The AHA and many other health organizations recommend that healthy adults reduce their total fat intake to less than 30 percent of calories a day (about 65 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet). Keep in mind this guideline applies to an entire day's worth of foods, not to a single food or recipe. For example, you might eat a low-fat breakfast and lunch and then splurge on a small piece of chocolate cake for dessert. Even though the cake may not be a low-fat food, that's okay as long as it fits into your total fat or calorie budget for the day. You don't have to go totally fat free, nor is it advised that you cut out all fats from your diet. To maintain a healthy diet, it is most important to look at what you eat over the long haul.
KIDS AND FAT
When it comes to a low-fat eating plan young children are the exception to the rule. Children younger than age two should not have the amounts of fat and cholesterol in their diets restricted. Both fat and cholesterol are needed for growth and development, including brain development. Because of the small size of their stomachs, babies and kids younger than two are limited in the amount of food they can eat, and fat helps ensure they satisfy their calorie needs.
As a child grows and develops between the ages of two and five, it's okay to gradually decrease the fat in their diet. Replace some of the calories from fat with lower fat, nutrient-dense foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and other protein-rich sources.
By the time a child reaches age five, his or her eating style should follow the same Dietary Guidelines as older children and adults, limiting fat to no more than 30 percent of total calories and saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of total calories.
Higher-fat foods can still be part of a child's healthy diet. They add flavor and variety to a balanced diet and fuel the growth of active kids. The key is moderation and to watch the total fat in food choices over a period of several days, weeks and months.
FAT TRIMMING TIPS
EAT FEWER HIGH-FAT FOODS. Eating less visible fat, such as salad dressings, margarine and sour cream, helps. Keep added fats and oils to 5 to 8 teaspoons per day. Try reduced-fat products for these foods.
Trim visible fat from meat, and remove the skin from chicken and turkey before eating. Cutting back on foods high in hidden fat, such as chips, high-fat cheeses and many bakery goods is important too.
EAT SMALLER PORTIONS. As portions grow, so to does their fat content. Skip the super-size meals and snacks, and choose normal-size servings.
COOK LEAN. Broil, bake, roast, grill, poach, steam, stew or even microwave foods whenever possible. You can stir-fry, too, if you use small amounts of unsaturated oils, such as canola or safflower oil. Use nonstick cookware and cooking spray to lessen the amounts of fat needed in cooking. Broths and vegetable juices are good sauté substitutes for oil, shortening and margarine.
CHOOSE MEATLESS MEALS AT LEAST TWICE EACH WEEK. Limiting the amount of meat, fish and poultry you eat can help reduce fat, particularly saturated fat, while increasing fiber and complex carbohydrates. Trade meats for dried beans and peas, grains, vegetables and fruits. Go easy on the margarine, mayonnaise and cream sauces.
SELECT CHICKEN, TURKEY OR FISH. Light-meat chicken and turkey are naturally low in fat, especially if you remove the skin. Most fish is also very lean. Even higher-fat fish, such as salmon, is as lean or leaner than poultry and lean beef. Some fish also have the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids.
USE LOW-FAT OR FAT-FREE DAIRY PRODUCTS. Many milk products contain a great deal of fat, especially if they are made with whole milk or cream. Choose from the many low-fat and fat-free dairy products available, such as low-fat yogurts, cheese, puddings, milk and ice cream.
From "Betty Crocker's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today." Text Copyright 2005 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This 05-Reducing Fat in the Diet recipe is from the Betty Crocker's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.
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