Halo Effect of Healthy Fats

Aren’t peanuts, nuts, olive oil, and avocado good for you?  Don’t they have the “good” fats?  Having nuts as a snack and dipping my fruits and veggies in all of the different nut butters is healthy…right?  When I go to an Italian restaurant, it is better for me to dip my bread in olive oil, rather than spread it with butter…right?

These questions are tricky to answer.  Yes, peanuts, nuts, olives, and avocados are good for us.  They mainly consist of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that tend to have less of an effect on our cholesterol levels compared to trans fats and saturated fats.  Also, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  However, peanuts, nuts, olives, and avocados are primarily made up of fat, and therefore, serving sizes are small. 

Peanuts, which are technically a legume, have a very similar nutritional profile as nuts. For just two Tablespoons of peanut butter, one would consume 16 grams of fat,  8 grams of protein, and 190 calories.  Many people think of nuts as a great protein source, but peanuts and nuts should be considered more like a fat.

One medium avocado, which one person can easily consume as guacamole dip, has 30 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and about 300 calories.

When at an Italian restaurant, a typical pour of olive oil for dipping bread is 2 Tbsp, which is 27 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein, and about 240 calories.

We need fat in our diet.  However, think of using these healthy fats as an accent in order to enhance the flavors of the vegetables, fruits, meats, beans, or whole grains in the dish.  Here are some tips:

  • When dipping or spreading with nut butters, either melt the nut butter in the microwave or mix the nut butter with a yogurt to make it last longer.
  • If you love nuts, top salads or stir fries with nuts instead of snacking on them  
  • Spread guacamole on your sandwich instead of using mayonnaise
  • Turn your guacamole into a vegetable salsa with avocado by adding tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime, zucchini, black beans, and corn
  • Drizzle olive oil on your bread instead of dipping into it

One thought on “Halo Effect of Healthy Fats”

  1. Great tips, I like these ideas to help make these foods part of a healthy meal. I can definitely eat a whole avocado myself if it’s in a dip!

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