Full-Fat Foods That You Should Eat When Dieting
The Case for Full-Fat Foods
Coming off two decades of being brainwashed that “fat-free” and “low-fat” were the only way to eat for optimal health and weight loss, this may seem a bit confusing. But, adding this necessary nutrient (in moderation, of course) may actually help weight loss efforts by reducing hunger and cravings and increasing satiety. Here’s how you can add fat to your diet along with tricks to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Once seen as a cholesterol-raising, heart attack-causer, the egg is back. The American Heart Association says it’s okay for most people to eat one egg daily, and we encourage you to do so especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s the egg’s combination of fat and protein that make it one of the only foods that can keep you full until lunch. (One egg has 80 calories, 7 grams protein and 5 grams of fat.) Eggs for breakfast provide so much satiety that one study even found that people trying to lose weight who consumed eggs for breakfast consumed fewer daily calories when compared to dieters who ate other foods for breakfast. Perfect Portion Trick: Start with one egg, and then add to it by combining 1 whole egg with 1 to 2 egg whites to make an omelet. Or, scramble with fiber-rich veggies such as spinach, onions, tomato, and zucchini and a sprinkle of sharp cheese.
Dry-roasted or plain, salted or unsalted, nuts pack in healthy fats, a little protein and fiber, and a host of vitamins and minerals. While a one-ounce serving of nuts has more calories than pretzels, it also comes with protein and fat, which staves off hunger for longer than pretzels and many other starchy snacks. Perfect Portion Trick: Portion nuts into individual snack bags after purchasing so that you can grab on the go and know that you’ve got a portion-controlled snack. Don’t wait until you’re hungry or in a hurry to do this; portion beforehand.100 calorie portions: about 13 whole almonds, 30 shelled pistachios, 8 walnut halves, 10 pecan halves, or 17 peanuts150 calorie portions: about 20 whole almonds, 45 shelled pistachios, 12 walnut halves, 15 pecan halves, or 26 peanuts
Milkfat in Milk and Yogurt
For years, opting for skim and fat-free milk has been a no-brainer—particularly if trying to cut calories or limit saturated fat intake. But new research suggesting that people who consume higher levels of milk fat may have a lower rate of heart disease has brought skim milk into question and caused whole milk sales to increase for the first time in years. More research is needed before choosing whole on a regular basis, but consuming small servings of reduced-fat milk and yogurt products can go a long way when it comes to satiety. Perfect Portion Trick: Choose pre-portioned 2% yogurt, which only has about 40 more calories than an equivalent 0% yogurt serving. If that little bit of fat halts your hunger and cravings, it’s calories well spent. Needing a chocolate treat? Consider 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk; it tastes decadently creamy and rich but won’t derail your dieting efforts. Check out the comparison of a glass of chocolate milk to a popular candy bar below:1% low-fat chocolate milk (1 cup): 170 cal, 3g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 15g est. added sugar, 8g protein, 30% DV calciumChocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat bar (1 candy bar): 250 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g sat fat, 25g est. added sugar, 4g protein, 4% DV calcium
Lose weight, and eat bacon? Yes, it is possible, and here’s why: sometimes a little bit of the real thing makes you much happier and content than eating a lower-fat, lesser-tasting product like turkey bacon. And some brands of turkey bacon aren’t actually that much better nutritionally. Eating a little bit of real bacon is a treat to most and makes a diet feel like anything but deprivation—something turkey bacon can’t always deliver. Perfect Portion Trick: The key is choosing a leaner, high-flavor cut (such as center-cut bacon) and staying on top of portion size. Two cooked slices of center-cut bacon have 60 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, and 260 milligrams sodium. Cook only as much as you need so extra temptation doesn’t hang around. If you do end up with extra cooked slices, crumble and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week to toss on top of salads, eggs, and baked potatoes.
One of my biggest food regrets is not making this creamy, decadent fruit a staple in my diet until my thirties. Once I discovered it though, there was no turning back. Being a dietitian, I started to worry about my total calorie intake from this extra fat. What I found though is that I actually ate less of other things (particularly starchy side dishes) and felt more satisfied when I paired roasted chicken with an avocado-feta salsa or spread mashed avocado on my burrito. And, data backed this up when I analyzed my intake. The extra healthy fat calories not only satisfied my taste buds and stomach, but they also caused me to eat fewer carbs around which I’d usually have little control. Perfect Portion Trick: One cup of avocado has 235 calories and 22 grams of fat—more than most need at one meal—so the trick is learning how to keep the unused portion fresh until your next meal or next day since avocados will begin to brown once cut. For a single serving, you might use ¼ to ⅓ of a whole avocado. To preserve freshness, keep skin and seed intact and rub exposed areas with lemon or lime juice; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Another option: mash the whole avocado with lime juice and salt. Cover extra guacamole with plastic wrap that you press down on the surface and refrigerate.
Butter is arguably one of life’s most guilty pleasures and sometimes a healthier substitute just won’t do. While the calories and total fat are the same per tablespoon as olive oil, butter has a much higher concentration of saturated fat. Thankfully, it doesn’t take but a small pat of butter to make a big impact. Perfect Portion Trick: Measuring is key with butter. Also, use it sparingly, but smartly, in dishes where no other fat will do and in dishes where you’ll really taste and appreciate butter’s flavor. Consider splurging on premium, European-style butters such as Kerrygold and Plugrá. These butters have a higher butterfat percentage, so less is needed to get that decadent flavor.
It’s a completely natural reaction for a dieter to think they need to shun full-fat dressing. But the truth is that tossing your salad in a little healthy fat makes you feel full longer, and the fat is actually needed to absorb some of the nutrients in the vegetables. So skip the fat-free and light versions, which often have sugar added as a replacement for the fat, and choose a dressing made with heart-healthy oils. Whip up your own with one of our quick recipes, or opt for store-bought. Perfect Portion Trick: Pull out your measuring spoons and use them; it’s so easy to over pour that measuring is the only way to ensure you don’t go overboard. If the amount seems meager for the size of your salad, whisk your dressing with a little lemon or orange juice, water, or vinegar to extend it.
Yes, compounds in chocolate have potential health benefits like helping reduce high blood pressure, but a 1.5-ounce bar has around 235 calories and 13 grams of fat—6 to 9 grams of which are saturated. That’s a lot of heart-clogging fat for a little treat. But chocolate made with cocoa butter isn’t quite as bad. Cocoa butter contains saturated fat but in a form called stearic acid, a type that doesn’t raise cholesterol like other saturated types. Perfect Portion Trick: I’m not going to lie—the only way I maintain willpower around with chocolate is by purchasing individually-wrapped squares. I know it’s just as easy to unwrap four mini squares as it is to put away a ¾ of a regular-sized bar, but the psychological process of opening only 1 to 2 keeps me from overdoing it. Choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more and lists cocoa butter as its main source of fat.