Monthly Archives: October 2012

Eat some Fat!! (yes-you heard that right)


As part of one of my projects in nutrition school, we had to work with a client to get a diary of what they ate during the day for five consecutive days and then analyze it.  I thought it would be interesting not only to do this on a client, but to also do it myself.  And the results were illuminating.

I was afraid of fat!  I had gotten so hum-drum in my eating habits that I had practically avoided one of the most important components of healthy eating.  Why was I afraid?  Well – fat, unlike carbohydrates and protein, has 9 calories per gram rather than 4.  Foods high in fat are also foods high in calories.  And in my daily veggie-dense diet, I hadn’t made any room for it!  I had been too dilligently asking for my dressing on the side, my toast dry, and cooking foods in cooking spray.  While all these habits are good ones, it’s all about balance.  So I decided to try a little experiment on myself.  One week.  One healthy fat at every meal.  And here’s what I learned.

1.  A little fat goes a LOOOONG way!  Oh my goodness,  I had forgotten how delicious scrambled eggs WITH yolks were.  Holy wow.  I even tried 2% greek yogurt in the morning (gasp!) – and it was so filling I could only eat half.  Not only were my foods so much more flavorful, but I was full for a lot longer.  The science behind all this is that fat slows digestion, allowing food to stay in your stomach longer, which keeps you satiated.  More flavor and more fullness?  It’s practically a win-win situation.

2.  But you still need to watch your portions.  While I don’t recommend measuring all your food, fat is something that you should be aware of (or measure if that makes it easier to be aware) when cooking.  My biggest issue with fats have always been nuts and nut butters.  I just can’t stop at one (or one spoonful – peanut butter is my kryptonite!).  So instead of facing a jarful of nuts, I preportioned them into cute little baggies to pop into my purse (10-20 nuts, depending on size, is a portion).  My favorite snack of the week?  A bosc pear and marcona almonds – now that was heavenly!  Here are some helpful portions for good healthy fats:

-10-20 nuts (walnuts are 10, pistachios are 20)

-1 TBSP olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil (experimenting with these adds tons of flavor to food)

-4-6 oz salmon or other fatty fish

-1 TBSP ground flax seed (I throw this into yogurt in the morning)

-1/4 of an avocado

3.  Shiny hair, strong fingernails, and less bloat.  No I didn’t get a haircut.  But people kept asking!  Maybe it was all in my head (literally), but my hair was shiny, my nails didn’t break once, and I just felt really good.  This was probably because when you include healthy fats in your diet along with vegetables, your body is able to truly absorb all the amazing nutrients that vegetables offer.  Oh and the bloating thing?  Well, fat helps lubricate your digestive system.  So it helps keep things moving regularly if you get what I mean.  And that’s reason enough for me!

4.  No more 10 pm snacking.  The investment of fat in my diet paid off bigtime.  Because my meals were able to keep me more full and satiated, and I was more satisfied by the flavors of my food.  I felt like I was eating more food, without actually eating more food.  Oh and by the end of the week, my jeans were definitely feeling looser, too.

Bottom line – olive oil = skinny jeans.  Fat is the new black.