Think you need to avoid fats as part of a healthy diet? Think again. From nuts and fish to heart-healthy oils, learn to tell the difference between good fats and bad.
1. Go nuts
Nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats and of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats – so include a handful (30g) of unsalted, dry roasted or raw varieties as part of your daily meal plan. Add them to salads, yoghurt, cereal and stir-fries for a heart health boost and a satisfying crunch.
2. Serve up some fish
Get a delicious dose of omega-3 by eating fish or seafood 2-3 times a week. From steamed fish to homemade fish cakes, fish is a versatile ingredient that’s tasty as well!
3. Use healthier oils
When it comes to choosing an oil, think about the sort of cooking you’re planning to do. Olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, avocado or sesame oils are a great choice for salad dressings and low-temperature cooking, while olive oil or high oleic canola oil can be used for high-temperature cooking methods like frying. Make sure to store oils away from direct sunlight and don’t re-use oils that have already been heated.
4. Use spreads that contain ‘good’ fats
Up to 50 per cent of the fat content in butter is saturated fat and 4 per cent is trans fat. Swap them out for nut butters, avocado, tahini or margarine made from olive, canola, sunflower oils – your heart will thank you.
5. Limit unhealthy foods and takeaways
Foods like biscuits, cakes, pastries, pizza, deep-fried and takeaway add the most saturated and trans fat to Australian diets – they are called ‘discretionary foods’, which means you should eat them sparingly and in small portions.
6. Trim visible fat
Meat often comes with visible fat, but did you know that skin has a high fat content too? Remove fat and skin from meat, game and poultry to help limit your intake of saturated and trans fat.
7. Avoid processed meat
Swap processed meat like salami and bacon with healthy protein sources such as chickpeas, roasted or grilled meats, eggs, or canned tuna or salmon.
8. Eat more legumes
Try to include legumes (like beans, lentils and chickpeas) in at least two meals a week – you can even use them in place of meat and poultry. Limiting your meat consumption can reduce the amount of saturated and trans fat you consume, which makes legumes an easy (and low-budget!) choice.
9. Read food labels
Check the ingredient list on food products before you buy and avoid those that contain hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These trans fats are bad for your heart and have no place in a heart-healthy diet.
10. Cook healthy recipes
Recreate your favourite recipes by replacing unhealthy ingredients with heart-healthy alternatives like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils. Or, add some inspiration to your weekly meal plan from our new healthy recipes developed in partnership with the Heart Foundation nutrition team.