Many people eat a diet with too much fat, which can lead to obesity. That can increase the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some types of cancer. High fat intake can also lead to high cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Here are some ways to cut back and develop healthier eating habits.
Read Nutritional Labels
When you go grocery shopping, read the nutritional labels on packages. You might be surprised by the amounts of fat in many foods, even ones labeled low-fat or fat-free. In addition, many low-fat or fat-free foods contain large amounts of sugar, which can lead to weight gain.
Avoid buying products with high levels of saturated and trans fats and hydrogenated oil. Chips, baked goods, fried foods and processed snacks tend to have high levels of fat.
Choose Lean and Low-Fat Foods
Buy lean meat, such as chicken and turkey, and remove the skin before cooking. If you want to have pork or beef, look for lean cuts or trim the fat before cooking. Fish is another good source of low-fat protein. Grill, broil or bake meat and fish instead of frying it. Place meat on a rack so fat can drip from it as it cooks. Beans, lentils and tofu are good sources of protein that have less fat than meat. Incorporate them into your diet in place of meat for some meals.
Replace whole milk with a reduced-fat or fat-free version. Buy low-fat cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressing. Avoid sauces made with cream or cheese, or use low-fat ingredients. Flavor foods with herbs and spices instead of butter and cheese. Use olive, canola, sunflower or safflower oil instead of butter or shortening.
Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains at mealtimes and for snacks. Look for creative ways to incorporate them into your favorite dishes.
Make Healthy Choices When Dining Out
Restaurant meals often contain high levels of fat, as well as salt and sugar. When you eat at a restaurant, look for nutritional information on the menu. If it is not available, choose dishes that are baked, broiled or roasted and avoid foods that are fried or that have heavy sauces or gravies. If a dish is ordinarily cooked with butter, ask if it can be made without it. Order your salad with low-fat dressing on the side. Look for low-fat desserts or skip dessert altogether.
Work on Developing Healthier Eating Habits
Many people eat unhealthy amounts of fat and suffer a range of negative health effects as a result. Cutting back on fat does not mean that you have to go without foods you enjoy. You can look for healthier alternatives or find new recipes to try. If you have questions about your health or need advice on dietary changes, consult your doctor.