The goal is not to achieve a low-fat diet but to replace saturated fat and trans fat with “good” fat. Remember, you’re looking to get 25 to 30 per cent of the calories you consume from good fats. So subtract- ing isn’t the name of the game; swapping is. Within a week, you’ll find that your breakfasts will be more filling, your lunches more satisfying, and your dinners a miracle mix of flavor and health.
For many people the morning meal means one of two things, fat- wise, and neither is positive. At one extreme, maybe you grab a carb-heavy bagel and eat it plain, skipping the cream cheese to avoid the extra calories. That’s bad news for your blood sugar and can trigger hunger spikes later in the day, not to mention foster insulin resistance. As you learned in the last chapter, it’s better to incorporate some protein to keep you full. If you add some good fat to the equation, your carbs will digest more slowly, balancing out any blood-sugar swings. At the other extreme, you can easily devour a day’s worth of saturated fat at breakfast if you eat at a fast-food joint (think sausage patties with cheese) or serve yourself a plateful of bacon.
The truth is, many of the foods we associate with good fats—olive oil, fish, avocados—are more commonly included as part of lunch and dinner. But it is possible to add good fats to breakfast. Think nuts. If your cereal doesn’t contain nuts, add some chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans yourself. If you’re enjoying a piece of toast or a whole-wheat English muffin, peanut butter is the per- fect spread. You can also add chopped nuts to waffle, pancake, and muffin batter. Use a smart margarine. Vegetable oils contain PUFAs, one of the good types of fat. And margarine is made from vegetable oil. So if you’re careful to choose a brand that doesn’t contain any trans fats (remember, don’t trust the front of the label on this issue; scan the ingredients list looking for the words “partially hydrogenated”), margarine is a fine addition to your morning meal. Look for a brand that contains 2 grams or less of saturated fat per tablespoon. (All fatty foods include some of each major type of fat, and vegetable oils are no exception: All contain some saturated fat, but some use oils with more than others). Don’t bother with high-priced products that contain added omega-3 fatty acids. A tablespoon of one such marga- rine has only traces of DHA and EPA, the healthful omega-3s in fish oil—which is 20 times less than you’d get from a 3-ounce serving of salmon.
Get the flax. Flaxseeds are loaded with ALA, a form of PUFA that resembles omega-3 fatty acids. And they have a pleasant, slightly nutty taste. Buy whole flaxseeds, store them in the fridge, and grind them as needed. Don’t eat whole flaxseeds or they’ll come out the way they went in. Don’t forget eggs. They’re nature’s best source of protein, and here’s a little-known fact: One large egg contains 2 grams of MUFAs, the good fats also found in nuts and olive oil.