Fat is an essential nutrient. Eating fat helps you feel satiated after a meal, protects cell membranes, supports hormone regulation, healthy skin and hair, and assists in the absorption of important fat-soluble nutrients, which include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Fat often gets a bad reputation, and there are some high-fat foods we don’t recommend, like fried fast food and highly processed products. But there are also healthful fats that offer numerous benefits, like avocados, olives, and nuts.
Just keep in mind that fat is high in calories. Fat supplies 9 calories per gram compared to the 4 calories per gram provided by carbohydrates and proteins. Because fat packs more calories per bite, it’s referred to as calorie-dense and should be consumed in smaller portions.
Tip: to feel fuller when limiting fat portions, pair small amounts of high-fat foods with larger servings of low-calorie fruits and veggies.
- Enjoy a few tablespoons of nut butter with one sliced medium apple.
- Scoop up 1/3 of an avocado with a medium-sized sliced cucumber.
- Partner 1/4 cup of Mediterranean olives with a cup of grape or cherry tomatoes.
- Enjoy an ounce of dark chocolate with a cup of fresh strawberries.
This chart will help you navigate what a serving of fat looks like and put calorie density into perspective.
|Nut butter||2 tbsp||Whole walnut in shell||About 200|
| Whole nuts or seeds,|
out of shell
|1 ounce or ¼ cup||Golf ball||150-200 calories|
|Extra virgin olive oil||1 tbsp||Thumbnail||120 calories|
|Olives||¼ cup||Golf ball||About 90 calories|
|Avocado||⅓ of an avocado||1 egg||About 80 calories|
|Dark chocolate||1 ounce|| Dental floss or|
|About 155 calories|