Billboards project mouthwatering images of decadent dishes; restaurants add in sweet temptations to set menus; television, radio and everywhere you seem to go, you’re never far from the refrain of ‘eat me, eat me’. If you are battling excess pounds or are lucky enough not to add on weight quickly but still worry about your health and cardiovascular disease, then following a diet that is healthy and balanced in today’s day and age is not always easy. What you can do though is to follow 10 tips to cut down on fat and promote a better diet in the process.
- Grill and bake, don’t fry – Fried foods can taste good but actually when you start to think about the amount of saturated fats you are consuming then you might find that these foods begin to seem less appetizing. Grill a salmon fillet or steak and bake sweet potatoes instead of eating fried fries.
- Trim meat and eat lean cuts – If you eat a lot of fatty meats then you might want to bring more fish into your diet or try a vegetarian plan instead, making sure you get your dietary protein in other ways. Casseroles with fatty meats and salamis are less healthy than lean cuts. You can also get rid of fat on meats before you cook or before you serve, such as skin on chicken.
- Be aware of saturated fats – Not all fats are bad for you and actually fats can help your body function so that you can digest foods more easily and this can help keep weight off. However, red meats and dairy products are both generally high in fats, as are many oils. Think about how you can cut down on these more harmful fats without cutting out all fat.
- Find healthy alternatives – If you have a sweet-tooth then you might be tempted by sweet and fat-laden foods such as ice-cream. This sugar and fat combo can really hook people into unhealthy habits and eating patterns. You may know the feeling – you always seem to be eating but never get full? Try sorbet or homemade fresh fruit ices instead.
- Read food labels – Convenience food might be quick and easy but it is often not healthy. Often some seemingly-healthy foods, or meals branded in this way, are actually packed with fat and salt. What’s convenient about having to tackle weight gain and stick to a diet that helps you shed the excess baggage?
- Skim fat off home-cooked soups and stews – If you cook a lot at home then this does give you more control. However, take advantage of making big amounts that can be stored in the fridge where the fat settles on the top. Take this off before reheating your meal.
- Monitor portion control – There’s nothing intrinsically bad about a lot of fatty foods but it really does come down to moderation. It is not always the foods we eat that are to blame for weight-gain but the sheer volume of our portion sizes. Change the size of your plate; eat slowly, and stop when you no longer feel hungry. Take a step back and assess if you are eating too much.
- Cut down on cheese, cakes and chocolate – Don’t make life difficult by trying to cut down on everything. Ring some of the main fat-rich culprits and make a concerted effort to cut these down, if not out, of your diet.
- Plan your meals and eat regularly – Everyone has skipped a meal only to suddenly feel starving later and end up eating more than they should have done. The problem with this lifestyle is your body goes into survival mode and starts to crave foods which are high in fat. You are making your ability to resist temptations doubly difficult if you don’t think ahead and play your mealtimes.
- Know your daily recommended amount – It is amazing how many people are not sure about what the general recommended daily amount of fat is. Of course, if your cholesterol levels are high you will need to get advice from a medical professional. In the main though, you should be aiming for saturated fats to be less than 7% of your total calorie intake each day. Just to give you an idea, if you are consuming say 2,000 calories a day then you are talking about 16 grams of saturated fats. The percentage for trans fats is less than 1% of total daily calorie intake.
As with any nutritional changes, it is not just about practical advice but about your approach, your mindset and your emotions. Not only that, but awareness, focus and re-education play a big part in bringing about lifestyle changes too. Make sure you have a sound exercise plan in place too!