There’s a misconception in the health food industry that says that “fat” is bad. This misconception started a few years ago when studies about the dangers of trans fats prompted people to start cutting fat from their diets entirely. Today, this perception of fat as evil has held over. Foods marketed as “health foods” are simultaneously labeled “low fat” as though a low-fat diet is worth fighting for.
The truth is that certain fats are not only okay for your diet, but are a critical component to a healthy diet. Healthy fats like Omega-3s stimulate brain production and give you energy. That’s why pediatricians discourage parents from giving kids low-fat or skim milk, insteadpromoting full-fat, whole milk when children come off formula or breast milk. In fact, one of the concerns when raising a baby on a plant-based diet ishow to get them enough fat without resorting to cow’s milk.
In fact, fat is an essential nutrient, which means thatyou need to include it in your diet--especiallyif you’re trying to lose weight. Without fat, your body doesn’t have what it needs to function. This can lead to fatigue and early exhaustion, which can make it hard to get the exercise you need to lose weight. Worse than that, however, is that your body can go into starvation mode if you’re not giving it adequate nutrition. In starvation mode, your body will hold onto everything you put in your mouth, making it impossible to lose weight.
Of course, notallfats are good for you. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats, and it’s important to know the difference between the two.
Healthy fats include polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These fats:
Approximately 30% of the Calories you eat every day should come from healthy fats. This means that healthy fats should make an appearance at every meal.
However, you should avoid trans fats. These are the fats that are commonly found in fast foods and prepackaged foods. The studies that kicked off the low-fat phenomenon were directly in association with the negative ramifications of eating trans fats.
If you’re not getting fats from fast foods and ready-made meals, where should you be getting them from? The answer, of course, is that you should be getting healthy fats from whole foods. Some of the best sources of healthy fats include:
If you’re struggling to figure out how to make healthy fats part of your plant-based day, we can help. Below, we’ve included a sample meal plan. Every meal you see below incorporates an appropriate portion of healthy fats along with other key nutrients to keep you feeling satiated.