By law, foods containing less than half a gram of fat per serving are considered fat-free. But when choosing foods advertised as fat-free, it’s important to consider the standard serving size which is listed on food labels. Food amounts formerly listed as fat-free, such as a teaspoon of fat free salad dressing, will be shown to contain a significant percentage of fat calories when eaten in a typical amount.
And most of the fat-free foods in the supermarket don’t come with labels. That’s because they are found in the fresh produce department. Nearly all fruits and vegetables, with the exception of avocados, are fat-free or nearly so at normal serving sizes. And even fresh foods will soon have their nutrition information posted, according to U.S. labeling laws.
As for other fat-free foods, a one-half-cup serving of most legumes, including beans, peas and lentils, whether dried or fresh, is fat-free. Skim milk and any product made from skim milk, such as nonfat yogurt and skim milk cheese, are also fat-free.
Some tasty fat-free snacks include the following:
- unbuttered air-popped popcorn;
- raw vegetables with herb-seasoned nonfat yogurt dip;
- fresh fruit; or a glass of fruit juice.
Of course, it’s not necessary to restrict one’s diet to fat-free foods. Some ways to reduce fat in the foods we eat include the following:
- Season both cooked foods and salads with herbs, spices or lemon juice rather than butter and sauces.
- Substitute mustard or low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise in sandwiches.
- Cook foods in seasoned water or vegetable broth rather than frying them.
Ask your healthcare provider for advice on how much fat is right for you and for ways that you can reduce your fat consumption.