Off to a good health start
Hopefully the holidays were relaxing for you and you are energized for 2018. So how about we tackle the primary health topic that is on everyone’s mind when we turn over a year – their weight. This is an important topic because excess weight may bring on many health issues including pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and esophageal reflux disease.
Researchers from Scotland, in reviewing over 54 clinical trials, found that obese people who lose weight by eating lower fat, as well as limiting the refined sugars, added extra years to their lives by reducing risk of early death. We know there is a benefit to eating healthy fats, but all fat sources are packed with a concentrated amount of calories, so keeping serving sizes modest seems reasonable.
Here are some tips to lighten-up your intake of fats to save calories:
- Select reduced-fat versions of mayonnaise, salad dressings, and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses
- Use healthy fats lightly: oils, nuts and nut butters, avocados
- Focus on cooking foods via no-fat methods: bake, grill, broil, boil or poach
- When baking replace all or part of the butter or oil called for in a recipe with pureed fruits such as applesauce or baby prunes
All sources of fat contain a high amount of calories. Using them modestly can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
If you liberally butter toast, you’ll easily add 100 calories to a 70-calorie slice of bread. If you always start every recipe with a healthy pour of olive oil, you can add 200-300 calories to a dish. A 50-calorie vegetable salad can bounce up to 500 calories when you add sources of fat to the salad such as cheese, nuts and a high-fat dressing.
Moving to more fish as a lean protein can lighten up fat calories. Adding in some vegetarian meals can be a calorie-saving benefit. For example, having a bowl of minestrone soup for lunch rather than a sandwich made with some meat filling, cheese and mayonnaise will result in fewer fat calories.
Recipes to try:
- Roasted Vegetables with Nutmeg
- Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Brown Rice and Zucchini
- Veggie Salad with Easy Fat-Free Ranch Dressing
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.