We all know that chocolates, cakes and cookies are loaded with kilojoules. But what about your other favourite foods? Could hidden fats be lurking in them too?
If you’re trying to get your body in shape for the beach, it might be a good idea to take a peek at this list of the top 10 foods with hidden fat – and cut down on them:
- 79 g fat per 100 g regular mayonnaise*
Tip: Replace mayonnaise with low-fat dressing or a drop of soya sauce or balsamic vinegar on salads, and rather use low-fat/fat-free yoghurt or cottage cheese in sauces. Simply don’t add mayonnaise to that chicken or tuna sandwich – make the sandwich more interesting by adding herbs, black pepper and a slice of tomato.
- 77 g fat per 100 g macadamia nuts
Tip: Note that nuts should form part of a balanced diet – even though the fat content is quite high, nuts are cholesterol-free and contain good mono-unsaturated fats. But limit your intake of nuts to a handful per week if you’re trying to lose weight. And choose lower-fat varieties, like almonds, instead of macadamias.
3. Coffee creamer
- 50 g fat per 100 g coffee creamer*
Tip: Coffee creamer is a definite no-no as it’s loaded with saturated fat. Simply don’t add coffee creamer to your coffee. Rather use low-fat or fat-free milk, or, if you don’t have a fridge, settle for milk powder.
4. Peanut butter
- 50 g fat per 100 g peanut butter*
Tip: While peanut butter is a good source of mono-unsaturated fats, it can be bad news for your waistline if you eat too much of it. Look for the sugar-free variety in your grocery store – while sugar-free peanut butter contains just as much fat, the kilojoules are fewer. Limit your intake of peanut butter to four teaspoons per week and spread it thinly on your sandwiches.
5. Potato crisps
- 35 g fat per 100 g potato crisps
Tip: When you go shopping for snacks, read nutrition labels carefully – the kilojoule and fat values vary considerably from product to product.
Good old-fashioned popcorn (not the pre-popped varieties) is a healthier option than most forms of crisps – just don’t add butter when you pop it. Pretzels also generally contain less fat than potato crisps (but check the label before you buy). Also look for salty snacks that are free of trans fatty acids. Good products are available on the market.
- 33 g fat per 100 g cheddar cheese
Tip: Where you can, settle for low-fat cottage cheese rather than “harder” cheese varieties, like cheddar, Parmesan and Gouda. Cut foods that contain a considerable amount of cheese, like pizza, certain pasta dishes and toasted cheese sandwiches, from your diet.
7. Red meat
- 31 g fat per 100 g oven-cooked beef roast
Tip: While, compared to some of the other foods in this list, meat doesn’t have the highest percentage of fat, the problem is that we tend to eat greater amounts of meat at mealtimes than, say, peanut butter.
Shop for lean meat (beef, game, ostrich), and include more fish and poultry (with skin removed) in your diet than red meat. Cut all visible fat off meat and don’t add any extra fat or oil to meat when you cook it. Avoid any type of meat that has visible fat, like sausage and salami.
8. Pies and pastries
- 23 g per 100 g chicken pie*
Tip: This may be bad news for pie addicts, but, point is, pies are loaded with all the wrong kinds of fat. And don’t be fooled by the fact that pies are listed in the eighth position on this list – a pie portion is a lot bigger than a portion of mayonnaise.
Cut pies and pastries (like croissants and Copenhagens) from your diet if you want to lose weight or boost your heart health. Replace these foods with wholegrain or rye bread instead.
9. Deep-fried delicacies
- 22 g fat per 100 g doughnut
Tip: Deep-frying is never a good way of cooking. Steer clear of deep-fried sweet treats, like doughnuts, vetkoek and koeksisters, and rather grill your calamari than fry it, adding flavour with a spicy Cajun sauce. Always choose baking, grilling or poaching over frying as cooking method.
Tip: The monounsaturated fats in avocados should form part of a balanced diet, but bear in mind that too much avo could spell trouble for the slimmer. Don’t eat more than one medium-sized avo per week – and don’t combine the avo with mayonnaise. Rather use lemon juice to add some flavour.
*Note that these fat percentages may vary from brand to brand.
– (Carine van Rooyen, Health24, updated February 2010)