Fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet. It is found in some foods like nuts, oils, butter, and meats like beef. Fat is not a bad food. Instead of avoiding fat, you should try to include a little bit of fat at each meal. Dietary fat provides the most calories compared to protein foods and carbohydrate foods. You, as a kid, especially need a certain amount of fat in your diet so that your brain and nervous system develop correctly. Fat also helps protect your organs and helps your body absorb essential vitamins!
Are all fats created equal?
No. There are two main types of fat, saturated and unsaturated.
Limit saturated fat.
This type of fat is found mostly in animal products:
red meat (hamburger, hot dog, bacon, sausage, bologna)
chicken fingers or other fried chicken
baked goods (cookies, pastries, cake)
high-fat dairy products (full-fat cheese, ice cream, whole milk, 2% milk, sour cream)
chocolate or candy bars
gravy made with meat drippings
Foods from the saturated fat group are NOT your best choice, but they are okay to eat every now and then.
Eat more unsaturated fat.
This type of fat is found mostly in plant products and fish:
olive oil and olives
peanut butter and peanut oil
nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, peanuts)
pumpkin or sunflower seeds
baked fish (tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel)
soft tub margarine
homemade salad dressing (olive oil and vinegar)
tofu and other soybean products
Unsaturated fat is considered a healthy fat and you should eat it more often than saturated fat.
Source: Kids health for kids: Learning about Fat, www.kidshealth.org/kid/nutrition/food/fat.html
Reviewed by Kathy Hosig, Ph.D., associate professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
October 19, 2010