Low Fat Meal Plan: Benefits, Foods & Guide

Learning how to cut fat in your diet can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be hard work. A few simple swaps can help you plan more heart-healthy, low-fat meals—all while boosting the flavor!


Here’s why cutting out fatty foods can help and what a day of low-fat meals might look like. The sample menu (described below) guides you through a day of meals, including snacks and dessert.



Reducing fat in the foods you eat can reduce calories and reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. An abundance of saturated fat can raise LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease.¹ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America.² But there are several ways to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your diet. Reducing saturated fat and increasing fiber intake are great places to start.


High cholesterol is often accompanied by other conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance. Clusters of these conditions in a person can lead to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, which greatly increases the risk of major cardiovascular events. Research has determined that in addition to physical activity, diet plans that incorporate low-fat meals, such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, can help patients improve their metabolic health. .³



Cutting fat can be beneficial, but it can also make things bland. Fat is well known for its flavor, and cutting it down can be a big loss in the taste department. Make up for these deficits by replacing high-fat ingredients with low-calorie flavor boosters, like spices, fresh herbs, vinegar, and citrus fruits.


Many popular low-fat packaged foods replace fat with sugar and salt, leaving them with even fewer nutrients to offer. For example, many low-fat salad dressing brands contain more sweeteners and sodium than their high-fat counterparts. With so many Americans already consuming excessive amounts of sugars and salt, reading labels and turning to minimally processed foods is definitely worth the effort.⁴


There are many low-fat whole foods to choose from, including:


  • Grains, such as rice, oats, pasta, and cereal
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat yogurt, milk, cottage cheese
  • Partly skimmed cheeses
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Egg whites
  • Legumes, such as peas, beans, and lentils



Fat is an essential macronutrient in the diet, so the goal is moderation. It would be incredibly difficult to completely banish fat from your diet, and you could be missing out on important nutrients like bone-building minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. High-quality fats from unsaturated sources, such as nuts, avocado, and olive oil, promote heart health and should make up the majority of your fat intake.6


For a 2,000 calorie a day diet, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 5% to 6% of total calories for people who need to lower their cholesterol; that’s only 13 grams of saturated fat per day.⁷


Here’s what a balanced, low-fat meal plan might look like.


Breakfast

  • 1 cup cooked rolled oats sprinkled with cinnamon + ½ cup fresh berries


  • 2 scrambled egg whites prepared with nonstick cooking spray




Start your day with cinnamon-flavoured wholegrain cereal topped with seasonal fruits. Protein helps support healthy muscles, and the soluble fiber in oats and berries has been shown to help lower LDL levels.8


Lunch

  • Sliced ​​turkey breast with spinach, tomatoes and mustard on a whole grain sandwich – thin bread


  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable soup


  • 1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter


Maintain high energy levels through the middle of the day with lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables. A small portion of healthy fats from peanut butter fits easily into this meal.


To taste





Fight an end-of-day energy slump with a filling, low-fat snack.


Having dinner







  • 1 glass of red wine (if you drink)


Grilling is a great way to prepare low-fat meals. If you don’t have a grill, simply roast in the oven over high heat (425 degrees F).


Dessert





Scratch that dessert itch with a reasonable serving of something sweet. Then cleanse the palette with fiber-rich fruits to feel full and satisfied.



Low fat meals can be fresh, delicious and easy. Set a goal and limit daily saturated fat intake to support heart health and control calories. For a more personalized plan, discuss your needs with your healthcare provider and consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian nutritionist.


Sources:


  1. Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. LDL and HDL cholesterol: “bad” and “good” cholesterol.
  2. Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. Heart disease facts.
  3. Castro-Barquero S, Ruiz-León AM, Sierra-Pérez M, Estruch R, Casas R. Dietary Strategies for Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients. 2020;12(10):2983. Published September 29, 2020. doi:10.3390/nu12102983
  4. Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. Get the facts: Added sugars.
  5. Centers for Control and Prevention of Disasters. Most people consume too much salt.
  6. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th edition. December 2020.
  7. American Heart Association. Saturated fat.
  8. Suleiman GA. Dietary fiber, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1155. Published May 23, 2019. doi:10.3390/nu11051155

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