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Hungry Girl Today: 7.25.12

Hi Hungry Girl,

I hear a lot about "healthy" or "good" fats. What are they? And what's the best way to get 'em without going overboard?

Fat-Facts Finder

Hi Fat-Facts Finder,

Great questions, and I'm sure you're not the only one out there wondering about this. According to our pals at the World's Healthiest Foods, monosaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function, heart health, immunity, and more. On the other hand, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids have been linked to health problems like heart disease.

So what are some sources of the good kinds of fat? Nuts, salmon, avocado, and olive oil are great examples. But these foods are calorie dense, and it doesn't take a lot of them to meet the recommended dietary allowance for fat. For example, an ounce of pecans (which is only about 10 nuts) contains nearly one-third the daily RDA of fat; each tablespoon of olive oil contains about 20 percent. So even though these fats are good for you, portion control is key.

When it comes to nuts and nut butters, I have several favorites that help keep total fat intake in check. Single-serving packs of nuts with 100 calories each are IDEAL for snacking. Nut-packed bars like the ones from KIND are another great option. You can also incorporate reasonable amounts of nuts into your meals with some HG recipes: This fruit 'n nut topped salad is super-delicious, and this oatmeal parfait has healthy fats from almonds and almond milk. As for nut butters, I love the stuff by Justin's. The brand offers 2-tbsp. packs of almond, peanut, and hazelnut butters with 170 - 200 calories and 13 - 18g fat each (PointsPlus