Fatty foods are often misunderstood and unrightfully demonized or at least avoided. Which really is a shame as some of the healthiest foods on the planet are quite high in fat. And, as a nice side effect, simply delicious! Therefore I’ve decided to compile a little list of especially healthy fat sources for you. To go with the click-baiting of the usual “top X food” lists, number 9 will blow your mind…
Before you indulge in all the healthy fat sources below, I would like to give you a little reminder: fatty foods are of course higher in calories! Yes, they are healthy, but fat has 9kCal per gram (whereas protein and carb just 4) making them calorie dense. If you aren’t counting calories and overconsume them, you will easily end up in a caloric surplus which will make you gain fat. Consume them consciously and matching to your goals. On the positive side, most of these healthy foods are quite satiating and usually regulate your appetite well.
Here are my top 9:
1. Fatty fish
You probably already know that I am a huge fan of eating fish. It’s incredibly tasty, easy to prepare and overall really healthy: lots of high quality protein (essential aminoacids!), probably the single best source of omega3 fatty acids AND vitamin D. There is even an entire blog post on this here. Go for salmon, mackerel, herring and fatty cuts of tuna.
Example: 100g salmon 208kCal; 13g F (of which 3,1g omega 3); 0g C; 20g P
2. Fatty meat
There is really nothing wrong with fatty cuts of meat. Pork, chicken thighs, ribeye steaks, lamb, it’s all good! Although meat is high in saturated fats, which are usually classified as “neutral” for health, meat is rich in a variety of other health supporting compounds: protein, iron, vitamin B and creatine to name a few.
Example: 100g pork shoulder (boston butt) 269kCal; 19g F; 0g C; 23g P
3. Nuts and seeds
There is a wide variets of nuts and seeds to choose from. Some have a little more protein, some a little more carbs, and some mostly consist of fat. I really don’t care, I just see them all as fat sources and I suggest you do the same. Don’t get lead astray from fancy brands selling expensive nut butters as “healthy protein spreads”. Nut butters are by the way highly palatable, therefore low satiety is an issue, consume them as whole nuts or seeds. They are all high in unsaturated fats and contain tons of fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Example: 100g almonds 589kCal; 53g F; 5,7g C; 24g P; 11,4g fiber
Eggs got unrightly demonized for being high in cholesterol, which turns out to be quite uninteresting for overall health. However, they come with a high amount of protein for their calories. Eggs are also a source of vitamin D, vitamin B,vitamin A, selenium, iron… and pretty much everything else as they are made to sustain the growth of new life.
Example: 100g eggs (approx. 2 large eggs) 144kCal; 9,6g F; 0,7g C; 12,6g P
5. Olive (and other plant) oils
Plant oils are usually just squashed nuts and seeds, so their properties are pretty similar except not containing anything else besides their fats. They are all very good, but olive oil usually is the numero uno in studies. I’ve not managed to find a conclusive explanation for it, but it is a realatively “balanced” oil, containing a good amount of saturated fats, which probably makes it more stable and less reactive/prone to going rancid.
Example: 100g olive oil 884kCal, 100g F; 0g C; 0g P
6. Avocado and olives
Pretty much our only fat sources in the fruit and veg category. Again, rich in unsaturated fats and all the good stuff found in plants, especially fiber. Also people just seem to love eating avocados, so there you go. As my girlfriend is italian, I had to add olives too.
Avocados: 100g (approx. half an avocado fruit) 160kCal, 14,7g F; 8,5g C; 2g P
Olives: 100g 146kCal; 15,3g F, 4g C, 1g P
7. Full fat dairy
Dairy consitently comes out as a health food in research. High quality protein (essential aminoacids!) and plenty of calcium are probaly the reason for this. In addtion, the fats found in dairy seem to be especially beneficial, even if they are mostly saturated and should be only “neutral”. Full fat dairy is also just incredibly delicious, think of cheese or full fat greek yoghurt. And no the “Oreo chocolate milk dessert” does not count as full fat dairy, it’s just “junk food” 😉
Example: 100g 10% fat greek yoghurt 134kCal, 10g F; 5,2g C; 6,5g P
8. Dark chocolate
Yes, chocolate is healthy! To be precise, it’s the cocoa because it is incredibly high in beneficial phytochemicals called flavanoids, which is probably the most important thing to know about it. Choose dark chocolate of good quality! Lesser quality chocolate is diluted with cheap fats and sugar and contains little of the good stuff.
Example: 100g 75% cocoa chocolate 567kCal, 42,7g F; 29,5g C; 9,1g P
9. And pretty much everything else
There is really no reason to banish other sources of fat from your diet! Yes, you can eat your beloved cookies, pizza or ice cream. There really aren’t unhealthy fats. Sure, the foods I listed above are incredibly healthy and great choices for overall health, but please don’t be afraid of other fat sources. It is way more important to get the big players of health right: exercise of some sort, no smoking, good sleep, responsible use of alcohol, eating plenty of protein, fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts/seeds.
The bad man
Okay, there really is a fat that should be avoided whenever possible: trans-fats. There are some amounts of naturally occuring trans-fats in the meat of ruminants (beef, lamb, etc.) but these aren’t a big deal. The problem are trans-fats used in food manufacturing. Trans-fats are used there because they improve texture, mouth-feel, shelf life and are really, really cheap. If you avoid low quality highly processed foods, you really don’t need to worry about trans-fats though! Oh, trans-fats are usually called “hardend” or “partially hardened” fats on food labels.
I hope this list made it a little easier for you to understand fat and it makes your nutrition a little easier ❤
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