Gone are the days of the low-fat diet! You read every day about the importance of healthy fats in your diet. But how exactly should you go about making sure you’re getting enough fat on a day to day basis? How do you know if you’re consuming too much or too little fat? Getting enough fat in your diet is ultimately about figuring out what your fat requirements are for the day, then spreading that amount of fat throughout your meals and snacks. Getting too much or too little fat in a meal can lead to poor digestion, uncontrolled blood sugar levels, an uncontrollable appetite, and even weight gain. Once you know how much fat you should be eating in a day, you can easily ration that fat throughout the day to maintain even energy levels. Try this simple and no non-sense method for ensuring adequate fat intake in your plant-based diet.
Figuring Out Your Fat Requirements
According to the CDC, fat intake for adults should be between 20-35% of total calories. So if you eat 2,000 calories a day, 400-700 calories per day of your intake should go towards fat. Making sure you eat enough fat depends on your health, your lifestyle, and your dietary preferences. If you suffer from or have a long history of heart disease in your family, you might want to stick to the lower end of the fat requirements and make sure around 20% of your daily caloric intake comes from fat. If you live a very active lifestyle and need more calories to sustain your energy levels, a diet higher in fat might be more beneficial for you. Remember that you might need to experiment for a while with your fat intake until you find the fat intake that works for you.
Make Healthy Fat Part of Every Meal and Snack
Once you know your fat requirements, you can easily spread those fat calories throughout the day. Adding healthy, plant-based fats is relatively easy. Some good sources of healthy fat are:
- Oils like olive, coconut, avocado, flax
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Nut butters (preferably raw and without added oils/sugar)
With this arsenal of healthy fats, you can easy add healthy fat to all your meals. A smear of almond butter with your morning toast, some sliced avocado on your salad at lunch, and a handful of sunflower seeds with fruit as an afternoon snack is plenty of healthy fat throughout the day to meet your dietary requirement and keep your energy levels up. Make sure you also mix up the kinds of fats you consume on a regular basis. Eating almonds every morning with your oatmeal is great, but don’t forget that brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium! Mix up your sources of fat intake for a balanced nutritional profile and to beat boredom.
Getting enough healthy fat in your diet is especially important for us plant-based eaters who often struggle to meet their daily calorie requirements. However, strategically adding fat throughout the day is a great way to maintain excellent health, look great, and feel great!
Image Source: Raw Vegan Poutine