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We don’t mean just any fat though.  Don’t go hog wild!  Hold the Oreos!  The truth of the matter is that fat does a body good; in fact, our bodies need fat to survive and thrive.  Unfortunately, for our Oreo-loving friends out there, not any old fat will do. We’ve talked before about the key to health being balance, and fat consumption is no different.  By now, most of you are aware that there are different kinds of fat–some are ‘good’ and some are ‘bad.’  Good fats are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s.  Eat ‘em up!  But avoid the bad fats, like saturated fats and trans fats.  The ones we’re looking to add to your salads are the good ones, so listen up!

Here are some of the fats you should be topping your salad with:

Avocados:  You only need one quarter of this fab little fruit to get the max absorption of lycopene, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants.  It has 30 grams of unsaturated fat, and about 16 of those are monounsaturated.  Pass the guacamole, top your salad with healthy chunks of green or slice it onto your sandwich!

Olive Oil: Just a dribble (1/3 teaspoon) of olive oil over your salad and give yourself 3.3. grams of monounsaturated fat (plus polyphenols and vitamin E!).

Olives: 10 olives=3.5 grams of monounsaturated fat.  But watch out: Olives pack a sodium punch!

Cashews: Just half an ounce gives you 4 grams of monounsaturated fat, plus magnesium, phosphorus and tryptophan (think turkey!), which can help kick sleep patterns into shape and improve moods.

Cheese:  One third of a cup of whole-milk ricotta can you give up to 3 grams of monounsaturated fat.  What’s your favorite cheese? Add some to your salad (in moderation) and give it a flavor kick!

Tahini:  One tablespoon of tahini can give you 3 grams of monounsaturated fats.  What’s tahini, you ask?  Tahini is a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds.  You’ll find it most often in hummus and baba ghanoush.

Chopped Macadamia Nuts:  These little nuts are super-powered!  You need only about 2 nuts (or a fifth of an ounce) to get 3 grams of monounsaturated fat!

Other Cooking Oils:  We really love olive oil, but other oils for topping your salad with unsaturated fats are canola, peanut, and sunflower oil.  A little goes a long way—from a third of a tablespoon to ½ tablespoon to one tablespoon (respectively) gives you 3 grams of monounsaturated fat.

You might be thinking, “Why, why, why, do I need to worry about adding good fat to my diet, Brown Bag?  Why can’t I just try to do the ‘fat-free’ thing?”  So, here’s why we need fat:

We need fat so that our bodies can absorb fat soluble vitamins, like A, S, E, and K.  No fat and you end up with deficiencies of these vitamins that can lead to health problems like hematomas, malformations of developing bones, loss of vision, and nuerological problems.  That doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

We need fat to insulate our bodies against cold and heat.

We need fat to transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes.

We need fat for energy, to manage moods and fight fatigue.

And these are just a few of the reasons!

One of the reasons you come to Brown Bag is because you care about your health.  Fat-free isn’t the way to go—fat healthy is!  So, grab your bag, mark it up and create your own salad—and top it off with the best that fat has to offer!