We need fat!

Healthy fat, that is!

We’ve believed that a diet extremely low in fat must be good for us – the lower the fat, the healthier the food and the lower in calories, so we’ll lose more weight, right?

Not so fast …

While we should limit the amount of some fats, like trans-fats that are unhealthy, other fats are actually good for us. You’re thinking, “I know – omega-3 fatty acids like in some fish.”

Well, yes, but there are others too!

Poly – and mono-unsaturated fats are also good. These, along with omega-3 fatty acids can keep you feeling fuller longer, and can even make your metabolism work harder in order to break them down in your system. Some healthy fats have even been known to improve cognitive function, lessen belly fat and improve heart health.

So, where can I find these?

Egg yolks contain healthy fats as well as vitamin A, some B vitamins, choline, vitamin D and antioxidants. The picture above is one I took of my breakfast not long ago – a whole hard-boiled egg, wilted spinach and quinoa. Delicious and filling!

Cocoa butter is sweet tasting, and is also high in antioxidants and omega-9 fatty acids. Added it coffee drinks (no more high-fat lattes!), smoothies and even homemade fiber/power bars.

Avocado is high in omega-9 fats as well as high in fiber. Avocado is great for healthy skin and digestion. Avocados can also be good for post-workout recovery, since they contain electrolytes.

Dark chocolate is high in the same fats as cocoa butter, as long as the dark chocolate is all natural. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants and is good for the heart. Yay!

Flax and chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. They are an easy additive to any smoothie or bowl of oatmeal.

Eat more fat! Just make sure it’s the right kind of fat!

Your dinner plate

Broccolini, sweet potato and chicken: A healthy plate is mostly plant-based foods.You try to eat healthy. You’ve even counted all the calories you consume in a day. You buy organic produce, eggs from cage-free chickens. You only eat beef from grass-fed cows. You’ve tried to cut out grains from your diet.

And still the weight stays on. You try running more, different exercise programs, and nothing seems to be working.

The solution may be a simple formula applied to your dinner plate. And it’s so simple you’ll think it can’t possibly work. But it does!

A healthy plate is based on plants. One-half to 3/4 of your plate should be filled with plant-based foods. Plants provide fiber, vitamins and minerals for nourishment. And the plants can be fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole-grain foods. Plant-based eating is in line with guidelines set out by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Look at my plate above. Most of the plate is broccolini and sweet potato. Not a lot is chicken – and that’s lean chicken, no skin! Healthy and tasty, to boot!

Plus plants have fewer calories than meat protein and simple carbohydrates.

Think of all the time you’ll save by not counting calories!

Of course, like everything else in life, I believe in moderation. So my healthy plate works for me most of the time. I do indulge in pizza and chocolate cake. Just not all the time!

I’ll eat healthy if it kills me!

Pasta with rubies (beets) is beautiful and healthy!
Pasta with rubies (beets) is beautiful and healthy!

I’ll tell you why it’s so hard to eat healthy!

We’re tempted at every commercial break by fast food and other fatty options. Our friends post pictures of delectable desserts and easy casseroles, filled with cream and butter. Driving down any street in America we’re bombarded by multiple fast food restaurants in every strip mall. And even at family restaurants, the portions are huge! It’s no wonder Americans are gaining weight.

What to do? Play with your dog during commercial breaks, or do a few crunches. “Like” your friends’ posts, and eat those fatty concoctions with your eyes only. Drive right past those fast food restaurants! And if you’re eating out with your family, split the entrée with someone else at your table, or take half home for dinner the next day. Before you even start eating, cut the portion in half and decide that you’re taking the left (or right) half home!

It’s not easy. I know it’s not. And no one can decide for you that you’re going to eat healthy. It’s been a lifelong battle for me. All you can do is your best – I decide one meal at a time that it’s going to be a good one, and I don’t eat between meals. My sister is amazed that I don’t snack – but I know, if I start, I won’t be able to stop. Will power can be learned. All you have to do is judge for yourself whether you want that bag of potato chips or if you want to fit into those jeans…