The body uses fat as a fuel source, and fat is the major storage form of energy in the body. Interestingly fats have twice the calorific value of carbs, and excess fat in the diet is stored as body fat. Fat has many other important functions in the body, for example your body needs some fats to grow and to process vitamins A, D, E and K as they are fat soluble vitamins.
There are many different kinds of fats and a moderate amount is needed in the diet for good health. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (known as the unsaturated fats) are good for your body. These fats are commonly found in:
- vegetable oils such as olive, peanut, safflower and canola oil
- egg yolk
Oily fish such as salmon is fantastic for your children as it contains a particularly important polyunsaturated fat known as Omega 3 fatty acid. This fat cannot be produced by the body and has many health benefits for your child’s brain, I will talk about this more later.
Other kinds of fat, including saturated and trans fat, also called hydrogenated oils, can increase the risk of certain diseases. Saturated and trans fats are found mainly in animal products and dairy foods. These foods include:
- butter, cream
- fried foods
- baked goods
- deep fried and fast food
- most margarines
- biscuits, cakes and pastries
- fatty meats
Trans fats are often printed on food labels and are not in any way good in your child’s diet. In fact, more and more smart companies are omitting these from their products which is great.
The motivation behind this posting is for you to think about including healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins at every meal as there are so many health benefits to this very simple approach.