Low-Fat Eating

When your doctor and/or dietitian prescribe you to follow a low-fat diet, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  • First, you need to think about how a food you plan to eat has been cooked. If what you are about to eat has been fried, you probably should not eat that! You will want to eat foods that have been grilled, roasted, baked or steamed. This goes for meats, vegetables, and grains. When you (or your family) are cooking, try to keep from using oil, butter, Crisco, or anything that the food label (there is a food label on the back of almost everything you would buy in a store) says has 3 grams of fat or more per serving.
  • Second, try to keep in mind that fresh fruit and vegetables are almost always going to be fat free, so choose those foods over French fries or other high-fat foods.

Here is a list of different foods, by each food group, that are low in fat:

Meats and Protein:
  • Meats can automatically be made leaner by trimming any visible fat off.
  • 90-95% extra lean ground beef
  • Lean ground Turkey
  • Skinless chicken
  • White fish (whiting, flounder)
  • Steak fish (tuna, halibut)
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Sirloin, flank or filet steak (beef)
  • Most all beans including pinto, navy, butter, and kidney beans are low in fat.
Vegetables:
  • Corn
  • Baked potato
  • Carrots
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peas
  • Peppers (all kinds)
Fruits:
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Tangerines
  • Lemons
  • Lime
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
Dairy Foods:
  • Skim milk
  • Fat-free or 2% cheese
  • Part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Part skim string cheese
  • Fat-free powdered milk
Breads and Grains:
  • Whole whet or white bread
  • Pasta
  • Couscous
  • Oatmeal
  • Low-fat cereal like Cheerios or Cornflakes
  • Bagels (without added fat)
  • Reduced fat or fat-free muffins

Tips for Choosing a Restaurant on the Go

  • Foods should be freshly prepared all day long. Items prepared ahead and stored under a heat lamp lose nutrients as well as quality.
  • Look for menu entrees that are grilled – it generally means that the food was prepared with little or no added fat.
  • Be sure to choose a restaurant that offers you a wide range of choices: low-fat dressings, nutritious side dishes, and items that are baked or grilled.
  • Ask for nutrition information at your quick-service restaurant.
  • Make sure your favorite restaurant offers children’s portions. Children’s menus provide smaller portion sizes and have been designed to provide ample nourishment for smaller bodies.
  • Select colorful fruits and vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and mandarin oranges. The pigments that give these foods their color also have important health benefits.

Eating the low-fat way is really not hard and does not have to be limiting. It just takes some planning and good food choices!!