An important element of dieting to lose weight is eating foods with a low fat content. When choosing foods to eat as part of a low-fat diet, many fatty foods can often be replaced with lower-fat alternatives. However, low-fat diets need not eliminate all fats, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. While "bad" fats such as saturated and trans fats should be avoided, "good" fats like polysaturated and monosaturated fats can be consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Low-Fat Dairy Foods
Dairy is a main source of saturated fat in the American diet, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The website of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Institutes of Health suggests some healthy low-fat alternatives to replace traditional higher fat foods as part of a low-fat diet. Regarding dairy foods, NHLBI recommends that higher-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, ice cream, yoghurt and cheese, be replaced with foods like skimmed milk, fat-free frozen yoghurt, low-fat yoghurt, and fat-free cheese. NHLBI suggests that such replacements can be made in steps; for example, you can start by replacing whole milk with two-percent fat milk, then gradually switch to one-percent or skimmed milk.
Low-Fat Meat Products
According to the NHLBI, many meat products are high in fat, but low-fat equivalents exist for just about any type of meat. Examples of low-fat alternatives to high-fat meat products include: low-fat hot dogs, low-fat cold cuts, extra-lean minced meat, skinless poultry, water-packed tuna, and vegetarian meat products like veggie sausage made from tofu. When choosing low-fat meats, it is especially important to find healthier alternatives to red meat, which is very high in saturated fat, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard recommends replacing red meat, whenever possible, with meats low in saturated fat such as poultry and fish.
Most trans fats, or "bad" vegetable fats which act as saturated fats, in the American diet come from processed foods like commercially-prepared baked goods and other packaged snack foods, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Low-fat alternatives to baked goods and snack foods suggested by the NHLBI include fat-free muffins, reduced-fat cookies like ginger snaps or graham crackers, light popcorn, fruits and vegetables. Consumption of fast food snacks like french fries is particularly harmful to health due their high trans-fat content, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Regarding fried foods, Harvard recommends, rather than frying food in a saturated fat like butter or a trans fat like margarine, sautee foods in a liquid vegetable oil that is low in "bad" fats.