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Cut down on saturated fat

There are several types of fats to look out for when trying to eat healthily. Eatwell guidelines state a small amount of fat is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

But too much saturated fat is particularly bad for our health. For example, it can lead to heart disease and weight gain. .

Learning how to read and use food labels is also a good way to ensure you keep levels of saturated fats low.

We've listed some common foods that we should be looking out for that contain saturated fats. We've then suggested some healthier swaps for you to consider making.

For more advice, go to Following the Eatwell guide at home

Food swaps to cut down on fat

Fruit and vegetables

Food to watch out for: Deep fried fruit (such as pineapple or apple fritters) and vegetables.
Instead choose: Fresh fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked in healthier ways, vegetable juices.

Food to watch out for: Salads with heavy dressings, such as coleslaw or Caesar salad.
Instead choose: Salads dressed with vinegar, lemon juice, herbs and small amounts of oil.


Starchy foods (carbohydrates)

Food to look out for: Bread with a lot of butter on.
Instead choose: Bread (wholegrain where possible) with butter spread thin or not at all. You could also pick a healthier plant-based alternative, such as olive oil-based margarine.

Food to look out for: Fried rice and fried noodles cooked in oil.
Instead choose: Boiled rice or noodles, and for rice, choose vegetable-based sauces.

Food to look out for: Potatoes mashed or roasted with cream, butter or dripping.
Instead choose: Boiled potatoes or roasted with no or low-fat oils.


Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins

Foods to look out for: Processed meats such as sausages, burgers, meatballs, bacon. Also pasties, meat pies or sausage rolls.
Instead choose: Vegan sausage rolls, low-fat alternatives, home made burgers and meatballs using less than 5% fat mince. Also check labels of processed meats, pasties and pies and eat in moderation.

Foods to look out for: Fatty meats such as lamb, belly pork, duck or goose or chicken with skin.
Instead choose: Lean cuts of meat such as pork, ham, beef, game, veal, rabbit or venison, with skin removed and fat cut off.

Foods to watch out for: Crumbed or deep-fried fish or meat (such as chicken nuggets).
Instead choose: Fish or cuts of meat that you grill, steam, poach or dry fry and add no extra fat when cooking.

Foods to watch out for: Eggs fried or cooked with butter, dripping.
Instead choose: Boiled, poached or scrambled eggs with low fat milk.

Foods to watch out for: Coconut products such as cream, milk or oil.
Instead choose: Reduced-fat coconut products.

Foods to watch out for: Peanut butter or peanuts roasted in salt and oil.
Instead choose: Other nuts or seeds in small quantities (such as pistachio, walnut) not roasted in salt or oil.

Foods to watch out for: Indian dishes containing lots of ghee (clarified butter). For example dahl (a lentil-based dish) can have high levels of ghee.
Instead choose: Tandoori-style dishes, plain boiled beans, peas and lentils (canned or dried). You can also substitute ghee for a healthier alternative if making homemade.


Milk, dairy and alternatives

Foods to look out for: Full fat or extra cream milks, evaporated or condensed milks.
Instead choose: Lower fat milk or alternatives, such as soy, oat, almond, etc.

Foods to look out for: All kinds of full-fat creams including single, double, whipped or sour cream. Cream substitutes like crème fraiche.
Instead choose: Low-fat alternatives.

Foods to look out for: Hard cheeses such as stilton, Cheddar, Double Gloucester. Soft cheeses such as goats cheese, brie, camembert, cream cheese, mascarpone.
Instead choose: Lower fat, softer cheeses such as low-fat cottage cheese, ricotta, quark.


Other foods or drinks high in sugar and fats

Foods to look out for: Butter, lard, ghee, suet and dripping. Spreads such as margarine with any hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list.
Instead choose: Low fat, unsaturated spreads, plant-based spreads.

Foods to look out for: Many types of salad dressings such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, blue cheese dressing. Cream-based sauces. Gravies made from cooking fat.
Instead choose: Low-fat salad dressings. Dressings based on yoghurts rather than creams and cheeses. Cornflour-based sauces.

Foods to look out for: Oils - particularly those that have been reheated several times.
Instead choose: Oils with lower amounts of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated unsaturated fats. This includes rapeseed, olive, sunflower or soy oils.

Foods to look out for: Many cakes, biscuits and puddings, particularly if using cream or pastry. Flapjacks, tray bakes and currant squares. Chocolates (milk or plain). Sweets.
Instead choose: Sugar-free jellies, fruit, milk-based puddings or sorbets.

Foods to watch out for: Creamy dips and fried snacks such as samosas, crisps.
Instead choose: Tomato-based dips or hummus with vegetables.


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