We all know we should avoid fat. But, it’s actually only one kind of fat that we shouldn’t shouldn’t include in our diet, and that’s the type of saturated fat that can be found in a pile of greasy and cheesy nachos, a bacon cheeseburger or a pepperoni pizza. Saturated fat can lead to heart problems and make your cholesterol levels skyrocket.
However, there are certain kinds of fats that are considered to be healthy and good for us. Fats called polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated have a place in a healthy diet. These healthy fats include nut butter, nuts, fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, and even olives. The fats we want to eat are omega-3 fatty acids that can do everything from ensuring we keep our cognitive health, experience good mental health and even experience zero hurt in our joints. So in order to keep your body and brain in the best shape possible, you need to be including healthy fats in your diet. Follow this easy how-to guide and learn how to bring these foods to work for snacks and lunch.
1. Snack On All Kinds of Nuts
Nuts make an amazing snack. They’re filling and portable so you can bring them to work with you and enjoy them for a morning or afternoon snack -- or anytime you’re a bit hungry. Nuts have fiber which keeps hunger at bay, which is particularly useful if you bring them with you to that 2 p.m. meeting that lasts much longer than anyone expected.
Try almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts or macademia nuts. If you’re concerned about calories, macademia nuts are the most caloric at 204 calories for 1 ounce of nuts. Almonds are a good choice at 169 calories per 1 ounce. Enjoy them with some grapes, an apple, a pear or a banana to make sure you get some fruit in, too.
2. Swap Peanut Butter for Walnut Butter
Peanut butter is a nostalgic choice for many of us since we grew up eating it as kids, and it brings to mind comforting childhood memories of PB and jelly or PB and banana sandwiches. But, Walnut butter is a smarter choice because of its alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is amazing for us and only this one kind of nut butter has it.
You can enjoy it as you would any nut butter: spread on an apple or banana, on whole grain toast, on whole grain crackers. It also would make an interesting alternative to mayo or mustard for a sandwich spread if you’re looking to spruce up your typical turkey or chicken sandwich.
3. Try A New Oil
We all use olive oil to cook with and many of us make easy homemade dressings out of olive oil and lemon juice with some kind of acid thrown in there too, whether it’s orange juice or balsamic vinegar. Bringing a salad to work is an easy lunch and a good way to keep your health on track and ensure you’re not reaching for vending machine chips or a slice of cheesy pizza from the place next door. So why not try a new kind of oil as your go-to salad dressing?
Avocado oil is a good choice for its Vitamin E content, and it counts as a healthy fat. You can even buy Chia Seed Oil, which is made from chia seeds. The sky’s the limit so head to your local grocery store or health food store and spend some time browsing the oil aisle. You are bound to find something new and interesting that will make lunchtime salads delicious.
4. Eat Your Avocado
Avocados are basically miracle foods. They have fiber and are super filling so if you use some as a salad topper, you are guaranteed to be happy and energetic for the remainder of your work day. The reasons they are so good for you because they contain oleic acid that can fight cancer.
You don’t want to eat an entire avocado every day -- your clothes might not fit too well after a few weeks of that plan. But they’re a smart choice if you don’t go overboard. Besides being an incredible salad ingredient, you can buy or make guacamole and enjoy on some whole grain crackers or with some carrot sticks if your stomach is rumbling at 3 p.m.
5. Eat Salmon 3 Times A Week
Bring a salmon-topped salad to work for lunch three times a week and you will reap the benefits of this fatty fish. Your brain will be in top condition after you consume some omega-3 rich salmon. You’ve most likely heard that fish is brain food -- well, now you know why. So it’s a good choice for that Monday midday meal.
6. Enjoy Some Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are full of protein and, therefore, a great choice for vegans or vegetarians. But you can enjoy hemp seeds on a salad or as a snack thanks to their fatty acids. Try some blended in a smoothie with fruit and milk for a boost of plant-based protein. They’re also great stirred into guacamole or hummus for an extra hit of healthy fats.
7. Drink Almond Milk
You, of course, require at least one coffee to get through the work day. And you are used to keeping a bottle (or two) of water at your desk to ensure that you’re properly hydrated for the entire day. But try adding some almond milk into your drink rotation, too. Almond milk has all the health benefits of almonds, including health-promoting fats. One cup of this nut-based non-dairy milk has 2.5 grams of healthy fat, so it’s not a bad idea to enjoy a glass or two during the day.
With these easy tips on including more healthy fats in your work lunches and snacks, you will be healthier than ever before. Your brain will be sharper, your memory will be in tip top shape and you will be able to focus on your busy day. And best of all, healthy fats like avocado, nuts, nut butter and salmon are filling, a welcome fact when you’re trying to get through today’s meeting.
Do you already eat any of these foods while at work or home? Do you think they keep you more alert or productive?