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Foods like cheese, butter, sausage, and desserts may taste good to you, but they can have a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating too much of these unhealthy fats could lead to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Start with small changes first. Use heart-healthy olive or canola oil instead of butter for cooking. Drink fat-free or low-fat milk instead of 2% milk or whole milk. Pick leaner cuts of meat.
Use this topic as a guide for making healthy choices.
Use the following chart as a guide.
|Food group||Limit foods that are high in unhealthy fats||Make healthier choices|
|Meat, poultry, and fish|| |
Regular ground beef, fatty or highly marbled cuts, spare ribs, organ meat, poultry with skin, fried chicken, fried fish, fried shellfish, lunch meat, bologna, salami, sausage, hot dogs
Extra-lean ground beef (97% lean), ground turkey breast (without skin added), meats with fat trimmed off before cooking, skinless chicken, low-fat or fat-free lunch meats, baked fish
|Dairy products and eggs|| |
Whole milk and 2% milk; whole-milk yogurt, most cheeses, and cream cheese; whole-milk cottage cheese, sour cream, and ice cream; cream; half-and-half; whipping cream; nondairy creamer; whipped topping
Low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and cheeses, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, egg substitutes, egg whites
|Fats and oils|| |
Coconut oil, palm oil, butter, lard, shortening, bacon and bacon fat, stick margarine, peanut butter that has been hydrogenated (the no-stir kind)
Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, soft margarines with no trans fats and no more than one-third of the total fat from saturated fat, natural peanut butter that has not been hydrogenated
|Breads and cereals|| |
Breads in which eggs, fat, or butter is a major ingredient; most granolas (unless fat-free or low-fat); high-fat crackers; store-bought pastries and muffins
Regular breads, cereals, rice, corn tortillas, pasta, and low-fat crackers. Choose whole grains as much as possible.
|Fruits and vegetables|| |
Fried vegetables; coconut; vegetables cooked with butter, cheese, or cream sauce
All fruits and vegetables that do not have added fat
|Sweets and desserts|| |
Ice cream; store-bought pies, cakes, doughnuts, and cookies made with coconut oil, palm oil, or hydrogenated oil; chocolate candy
Fruit; frozen yogurt; low-fat or nonfat versions of treats such as ice cream; cakes and cookies made with unsaturated fats and/or those made with cocoa powder
Try some of these ideas:
If you eat out often, it may be hard to avoid unhealthy fats. Try these tips:
Sometimes a fat-free food isn't the best choice. Fat-free cookies, candies, chips, and frozen treats can still be high in sugar and calories. Some fat-free foods have more calories than regular ones. Eat fat-free foods in moderation, as you would other foods.
Last Revised: November 9, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
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