What’s the scoop on fats?
When you hear the word fat, you may not think twice: eat less of them or none of them at all. Maybe you’ve heard the term “healthy fat” or the ever so common phrase, “good in moderation.” So, what’s the scoop on fats? Well, it’s true, there are such things as healthy fats and like most things, they are good in moderation.
Everybody needs fat to some degree whether you are young, old or somewhere in between. Every single one of the trillions of cells in our bodies is composed partially of fat. Cholesterol and triglycerides, which are the most common fat in food, are what keep our cells as nice little bubbles with all of their contents locked inside. Additionally, fats are the way many vitamins get absorbed into the body. Vitamins A, D, E, and K which are called fat-soluble vitamins can’t do their jobs without fat! Another important job of fat is to make hormones. Hormones are the wonderful chemical messenger that circulate throughout our bodies and control your body’s every process! With so many necessary jobs, it is important not to look past consuming fat.
With all of these great benefits, there are some things to keep in mind about fat. The first thing is that not all fats are created equal. In general, fats that are liquid at room temperature are better. These are also known as oil and are composed mostly of unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are what we like best! Although these fats have the same number of calories as other fats, we consider them healthy fats. Another thing to remember is moderation. It is recommended that in general, fats only constitute 20-35% of total calories for adults and slightly more for children. Combine these two rules together to remember that we must have moderate amounts of the right kinds of fats!
These rules may be confusing, so what kinds of foods should you look out for? Two super important types of healthy fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These two types are called essential fatty acids because they can’t be produced in our bodies so it is essential that we get them through food! Some great food sources of omega-3 fats are salmon, avocado and flaxseed. Safflower oil and corn oil are some of the best sources of omega-6 fats! There are also some foods to avoid in excess. Cakes, pies, cookies, biscuits, frozen meals and many other pre-packaged foods often contain tons of trans fats which is best to minimize! Steer away from these store-bought foods and try making them at home so you can control the types of fat in your food! We serve fish every week at the Kidco Kitchen and twice-monthly the kiddies enjoy eating salmon which is loaded with omega-3 fats. The Sassy Salmon Pasta and Tasty Teriyaki Salmon get a big thumbs up from your growing children. Check out our family-sized recipes on our website and create these delicious meals at home for your family.
Remember, fat isn’t the enemy! With so many important jobs and lots of delicious food sources of healthy fats, eat up!
From our kitchen to yours … Enjoy!
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Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador