Swap Your Fats

— Written By and last updated by

As we start off the new year, everyone is looking to make changes in their lives. Typically, we set rather lofty and vague goals about weight loss and eating healthy. To make the commitment more real, however, I propose a smaller change. Making a healthier shift in your diet one food group at a time. This is a small change that could have a large effect on your overall health.

My suggestion is to trade out your unhealthy saturated fats for healthier unsaturated fats. These would include using olive, canola, or vegetable oils for cooking. These oils are high in monounsaturated fats, which help to lower your LDLor bad cholesterol and increase your HDL or good cholesterol. Try avoiding fats that are solid at room temperature and those that come from an animal or are an animal bi-product. This includes whole fat milk, cheese, butter, and egg yolks, as well as beef and pork fat.

Also try to add more fatty fish and fish oils into your diet. These contain omega-3 fats, which have abundant health benefits and are not naturally produced in our bodies. These fats aid in preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, and inflammatory diseases. A 3 oz serving twice a week of a fatty fish will help you reach the recommended amount of omega-3 fats. Try eating mackerel, trout, herring, blue fin tuna, or salmon.

A switch from saturated to unsaturated fats may be easier to obtain than removing fat entirely from your diet. In fact, there are benefits to consuming the right fats, such as a decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol, and weight loss.

Try the recipes below from Medinsteadofmeds.com. This website  is a new initiative launched by NC State University and Cooperative Extension which explains the Mediterranean style of eating. For more information on healthy eating contact Olivia Jones at olivia_jones@ncsu.edu.

Mediterranean Infused Yogurt

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped English cucumber (if you use regular cucumber, remove the seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch Kosher or flake salt

Directions:

  1. Place the yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Top with the cucumber.
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  4. Finish with the salt.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

  • Serving Size: ¾ cup
  • Vegetables: ¼ cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups
  • Calories: 116 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 13 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 213 mg

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans of tuna packed in water or olive oil, drained and flaked
  • ½ cup minced carrots (approximately 2 carrots)
  • ½ cup minced celery (approximately 2 celery sticks)
  • ½ cup minced yellow bell pepper (approximately 1 small bell pepper – substitute with orange, red or green bell pepper if preferred)
  • ¼ cup minced red onion (substitute with yellow or green onion if preferred)
  • ¼ cup minced olives (substitute with pickles if preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl combine the carrots, celery, bell pepper, onion, olives, tuna, and olive oil.
  2. Season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Serve as a sandwich on whole-grain bread, on top of salad greens, or alongside our Olive Oil Toast. This recipe also goes great with our Super Tomato Soup.

Nutrition Information per Serving:(Based on tuna packed in water, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt)

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Vegetables: ¾ cup
  • Fruits: 0 cups
  • Calories: 124 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Sodium: 559 mg
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