- 1). Learn to read nutrition fact labels. Look for the number of fat calories per serving. The number should be at the top, to the right of or just below the total number of calories per serving. Find the number of total fat in grams per serving and the daily value percentage. The amounts of each type of fat (saturated, trans fat, and unsaturated) will be broken down below total fat. Become familiar with these numbers, and use them to get a general idea of how much fat, and what kinds of fat, are in a product.
- 2). When dining out, you can estimate the fat calories in a meal by being familiar with the serving size and fat content of the major food groups. One serving of fruit or vegetables, approximately the size of a tennis ball, is generally low in calories and fat. Know that the higher the water content (melon, cabbage, lettuce) the lower the number of overall calories and fat. One serving from the grain group, approximately the size of a hockey puck, is moderately low in fat. Know that while whole grains have slightly more fat than refined grains, they also contain fiber that will keep you full and generally help you eat less. One serving of protein, approximately the size of a deck of playing cards can range from low to high in fat. Choose lean meats such as turkey, white meat chicken and lean beef, over high fat meats such as pork sausage, hot dogs and fried fish. Choose foods that have been baked, grilled, steamed, or boiled for meals with lower fat content. Keep portions moderate and avoid cheese sauces and creamy salad dressings that can contain nearly your full daily allowance of fat in one serving.
- 3). Know that protein and carbohydrates have four calories per gram compared to fat's nine calories per gram. Eat less fat to eliminate excess calories. Avoid saturated fat sources such as vegetable oil, cheese and shortening that are calorie-dense and can lead to high cholesterol. Choose unsaturated fat sources such as nuts and olive oil that, eaten in moderation, can increase good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
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