Facts about fat

March is National Nutrition Month and the theme for the month is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle.” I wish National Nutrition month was every month! I wish that it is something that we thought about more than once a year. The goal is that “biting into a healthy lifestyle” should become part of the rhythm of your daily life.

Our tips this week are focused on fats. Here are the facts on fat:

*Fats add flavor to food so many of the restaurants that we eat at will add extra fat to flavor the foods. Therefore, a simple grilled chicken breast at a restaurant will most likely have a higher fat content than the one you would prepare at home because the cooks might add some extra oil or butter to it to make it taste extra yummy. Is it the end of the world? No, but something for you to be aware of and something to think about if you are dining out frequently. You can ask for your food to be prepared without oil or butter next time you dine out.

*Americans consume too many saturated fats. Saturated fats are the ones that are solid at room temperature and put us at increased risk for heart disease. The goal is for 10% of total calories to come from saturated fat, which is 20 grams for someone on an 1800 calorie diet. Pizza and regular cheese account for the largest contribution of saturated fat intake in our diets. This month try making your own pizza at home so you can control what kind and how much cheese.

*We cannot eliminate fats in our diet but we can limit them, reduce our portions, and watch the added fats. Maybe this National Nutrition Month, you can substitute some of your higher-fat red meats with leaner meats like chicken, turkey, and fish. Another great thing to try this month is buying low-fat dairy products. Don’t be scared! Many people can be afraid to make that change from whole milk so why not start with 2% milk and then gradually changing it to 1% or skim.

This month think of some ways you can reduce your fat intake so that it just becomes natural for you and a part of your lifestyle all year round!

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