A healthy and balanced diet needs to include good fats to nourish your brain, heart, and cells. But just how much is heart-healthy?
In an average 2,000-calorie diet, the USDA recommends consuming 22-55 grams (or 10-25% of your daily calories) of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats daily to ensure that you’re maintaining heart-healthy habits.
Daily Needs Planner
Looking to Make Smart Choices About Good Fats?
A healthy and balanced diet needs to include good fats to nourish your brain, heart, and cells. But how much is too much (or too little)?
To help maintain a heart-healthy diet, the USDA recommends devoting 10-25% of your daily caloric intake to “good fats.” Good fats can be defined as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are also referred to as Omega-3, -6, and -9.
The Good Fats Daily Needs Planner will help you choose which foods and how much to eat to help you meet that goal.
What should be on your good fats shopping list? Options can be found throughout the grocery store. It is easy to make smart, heart-healthy choices by knowing what key foods contain good fats, and by reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Use this guide to navigate the aisles and choose the best options to fill your cart with good fats.
This fruit is rich in monounsaturated (omega-9) fats and also contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. Picking the perfect avocado can be a bit tricky, since color doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness. Use these tips to select a good fruit:
Instead of relying solely on color, select avocados that are firm, but yield to gentle pressure.
If you purchase an unripe avocado, speed up the ripening process by placing it in a paper bag at room temperature. Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator.
These heart-healthy gems are loaded with nutrition, including monounsaturated fat and antioxidants. Need ideas to incorporate more olives into your diet? Our tips are sure to provide you with a little culinary inspiration.
Take a walk down the grocery aisle and it is easy to see the cooking oil options are endless! So which ones are best? Choose oils high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, containing less saturated fat and no trans-fat. Beyond your cooking oil, these healthy oils are an ingredient in many other products in your refrigerator and pantry, such as sauces, dressings and spreads.
Pick: Canola, soybean, olive, sunflower, safflower, peanut, corn oil
Skip: Tropical oils, such as palm, palm kernel, which are high in saturated
Nuts and Seeds
Whether you choose almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or peanut butter, they all contain good fats!
These nutrition powerhouses supply a healthy combination of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, along with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here are some delicious options to try:
Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
Seeds: Chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, wheat germ
Nut Butters: Almond, peanut, walnut, sunflower
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been tied to several health benefits. How do you know which fish contain these beneficial fats? Choose darker fleshed fish over light, white colored fish, such as cod and pollock. Good options include herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna. You can buy fresh fish at the meat counter or opt for frozen filets in the freezer section.
For canned or packaged foods, it is important to read the labels to determine what kind of fats those products contain. Use these tips to make good choices:
Snacking is becoming increasingly common, while the three daily meals routine is on the decline. As snacks take up a larger percentage of Americans’ dietary intake, it’s important for people to choose snack foods that contain beneficial nutrients, including heart-healthy fats. There are plenty of ways to locate good fats – and avoid bad fats –in the snack food aisle. Use these tips to find good fats on the labels of prepackaged foods.
A 2019 Food and Health Survey done by the
International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) found that consumers
are beginning to understand the good fats message. Results revealed that consumers
are seeking more foods that contain good fats and are free of bad fats. While
this is good news, it’s important to eat all fats in moderation. All fats, even
the good fats, have 9 calories per gram. If you eat more calories than you burn
off each day, you’ll gain weight.
At a time when more and more consumers are reading labels and seeking out healthful choices, more and more food companies and foodservice operations are taking a closer look at what dietary fats and oils they allow in their kitchens. However, the health claims of each of these oils vary dramatically. Here is a closer look at some of today’s most popular oils.
Canola Oil/Omega-9 Canola Oil
Canola oil comes from the crushed seeds of the canola plant, which is primarily grown in North America. The plant contains pods with seeds, which are crushed to extract the oil. The oil is refined and bottled as canola oil. Canola oil is:
Omega-9 Canola Oil (high oleic) was developed by Corteva Agriscience for food manufacturers and foodservice professionals looking for a very stable solution with a healthful nutrition profile. It has removed more than 1.5 billion pounds of trans and saturated fat from the North American food supply since 2005.
Soybean Oil/Plenish® High Oleic Soybean Oil
Plenish® High Oleic Soybean Oil was developed to meet the trans-fat challenge. Plenish® derives exceptional stability from an enhanced oil profile, providing a new opportunity for food service operators to extend use of their frying oil without sacrificing taste or performance.
Plenish® oil has an oleic content (Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid) of more than 75%, the highest of any soybean under commercial development
Although palm oil is functional, it is also high in saturated fat, which has long been linked to heart disease by raising bad cholesterol (LDL). Palm oil is:
Palm oil is derived from palm trees, which are primarily grown in Southeast Asia. Beyond its health concerns, many environmentalists are worried about the negative impact unsustainable palm oil production is having on rates of deforestation, wildlife depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.
Coconut oil has emerged as one of the trendiest purchases in supermarkets these days. Some of the claims connected to coconut oil include blood sugar control and assistance in weight loss. But when it comes to the science, researchers are not so sure coconut oil has the strong health benefits some claim it has. Coconut oil is:
Medium chain saturated fats are used more quickly by the body for energy and don’t travel or build up in the blood stream; however, the science is still conflicted on how these fats impact heart disease and health risk. Coconut oil as a replacement for butter may be a smart choice, but adding it to your normal diet or replacing unsaturated oil with coconut oil is ill-advised.
Grapeseed oil is produced from grape seeds, which are a byproduct of wine-making. Its clean, light taste makes it ideal as an ingredient in mayonnaise, salad dressings, vegetable dips or sprayed on raisins. Grapeseed oil is:
The research on grapeseed oil is still emerging, but recent studies show it may have antioxidant properties due to the polyphenols and flavonoids within the oil.
Seeking the Smartest Oil
Find the cooking oil that’s best for you by looking for those with more “good” fats and less “bad” fats. One serving of oil is equal to about one tablespoon and can provide up to 14 grams of good fats, depending on your oil of choice! The type of cooking application will also impact your choice. Use the tips below to help you select the smartest oil:
When it comes to adding good fats into your meal plan, the options are endless. From smart substitutions to creative kitchen tricks, there are plenty of ways to create meals and snacks that will ensure you are eating within your daily good fat’s goals.
Nuts and Seeds
Creative Kitchen Tips to Use Good Fats
Remember, it is important to eat any fats in moderation. All fats, even the good fats, have nine calories per gram. If you eat more calories than you burn off each day, you’ll gain weight.