Are you hungry all the time, yet bored with your food choices? Have you lost a few pounds recently, but now the scale won’t budge? The problem could be fat. No, not your fat, fatty foods that you’ve wisely cut out of your diet. It could be the opposite: you may need to be eating more of them. This doesn’t give you license to go and eat In-N-Out all the time like a pregnant Kylie Jenner; the key is choosing healthy options and using smart portioning.
Coming off about two decades of being brainwashed that “fat-free” and “low-fat” were the only way to eat for optimal health and weight loss, this may seem a bit confusing. But adding fat might actually help your weight-loss efforts by reducing hunger and cravings and increasing satiety. Here are five full-fat foods you should be eating on a diet, and the tricks to make sure you don’t overdo it.
1. Milk fat in milk and yogurt
New research suggests that people who consume higher levels of milk fat may have a lower rate of heart disease. This has brought skim milk into question, and caused whole milk and cream sales to increase for the first time in years. Yogurt has had a similar fate too, but before you starting putting full fat and cream in everything, make sure your portions are right. Choose pre-portioned two-percent yogurt, which only has about 40 more calories than an equivalent zero-fat yogurt serving. If that little bit of fat can halt your hunger cravings between meals, then they’re calories well spent. Heck, you could even treat yourself to a chocolate-flavored version.
Yes, you’re reading this correctly: this actually is possible. Sometimes, a little bit of the real things makes you much more content than eating a lower-fat, lesser tasting product like turkey bacon. Eating a little bit of real bacon is a treat to most, and makes a diet feel like anything but deprivation. The key is choosing a leaner, high-flavor cut (such as center-cut bacon) and staying on top of portion size. Two cooked slices of center-cut bacon have 60 calories, two grams saturated fat, and 260 milligrams sodium. Stick to that as a portion size, and everything should be okay.
Butter is arguably one of life’s most guilty pleasures, and sometimes a healthier substitute just won’t do. While the calories and total fat are the same per tablespoon as olive oil, butter has a much higher concentration of saturated fat. Measurement is the key with butter. Use it sparingly but smartly in dishes where no other fat will do, and in dishes where you’ll really taste and appreciate its flavor. Also, consider splurging on premium, European-style kinds of butter such as Kerrygold and Plugrá. These butters have a higher butterfat percentage, so less is needed to get that decadent flavor.
4. Salad dressing
Tossing your salad in a little healthy fat makes you feel fuller for longer, especially if you’re just filling up on a salad for lunch. Believe it or not, the fat is actually needed to absorb some of the nutrients in the vegetables. So skip the fat-free and light versions, which have sugar in them to make up for the taste, and choose ones made with heart-healthy oils or make them at home. They are super quick and simple to make. Pull out your measuring spoons and use them; it’s so easy to pour that measuring is the only way to ensure you don’t go overboard. If the amount you’ve made feels a little meagre for the size of your salad, whisk your dressing with a little lemon or orange juice, water, or vinegar.
You’ve definitely already heard that chocolate can be good for you, but I’m here to tell you how to portion it well enough that you lose weight from eating it too. The best way to do this is purchasing individually wrapped squares. It’s just as easy to unwrap four mini squares as it is to put away three-quarters of a regular sized bar, but the psychological process of opening only one or two helps you not overdo it. Chose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or more and that lists cocoa butter as its main source of fat.
Now, once-forbidden foods like bacon and chocolate are now an option again. What a time to be alive. Make sure you’re getting enough of the other food groups in, exercise a little more, and in no time you’ll have a killer body and feel healthier than ever. All from eating fats, who knew?