Repeat after us: fats are not the enemy. In fact, the right type of fats benefits our overall health in everything from improved digestion to healthier hair, skin, and nails.
As Nutritionist Vanessa Rissetto explains, adults should receive 25 to 30 percent of their calories from fat, as long as they are rich in the right kind of nutrients. Indulging in unhealthy fats—like ice cream, processed foods, and such—is okay from time-to-time, but you’re better off using that daily allowance to enrich your body and improve your performance.
If you’re not exactly a master chef in the kitchen—or even a label-reading pro—don’t worry. There are plenty of easy-to-follow healthy fat recipes that make consuming healthy fats a no-brainer. Here, experts share more about this misunderstood macronutrient, plus their favorite healthy fat recipes.
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What is a healthy fat?
According to Rissetto, healthy fats fall into two categories: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Polyunsaturated fats work to lower your total cholesterol. They’re often found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and so on. On the other end of the spectrum are monounsaturated fats—found in canola oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados—which raise our good cholesterol and lower our bad.
The key elements that ties these fats together are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial in fighting inflammation, controlling blood clotting, lowering your blood pressure, and more.
One of the most attainable (and delicious) sources of omega-3s is fatty fish, which includes albacore tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. While Rissetto says that there’s not a specific rule on how much we should consume, the American Heart Association suggests eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish each week. Omega-6 fatty acids are easier to consume since they’re in many vegetables and snack foods.
Healthy Fat Recipes
Even if you’re not a big seafood fan, there are several healthy fat recipes to satiate any palette. From smoothies and breakfast options to post-workout dinners that’ll fill you up after sweating it out, consider these nutritionist-recommended options.
Avocado and Chia Seed Smoothie
After you’ve successfully resisted ‘snoozing’ and finish your early morning workout session, reward yourself with this smoothie (recommended by Rissetto) that’s packed with avocado, chia seeds, and more.
- 1–1¼ cups full-fat coconut milk
- ½ frozen avocado
- 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (soaked in three tablespoons of water for ten minutes)
- 2 teaspoons cacao nibs, cacao powder, or cocoa powder; or 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder made from bone broth
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ice (optional*)
- For topping: cacao nibs and cinnamon
- ¼ cup water, if needed
How to make it:
Add all contents to a high-powered blender and blend until well-combined. Top with cacao nibs and cinnamon—and enjoy!
This flavorful and easy-to-make dip can be the all-star at your Saturday afternoon picnic or packed as an afternoon snack that will keep your energy levels up and consistent.
- 2 15.5-ounce cans of no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
How to make it:
To begin, place beans and garlic in a food processor. Pulse five times or until chopped. Then, add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides, as needed.
Bibimbap Breakfast Bowl
It’s okay if egg white omelettes get old for you after a while (we feel ya). Upgrade your morning routine with Certified Health Coach and Author, Robyn Youkilis’s Asian-inspired breakfast bowl recipe that features avos and whole eggs.
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- Coconut oil, for frying
- 1½ cups cauliflower rice
- 2 cups greens, such as kale, baby kale, spinach, or arugula
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, plus more for serving (if desired)
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- Sliced scallions
How to make it:
Start by melting the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the cauliflower rice to cook until warmed—around three to five minutes. Move to your bowl, then, add the greens to the pan and cook until wilted (around two to four minutes) and drizzle with toasted sesame oil after placing in your bowl. Crack your egg and cook as you wish, before adding the carrots and bean sprouts. To finish, transfer over everything to your bowl and garnish with kimchi, fermented radishes, scallions, and sesame oil if you’d like.
One of Youkilis’s favorite snacks is a cup of gut-healing bone broth, with a spoonful of coconut oil or ghee mixed in. Especially for chilly days spent in an over-air-conditioned office or when you need a little somethin’ different, this is a great healthy-fat rich option. As a perk—your slow cooker does all the work.
- 4 pounds chicken bones or 8 pounds chicken parts with meat
- 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
- Any leftover veggies or herbs!
How to make it:
To get this broth started, add all of the ingredients to a soup pot or a slow cooker. Pour a bit of water over to cover up the bones and the veggies.
Then, cover to bring to a boil, or turn the slow cooker on high. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for at least three hours, or overnight in a slow cooker on low.
When finished, the broth should be dark in color. Lastly, strain the broth and discard the veggies and bones. You can eat it immediately, or cool and freeze for up to two months.
Add these healthy fat recipes into your weekly meal prep for an easy and delicious dose of the good stuff. Your body and mind will thank you!
It will also thank you for getting into a consistent fitness habit. Aaptiv can help you get started.