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There are many low-fat products on the market, countered by many popular diets like ‘keto’ and ‘Atkins’ that promote drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

For a healthy and heart-friendly diet, what is right for you most likely sits somewhere in between. It is the quality and food source of the fat that makes the biggest difference, not the quantity per se. You don’t need to eat copious amounts of fat, nor do you need to completely cut it out.

Here are five healthy, high-fat foods that you can include in your diet every day.

1. Nuts and seeds

Rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, nuts and seeds are a healthy fat source bursting with nutrition. You can include nuts in salads, curries and stir fries, while seeds give fantastic crunch to salads and muesli, and can be ground up and sprinkled over breakfast cereal or added to your next smoothie.

  • Try a chia seed pudding for breakfast or dessert.
  • Toss cashews in a stir fry.
  • Add flaked almonds to yoghurt.
  • Toss peanuts or sunflower seeds through salad.
  • Sprinkle LSA (linseed, soy and almond meal) or walnuts over porridge.
  • Sprinkle hazelnuts over fruit salad.

2. Avocado

Rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, fibre and lots of other nutrients, avocados are a popular choice.

  • Combine with boiled eggs and a small amount of feta cheese, mash all together and spread on rye toast.
  • Dice and add to salad or toss it through a pasta dish.
  • Mash with a dash of lemon juice, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and serve with vegetable sticks to dip.

3. Olives and olive oil

These Mediterranean beauties and their respective extra-virgin oils are a great addition to your diet. High in unsaturated fats and antioxidants, the whole olive fruit also adds flavour and texture to meals, with the extra-virgin oils adding concentrated fats as well as antioxidants.

  • Create a salad dressing with a vinegar of your choice and pour over leafy greens.
  • Sauté garlic in extra-virgin olive oil, add any vegetable you like and sauté until just cooked, then season with salt and pepper – green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum and eggplant are great cooked this way.
  • Add olives to pizza, salad, pasta dishes and nibble plates.

4. Salmon

Rich in omega-3 fats (a type of fat that is essential for us to eat), salmon is also a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and magnesium.

  • Wrap in baking paper and foil along with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, fresh garlic and a sprinkle of salt, and bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes.
  • Pan-fry the salmon, skin side first, for 3–4 minutes each side, and serve with stir fried vegetables or a fresh garden salad.
  • Layer avocado, smoked salmon and freshly chopped tomato onto wholegrain crackers.

5. Mackerel

Like salmon, mackerel is a high-fat fish rich in omega-3s. It’s also rich in vitamin D and vitamin B12. Fresh, it should be eaten on the day of capture as it spoils quickly, so for many of us, this means that canned mackerel is the way to go.

  • Toss tinned mackerel through a pasta salad with fresh vegetables and mayonnaise.
  • Serve on grainy toast with sliced tomato and cheese.
  • Replace tinned tuna in any recipe with tinned mackerel.

About the author

Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman is HRI's resident nutritionist. She is a registered nutritionist from Canberra, Australia and the creator and managing director of the largest private nutrition practice in Canberra, The Healthy Eating Hub. Kate consults, writes, presents and mentors in the field of nutrition and has over 10 years of experience in the industry.

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