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Habit 6: Eat Healthy Fats

Previously, we covered the Habit of Eating Quality Protein, the Habit of Eating Colourful Vegetables, and the Habit of Eating Smart Carbohydrates.

Now, we’re going to build on that with the Habit of Eating Healthy Fats.

Habit 💡 Instructions:

We will explain more about the habit of eating healthy fats below, but for now just know:

  • Easy Mode: Eat some healthy fats with at least 1 meal per day.
  • Hard Mode: Eat some healthy fats with every meal.

If you’re not sure how many healthy fats to eat, “something is better than nothing” is always a great place to start. Beyond that, check out the Sleekgeek Portion Control Guide.

Healthy Fats:

The Sleekgeek Food List is divided into four main food groups: Quality Protein, Colourful Vegetables, Smart Carbs, and Healthy Fats.

All of which you can combine together to make a healthy well-balanced meal using the Sleekgeek Healthy Meal Template and Sleekgeek Portion Control Guide.

Below is the Healthy Fats section of the Sleekgeek Food List:

  • 🥥 Cold-Pressed Oils: Coconut oil, avocado oil, fish oil, flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, walnut oil, etc.
  • 🥜 Nuts (raw): Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.
  • 🌻 Seeds (raw): Sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
  • 🥑 Other: Avocado, butter and ghee, coconut, non-dairy milks (coconut, almond, soy, etc), nut butters (almond, macadamia, etc), olives, peanuts, peanut butter (natural), etc.

These are the healthy fat “superstar” foods that are:

  • Fat-dense and provide a significant amount of fat per reasonable serving size or calorie amount.
  • Nutritionally-dense, containing other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that contribute to good health.
  • Minimally processed, single-ingredient foods whenever possible, and commonly found / easily included in a normal healthy diet.

More About Healthy Fats 📢:

Healthy fats help you get stronger, fitter, and healthier.

They help you recover faster, nourish your fatty tissues (like your brain, eyes, and cell membranes), help you absorb vitamins (like Vitamin A, D, and K), keep you kicking ass (in the gym and in the bedroom), and even help you lose fat by helping to regulate appetite and satiety hormones.

If you would like to read more in-depth about healthy fats, you can do so here.

For now, just know that we encourage a fairly balanced intake of:

  • Mono-unsaturated fats (like nuts, peanuts, avocado, olives, and olive oil).
  • Poly-unsaturated fats (like flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts, cold-pressed seed oils, and more protein-dense sources such as fatty fish).
  • Saturated fats (like coconut and coconut oil, butter, high-fat dairy, and other more protein-dense sources such as egg yolks and fatty cuts of meat).

Each of these different fats provides unique health benefits and it’s worth putting in additional effort to ensure that you get a little bit of everything.

Some of the main distinctions between these healthy fats and those that aren’t on the Sleekgeek Food List are that these healthy fats are naturally occurring and are in their original form or have simply been pressed or ground. With the exception of butter and ghee.

This is opposed to unhealthy fats that don’t naturally occur in the foods they’re found in and have to be created through an industrial process. Such as trans fats and industrial vegetable or seed oils (like corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, margarine, and what is found in most commercial salad dressings and condiments, etc).

Bottom Line: You want to consume a variety of healthy fats from different sources – however, ideally these sources should all be naturally occurring as opposed to created through an industrial process.

Healthy Fats are an ✅ important part of a healthy diet:

When it comes to building a healthy meal we recommend that you start with your protein, then bulk it up with vegetables, and finally round your meal off with a small amount of smart carbohydrates and healthy fats.

How much healthy fat should you eat per day?

Because fatty foods are very calorie-dense and nutrient, we don’t need to eat a huge amount in order to get a lot of benefit.

For reference, both protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, whereas fat contains 9 calories per gram.

This means that you could be eating half the amount of fat compared to protein or carbs in grams, but still consuming more in calories.

There’s no well established recommendation for healthy fat intake, as dietary guidelines often focus on protein and carbohydrates, with healthy fats being left to fill in the gaps.

However, a useful reference is:

  • Low-Fat Diets usually contain less than 30% of their calories from fat.
  • Low-Carb Diets usually contain 50% – 75% of their calories from fat.
  • Moderate-Fat Mediterranean-like Diets usually contain 35% – 40% of their calories from fat.

At Sleekgeek, we recommend aiming for around 35% of your calories from fat.

This means, for most people, that they actually end up closer to 40% due to forgetting about fat used to cook with or fat contained in fatty protein sources and more processed seemingly carb-dense foods.

An easy way to manage healthy fat portion sizes:

This can all get quite confusing and when you work with grams of fat it requires you to track the macronutrient content of your foods.

While tracking your macros (and calories) is an effective strategy, it can be quite laborious and is not necessary for most people.

Instead, we recommend using the Sleekgeek Portion Control Guide.

This is a fantastic system that we use here at Sleekgeek in our own daily lives, as well as in our Sleekgeek Coaching Program with great success.

It lets you simplify portion control by using your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb as rough measuring tools.

Read more about the Sleekgeek Portion Control Guide here.

How to build the habit of eating healthy fats:

Eating healthy fats is the fourth nutritional-based habit that we teach in the Sleekgeek Coaching Program.

Fats can be very energy dense and easy to over-consume, but moderate amounts from high-quality sources are healthy for us and play a very important role in things like hormonal functions, cognitive health, and so much more.

[Easy Mode] Beginners:

Your priority is to get started and take action. “Something is better than nothing”.

  • Stick to easy and convenient healthy fats. Keep it simple and do-able.
  • Try swapping out some unhealthy fats for healthier fats, or if you don’t usually eat any fat, then experiment with adding small amounts to each meal using foods that you actually like and are willing to eat.
  • Consider healthy eating as a spectrum of best-effort choices where you want to try to make more good choices and less bad choices whenever possible, as opposed to an all-or-nothing approach of only being allowed to make perfect choices and considering yourself a failure if you make any bad choices at all.

[Hard Mode] Intermediates and Advanced:

Your priority is to get more consistent, hit the right quantity, expand your variety, and improve your quality.

  • Work on making healthy fat choices with every single meal, consistently. You don’t have to eat healthy fats with every meal (often we cover them with our cooking oils, etc, but if you are eating small moderate portions then it definitely can be appropriate.
  • Experiment with different types of healthy fats and see if you can expand your variety of choices.
  • Try improving the quality of your healthy fats – such as by buying organic, minimally processed, and food that has been sourced locally.
  • Don’t forget that healthy fats are just one part of your meal. See the Sleekgeek Healthy Meal Template for a broader perspective and work on building up a healthy well-balanced meal.

[Important] Have a handful of go-to healthy fat sources:

Make sure that you ALWAYS have a handful of go-to healthy fat sources on hand that are super easy to prepare and eat when short on time or low on willpower. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.

  • Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and butter are great for cooking with (read more about healthy cooking oils) and will help you cover your mono-unsaturated and saturated healthy fat sources.
  • Healthy fats like nuts (almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, etc) and seeds (chia, flax, sesame, etc) stored in your cupboard are always handy as quick and easy choices when you’re short on time and need something with minimal prep and work. You can eat them on your own, or crush them up to add to salads, curries, oats, and so on.
  • Healthy fats like avocados, coconuts, olives, nut butter, and non-dairy milks can be stored in a cool dark place or fridge, tend to last fairly well, and can be called upon to quickly add to a wide variety of meals.

Getting into the habit of eating healthy fats doesn’t need to be complicated or super fancy. It just requires a bit of effort up front, and then a system that you can continuously and regularly maintain. You will come to learn which foods you need to buy frequently and which foods you only need to stock up in bulk once in a while.