If you are trying to lose weight, lower your body fat percentage or just lead a healthy lifestyle, cutting down on foods high on unhealthy fat and eating healthy is very important. One thing to keep in mind is that fat is an important macronutrient in any meal plan, even if you are trying to lose weight. The important thing, though, is that you choose the right type of fatty foods, ones that are healthy and quality.
If you are cooking at home, these following tips will help you to reduce the fat you intake while you are cooking without compromising on the quality and the taste of the food you are cooking.
Cook at home
The first tip is simple: prepare your food on your own to make sure that the food is prepared in the healthiest way possible. Although it might not always be possible for you to cook yourself due to various reasons, try to cut down on takeaway food and eating in fast-food restaurants. If you are working, prepare your lunch at home the day before, so that you can take the meal with you and make sure, that the meal is healthy.
Choose the right foods
It is important to choose the right type of foods with the healthy fats. Buy high quality meat sources, lean meats like chicken, pork, beef, eat lots of fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids (salmon is a good choice); also make sure that you cut off the fat from the meat as you prepare your food. Make sure that you don’t eat too much cheese, or at least choose the low-fat cheeses; also make sure that you buy the low-fat milk if you drink it a lot. Condiments also tend to contain some unhealthy fats, such as mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.
If you are vegetarian or a vegan, you can intake quality fats from other food sources. Nuts, quinoa, avocado, sweet potatoes, rice, tofu, dried fruits are good sources of quality fats for vegans and vegetarians. Ideally, you want to use a combination of whole foods instead of using processed foods.
Change the way you prepare food
This is arguably the most important thing you need to change in order to reduce the unhealthy fat from your meals. First of all, try to avoid any deep-fried food. Deep-frying food makes the food you prepare lose water and absorb fat from the oil. This does not only increase the calories you take in, but those are also bad calories. Deep-frying your food provides a bad source of fats – trans fats, which are very difficult for your body to break down, hence they can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and increase the likelihood of cancer.
To avoid this, try to prepare your foods by using the oven – by roasting. You can prepare the food to be just as tasty as if it would be deep-fried, maybe even tastier by putting marinade on it before you put it in the oven. Put the baking paper on the tray, then put just a little amount of oil to prevent it from sticking. You can still prepare French fries in the oven, and they would still taste the same and be healthier than if they were deep-fried.
Another alternative to deep-frying is cooking, boiling or steaming the food. Meat and vegetables can still be tasty when they are cooked. This is even healthier than roasting. If you really want to fry if you are in a hurry, try shallow-frying with much less oil used compared to deep-frying.
Use healthier ingredients
To accompany healthier cooking methods, you should consider using healthier ingredients when cooking your food. This is very important, as some ingredients you cook with contain unhealthy trans fats, and you want to avoid those as much as possible.
When it comes to milk, yoghurts and creams, you should consider using low-fat versions of those ingredients. Use low-fat milk, fat-free sour cream; instead of sour cream you could use a mixture of cottage cheese and low-fat milk. Use low or at least reduced fat yoghurts, and avoid fruit yoghurts as much as possible, even if they sound healthy. They actually contain some unhealthy fats; instead, opt for greek yoghurt or low-fat yoghurts and mix it with some honey, fresh fruits and jam. Also some alternative versions of milk can be used, such as oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk and almond milk, which are all lower in fat than regular milk.
If you are using butter, margarine and oil a lot, you should consider changing some of the ingredients. If you are using butter for cooking, use unsaturated margarine instead, which is healthier than butter and also healthier than some other alternatives for cooking, such as lard and cooking fat. You want to avoid those as well. Using a lot of oil, as established before, is not healthy as it contains plenty of trans-fats. Try to use as little oil as possible for cooking – measure it with tablespoons instead of just pouring it into the pan. Also make sure that you use a variety of oils, such as olive, sunflower, peanut, sesame and canola oil.
Eat healthier snacks
Lastly, try not to indulge too much on unhealthy snacks, such as chocolate, ice cream, various snack bars (at least unhealthy ones such as Snickers, Twix, etc.) and fruit yoghurts. Instead you can eat plenty of fruit and a combination of greek yoghurt and fresh fruit, for example. If you really want to eat chocolate, buy dark chocolate and eat that instead of the regular one.
If you desire salty snacks, cut down on chips, salty sticks and various other snacks like these. Some healthier alternatives are nuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds. All of these are very good for health as they are actually high in fat, but the healthy one. They are also a good source of fibre and protein.
To conclude, if you want to cut down on unhealthy fats you should cook at home, use healthier cooking methods, use better ingredients and eat healthier snacks.