Ghee, butter, olive oil or margarine…what should we use? The debate is everlasting. Living abroad, we are exposed to a variety of other choices that traditionally wouldn’t be there. So, what advice do we take on to help us decide, and how much should we consume?
Should I completely cut out fat?
Our body needs fats to work at its best. We should never completely cut out fat. At the same time, we don’t want to have too much fat. The amount of fat your body needs will vary person to person. For adults, the recommendations could be anywhere between 14-40g (e.g. 2-8 teaspoons of oil) of fat per day depending on your age and gender. Men under the age of 70 usually need more fats than women. Usually when it comes to oils, butters, ghee etc. we look at the types of fats -good and bad.
The good fats:
Good fats can protect the heart by reducing cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. They are usually found in plant oils such as olive, canola and sunflower or other plant-based spreads such as margarine or even peanut butter. These are also naturally found in nuts, seeds and fatty fish (like salmon) and avocados. It is important to also make sure that even from this group we want to have a moderate quantity.
Not so good fats:
These are known as saturated and trans fats. In larger and regular quantities, these may be harmful to your health and may lead to a higher cholesterol level. Generally solid at room temperature. Fats that contain higher levels of saturated fats include animal fats such as meats, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm oil, fried/baked foods and ghee.
What are some easy changes I can make?
For regular daily use you can make these swaps which can reduce your ‘bad fat’ intake by up to 75% in each tablespoon!
• Ghee/coconut oil/butter/vegetable oil for frying → olive oil/canola oil/sunflower oil
• Cream in cooking → evaporated milk
• Spreadable butter → peanut or nut butters, low fat ricotta or cottage cheese spreads
• Full cream dairy→ low/reduced fat dairy
For fats that are used occasionally, these are fine occasionally in small quantities. It’s important to make the main change to what affects your daily use.
Please note this advice is all of a specific nature and if you have any concerns or queries you can get tailored advice from an accredited practicing dietitian.
Chatpata winter warmer soup
Tomato and lentil soup in under 20 minutes, reduced fat and delicious!
1 Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Garlic, chopped
1 Capsicum, chopped
5 mushrooms sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 jar passata (crushed tomatoes or canned tomatoes)
1 chilli (optional), chopped
1 teaspoon haldi (turmeric)
Herbs: parsley chopped, coriander, basil
Lentils 1 can or 2 cups soaked overnight, rinsed, drained and cooked until soft
Dash of skim milk
1/4 can light coconut milk
In a pan/casserole:
- Cook up onion and garlic in a dash of olive oil, if onions are sticking to the pan you can add extra water while cooking
- Add water and haldi, vegetables, chilli and cook until soft
- Add passata/tomatoes
- Add cooked lentils
- Add dash of milk and coconut milk, coriander
- And serve!
Tips: For extra flavour you can add any extra herbs and spices you like such as methi or garam masala
BY Deevya Gupta
(Deevya Gupta is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian in Melbourne | W: www.abcofnutrition.com.au)