Back in the 80s and 90s, low fat was the recommendation of choice for dieters. Fast forward a few years, and many dietary approaches recommend eating vast quantities of fat every day. So which is better?
First low fat products flooded the market… low fat ice cream, skim milk, crackers. We stopped eating cream, bacon, nuts and avocado. Then popular diets like ‘keto’ and ‘Atkins’ came into play, and are most likely the driving force behind the change to higher fat diets, as these programs promote drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.
I’d argue that neither approach has the answers to good long-term health. What is right for you most likely sits somewhere in between. It is the quality and food source of the fat that makes the biggest difference, not the quantity per se. You don’t need to eat copious amounts of fat, nor do you need to completely cut it out.
Here are 5 healthy, high fat foods that you can happily include in your diet every day.
Nuts and seeds
Rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, nuts and seeds are not just a healthy fat source, they are bursting with nutrition. Include nuts in salads, curries and stir fries, while seeds give fantastic crunch to salads and muesli, and can be ground up and sprinkled over breakfast cereal or added to your next smoothie.
- Try a chia seed pudding for breakfast or dessert
- Toss cashews in a stir fry
- Add flaked almonds to yoghurt
- Toss peanuts or sunflower seeds through salad
- Sprinkle LSA (linseed, soy and almond meal) or walnuts over porridge
- Sprinkle hazelnuts over fruit salad
Olives and olive oil
These Mediterranean beauties and their respective extra-virgin oils are a great addition to your diet. High in unsaturated fats and antioxidants, the whole olive fruit also adds flavour and texture to meals, with the extra-virgin oils adding concentrated fats as well as antioxidants.
- Create a salad dressing with a vinegar of your choice and pour over leafy greens
- Sauté garlic in extra-virgin olive oil, add any vegetable you like and sauté until just cooked, then season with salt and pepper – green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum and eggplant are great cooked this way
- Add olives to pizza, salad, pasta dishes and nibble plates
Rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fibre and lots of other nutrients, avocados are a must eat.
- Combine with boiled eggs and a small amount of feta cheese, mash all together and spread on rye toast
- Dice and add to salad or toss it through a pasta dish
- Mash with a dash of lemon juice, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and serve with vegetable sticks to dip
Rich in omega 3 fats (a type of fat that is essential for us to eat), salmon is also a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and magnesium.
- Wrap in baking paper and foil along with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, fresh garlic and a sprinkle of salt, and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes
- Pan-fry the salmon, skin side first, for 3–4 minutes each side, and serve with stir fried vegetables or a fresh garden salad
- Place avocado, smoked salmon and freshly chopped tomato onto wholegrain crackers
Like salmon, mackerel is a high fat fish rich in omega 3s. It’s also rich in vitamin D and vitamin B12. Fresh, it should be eaten on the day of capture as it spoils quickly, so for many of us, this means that canned mackerel is the way to go.
- Toss tinned mackerel through a pasta salad with fresh vegetables and mayonnaise
- Serve on grainy toast with sliced tomato and cheese
- Replace tinned tuna in any recipe with tinned mackerel
Header image: Brenda Godinez/Unsplash