
Burgers, hot dogs, pizza and more are made up of saturated fats. They will use the unhealthiest cuts of meat because they’re cheap. In fact, some will barely have any of the good meat at all. Most companies get a mixture of all the leftover cuts of the meats and put them into a large bowl, mixing and compacting them together, so it looks like you’ve got a good amount of the lean meat. Even lean burgers aren’t the greatest compared to the better cuts of meat.
If you’re going to opt for burgers, try making your own. Get the chicken or turkey mince and create your patties with some herbs and spices. You’ll start to wonder why you even bothered with eating burgers at McDonald’s, Burger King, and other places.
But what about the restaurants? They all have calories on their menus, don’t they? Surely the low-calorie options are good for you. Well, while they may be low in calories, they may also be high in fat. You end up with less food that you would have done if you had something healthier with more calories.
This doesn’t mean you can’t eat out at all. Think about the places that offer the best food first. Sushi restaurants are excellent since they offer seafood instead of fatty meats. Another option is to go for salads, the best cuts of meats for steaks, and other similar dishes when you choose to eat out. Eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring, as you can get salads bursting with flavors.
Watch out for the dressings when you do order salads. Ask for them to be placed on the side. You then get full control over the amount you pour over your dish.
Remember this is about cutting down on your fat consumption. You can eat some fat, and you don’t need to cut out all junk food forever. That would be unrealistic since you wouldn’t likely be happy when you go out with friends. Take stock of the number of times you eat out, especially at burger joints and similar.
As you cut down on the amount of junk food you eat, you’ll find you crave it less. In fact, as you change for a healthier diet, you can find that you don’t enjoy the junk food as much as you used to. This isn’t just great for your health, but also for your bank balance!
Stock Up on Other Proteins
Meat is a good way to get protein into your diet, but not the only way. In fact, you want to look at the number of proteins you’re getting from meat and consider other options. Not only will this reduce your fat consumption, but reduce the chances of getting meat from unhealthy sources (like those that have antibiotics that pass into you).
There are many other proteins out there to give you everything you need. Legumes, beans, and soy are all the most popular, but you can also choose quinoa. Along with soy, quinoa is a complete protein. This means it’s packed with all nine essential amino acids, and this is the type of protein you want to get into your diet. The only other source is through the meat. The great thing is soy and quinoa are extremely easy to source in the grocery store now.
You can also stock up on protein through nuts if you’re not allergic. Yes, they have some fats, but again you’re not cutting out all fat. You’re meant to be cutting down on fat consumption. Nuts are full of unsaturated fats, so they’re the healthy kind. In a small amount, they’ll do your whole body some good. Again, this is as long as you’re not allergic to them.
Protein is good to help leave you feeling satisfied. It breaks down in the body slowly, similarly to fat. You will feel full sooner and for longer, so there’s less need to snack.
You can also use protein supplements, such as whey protein powders. This has some lactose in it, so you’ll want to look at other forms of protein powder. There is a soy form, which is excellent for those who want to cut out all dairy.
If you want to take this slowly, start by cutting down on the amount of meat you eat. Opt for one day a week where you go completely meatless. This is realistic, and even if you don’t want to become complete vegetarians or vegans, you will put your health first. On other days, you can reduce the amount of meat that you add to your soups and stews, so you use more legumes, peas, beans and other high-fiber, high-protein foods.
Make a Few Sensible Swaps
The final way to cut down is by making some swaps in your home. There are certain foods or ingredients you buy that are packed with saturated fats, but they don’t have to be. And you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out by not opting for them.
For example, it’s time to get rid of the vegetable oil or corn oil. This offers no benefit to your body. Opt for healthier oils instead. Olive oil is one of the most popular because it’s cheaper than many others. While Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best, you can get any olive oil to reduce your saturated fat intake.
Other oil options include rapseed oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. The idea is to step away from the processed junk and opt for cleaner, healthier versions.
Next on the list is cream. If you find a recipe that calls for cream, you can make a switch for Greek yogurt, natural yogurt, and even crème Fraiche. They give similar tastes and consistencies without the extra fat in the cream. It’s a quick swap that you will never taste the difference in your baking.
Pastry tends to be high in fat, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it completely. You can still make your pies, but you will want to make them slightly different. Instead of making the pastry base, opt for the pastry top. You can still have the delicious filling. In fact, you get more of the filling, since the base isn’t taking up space in the pan.
Sometimes it’s in the method of cooking. If you fry your food, you will use extra oil in the pan. That has nowhere to go, except for back into your dish. When you choose to grill or bake, the fat from the meat (for example) can escape out the way. You also don’t need the oil to cook in. Step away from the deep fat fryer! You’re just adding extra fat to your potatoes and other ingredients that way!
Butter is another problem area for many. While butter is often viewed as healthier than margarine, there is the issue with the saturated fats. You’ll want to look at the vegan spreads instead. There are plenty of options that are made from avocado and olive oil to help reduce your saturated fat intake.
Reduce, Don’t Cut Out Completely
Your fat consumption needs to be reduced. This isn’t a food group that you want to completely cut out of your diet, as your body needs it. However, the body needs the right type of fats. Opt for more unsaturated fats in your diet and work them in moderation.
For example, two tablespoons of olive oil a day is enough to support a healthy body and brain. It isn’t that much. Your body doesn’t need the vegetable oil instead. The saturated fats offer no nutritional benefits and don’t taste better in the long term.
It’s time to make a change to your lifestyle. With the five simple changes above, you can reduce your fat consumption considerably. You’ll find it easier to lose weight, feel less bloated, and reduce your risks of heart disease.