For Less Total

• Know where fat comes fTom.You can't cut back unless you know the sources of fat. See "Primer: Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol in Food" earlier in this chapter.

Check the Nutrition Facts on food labels for how much fat, including saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol a single label serving contains. To learn how to best use the Nutrition Facts panel, see "GetAll the Facts!" in chapter 11.

  • Look for nutrient content claims on the label, perhaps "low-fat" or "lean." As you shop, use these clues to help guide your food purchases. To learn what these claims mean, see "Label Lingo: Fats and Cholesterol" later in this chapter.
  • Choose lean meat (beef, veal, and/or pork) and skinless poultry. Loin and round cuts of meat have less fat. Trim visible fat from meat and poultry, too. Lean meat isn't fat-free; it just has less fat.

Lean meat contains cholesterol in both the fat and in lean muscle tissue. Trimming the fat and buying lean cuts reduce the cholesterol in meat but won't make it cholesterol-free.

  • Make your meals "fishy." Enjoy seafood several times a week, prepared a low-fat way. Go for fish, preferably fattier fish such as salmon, twice a week, to get the potential omega-3 benefits.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Besides being low in fat they fill you up and help curb your appetite for higher-fat foods. Soluble fiber in some fruits, vegetables, and grain products also has a cholesterol-lowering effect. To think about the variety of tasty fruits and vegetables in today's supermarkets, see

"Garden of Eatin': Less Common Vegetables" and "Fresh Ideas: Uncommon Fruit" in chapter 9.

  • Go for grains, including whole grains! Choose lower-fat grain products—pasta, rice, breakfast cereal, bagels, tortillas, pita, and other lower-fat breads. Go easy on doughnuts, sweet rolls, higher-fat muffins, cakes, and cookies. Consume more of your food energy from carbohydrate-rich foods and less from fat!
  • Choose mostly low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

The bone-building nutrients in low-fat and whole-milk products are about the same.

  • Moderate fats overall. That includes vegetable oils, butter, margarine, lard, cream cheese, and bacon used in cooking, as well as high-fat salad dressings, sauces, and many candies. Add flavor with herbs and seasonings rather than high-fat sauces.
  • Consider today's fat-modified foods on supermarket shelves: for example, fat-free salad dressing, low-fat snacks, trans-free spreads, and eggs with omega-3s. Remember: Many lower-fat processed foods have the same or more total calories than their traditional counterparts. Read the Nutrition Facts on the food label to compare.
  • Watch your "snack fats." Smart snacks fill in missing nutrient gaps, help control hunger, and can provide an energy boost between meals. But some popular snack foods are higher in fat, perhaps saturated fat and trans fat, than you may realize.
  • Defat your cooking style without losing flavor. For example, broil, bake, boil, steam, stir-fry, or microwave foods, rather than fry.
  • Add flavor with herbs and spices instead ofhigh-fat flavorings or sauces. Rub mixtures of seasonings on tender cuts of meat before cooking for wonderful blends of flavors. Use low-fat or fat-free marinades to tenderize and add flavor to lean cuts of meat.
  • When you can, substitute foods and ingredients high in unsaturated fatty acids for those high in saturated fatty acids. The chart "Easy Substitutions to Cut Fat and/or Cholesterol" in chapter 13 offers a list of easy ways.
  • Watch your portion sizes. The amount of fat and cholesterol in your food choices depends on both what you eat and how much. Extra-large portions of higher-fat foods provide extra-large amounts of fat.
  • Make beans the "main event" at meals occasionally. Meals with cooked dry beans as the main protein source have several cholesterol-lowering qualities. Usually bean dishes are lower in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol—yet higher in starches (complex carbohydrates) and fiber—than dishes made with meat or cheese.
  • Order "lean" when you order out. In a fast-food or

Check Out the Difference: Snacks with More and with Less Fat!

Total

Snacks Fat (grams) Calories

Total

Snacks Fat (grams) Calories

Apple (1 medium)

0

70

Spiced applesauce (V2 cup)

0

100

Apple pie (V8 of 9-in.)

20

410

Banana (1)

0

105

Milk chocolate bar (1V2 oz.)

13

235

Broccoli, raw (V2 cup)

0

15

Chocolate chip cookie 2V4-in. (1)

4

80

Carrot (1 medium)

0

25

Carrot cake (V12 of 9-in.)

11

240

Orange (1 medium)

0

60

Corn chips (1 oz.)

8

150

Strawberries (V2 cup)

0

25

French fries (10)

5

200

Salsa (V4 cup)

0

20

Sour cream dip (V4 cup)

12

125

Saltines (10 crackers, or 1 oz.)

4

130

Potato chips (1 oz.)

11

155

Frozen yogurt (V2 cup)

3

110

Ice cream, regular (V2 cup)

8

145

Angel food cake (V12 of cake)

0

130

Pound cake (V16 of loaf cake)

13

230

Gingersnaps (4) (1 oz.)

3

120

Butter cookies 2-in. (6) (1 oz.)

6

135

Bagel 3V2-in. (1)

With 2 tbsp. jam

1

295

With 2 tbsp. part skim ricotta

cheese

4

225

With 2 tbsp. cream cheese

11

285

Doughnut (1 glazed/sugared) 10 190

Doughnut (1 glazed/sugared) 10 190

table-service restaurant, look for menu clues that suggest less fat, such as "grilled" or "broiled." Ask questions about how food is prepared. And go easy on foods that are fried, breaded, or prepared with rich sauces or gravy.

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