Starting a low-fat eating plan? 6 steps for success

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Whether you are starting a low-fat eating plan for weight loss or health issues, follow these six steps to maximize your success.

Low-fat eating plan

1. Review your goals before you start a low-fat eating plan

What is your goal for lowering your fat intake, and how will you measure your success on the plan? Are you seeking weight loss or other health improvements, such as lower cholesterol or better digestion? Setting your goals early will help you stay focused.

Low-fat diets are often medically recommended to help manage a health condition such as gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying), pancreatitis, gallstones, heartburn, and high triglycerides. Consult your healthcare provider or registered dietitian for more specific guidance if you are diagnosed with one of these conditions.

2. Set your nutrition targets

Total fat

A low-fat diet is generally under 30% calories from fat. In comparison, average fat intake in the U.S. is about 35-36% of calories. Certain eating plans, such as the Ornish and Pritikin diet, recommend even lower fat consumption. For its Premium Low-Fat diet plan, MyNetDiary uses a default of under 25% of calories from fat. Customize your fat target by setting a percent-fat or fat-gram goal. Learn more about types of fat and setting your fat targets here.

Saturated fat

MyNetDiary’s default target is less than 10% of calories from saturated fat, the cholesterol-raising fat. If you are at risk for heart disease, your healthcare provider may suggest a lower target. You can customize your saturated fat target on the MyNetDiary app.

Protein and carbohydrates

Distribute your remaining calories between protein and carbohydrate. MyNetDiary’s default settings for a low-fat plan is 20% protein and 55% carbohydrate.

You may choose to monitor other nutrients in your MyNetDiary tracker, including fiber, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, to ensure you are getting the most benefit from your low-fat plan.

3. Properly stock your kitchen

Take some time to plan for your new lifestyle. Remove tempting high-fat items from the kitchen to stay on track, and stock up with healthy low-fat foods to further increase your success.

Focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, and lean proteins that are naturally low in fat and high in nutrition and satisfaction. Limit foods high in refined grains and added sugar, as they provide little satiation and nutrition value.

Here are foods to include in your low-fat plan:

Grains Grains are low in fat in their original form. Whole grains such as oats, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat are the most nutritious.
Vegetables All: Vegetables are naturally low in fat.
Fruit Fruit is naturally low in fat. Choose whole fruit vs. fruit juice for more fiber and increased fullness.
Meat and Protein Foods Chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, and beans are low-fat choices. Lean cuts of red meat include sirloin and flank steak.
Dairy and Dairy Substitutes Choose nonfat or 1% milk, non-dairy milk substitutes, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Nuts and Seeds Include in moderation to provide a source of healthy fats and important minerals.
Fats and Oils Use in small amounts.
Spices and Seasonings Use generously to add flavor to food.
Beverages Choose water, sparkling water, coffee, or tea to limit extra calories.

4. Choose your fats and oils wisely

Though you are limiting fat, make sure you include some healthy fat sources, especially from whole foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish. A small amount of fat can go a long way to add flavor to food and help with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

You also need some fat to provide two essential fatty acids: linoleic and alpha-linolenic. Rich linoleic acid sources include vegetable oils (especially soybean oil), nuts, seeds, meats, and eggs. Robust alpha-linolenic acid sources include flaxseed oil and flaxseeds, chia seeds, canola oil, walnuts, and soybean oil.

5. Explore new cooking techniques

Low-fat does not have to mean low flavor. Try some of these healthy cooking techniques.

Add more flavor to your food

6. Find Support

A support system can make all the difference in your success. Let your friends and family know your goals and how they can support you. Engage with our MyNetDiary community on Facebook or our Community Forum. We have a team of registered dietitians to help answer any questions you may have.

MyNetDiary can help!

If you are ready to get started on a low-fat eating plan, do it the right way to increase your success and maximize your nutrition.

We have hundreds of delicious low-fat (under 30% of calories from fat) recipes, including this easy Santa Fe Chicken Stew in our Premium Recipe collection. Simply choose the Low-Fat tag.

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Jul 7, 2023

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