Sifting through all the differing information on fats can leave you at odds when it comes to choosing what you should and shouldn’t be eating. But, listen up, people: They’re not all  bad for you!

We know that reducing our intake of saturated fat and trans fats decreases our risk of developing chronic diseases, but it is also important to note that including the other types of fats in our diet are essential to our general health and overall well being.

Make the smart choice
Instead of cutting out fat completely, make better choices about the types you eat. Your best options? Go for the unsaturated kinds like monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats which actually contribute to making you look and feel your best, while helping you maintain a healthy weight.

The Bad Fats:

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood, but some plant-based foods are also high in unhealthy fats. These include: coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.

Trans fats are found in most commercially packaged items. Fast food chains are notorious, but other boxed goods such as microwaveable popcorn (yikes!), vegetable shortening and some types of margarine contain them too.

The Good Fats:
Monounsaturated fats can be found in most nuts, but you can also get a good dose from avocado pears, canola and olive oil.

Polyunsaturated fats (Omega-3s) can be found in fish as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils.

Fat-friendly food tips:
Make your own dressings. Commercially prepared salad dressings and oils are often high in unhealthy, saturated fat. If you can, ditch items with ingredients such as coconut and palm oil or vegetable shortening and opt, instead, for those made with canola, olive or flax-seed oil. Better yet, make your own!

Click here to learn the basics.

Butter vs. Margarine. Not sure which is best? Margarine is generally seen as the healthier alternative, and butter can be pricey. When choosing a margarine, read the label and go for the ‘light’ options or those with zero grams trans fat and no hydrogenated oils.

Easy on the meat. Beef, pork, lamb and dairy products are good sources of protein, but they’re often laden with the bad fats. Use lower-fat dairy and go for lean cuts of meat.

Got any more fat-friendly food tips to add? Share them below.