Fat is essential to health. Fats help the body absorb nutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K need fat to be absorbed by the body. If you don’t get enough fat in your diet, you risk getting inadequate amounts of necessary fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Concentrate on eating healthy fats like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fats. Mono-unsaturated fats may help to improve cholesterol levels, which may decrease your risk for heart disease. These fats also may be beneficial to insulin levels and blood-sugar control. Olive, canola and peanut oil are all high in monounsaturated fat. Avocados, nuts and seeds are found to be high in monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are found in soybean, corn and sunflower oils. These polyunsaturated fats may improve blood cholesterol levels. Omega-3 oils may play a role in lowering triglycerides, blood pressure and risk for heart disease. Foods high in omega-3s include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, walnuts and flaxseed. The omega-3s EPA and DHA may help you focus by boosting brain cells and neurotransmitters.

When cooking, try using different oils for different applications. Extra-virgin olive oil can be used as a salad dressing and for sautéing over low to moderate heat. Soybean oil, often labeled as vegetable oil, can be used in many recipes from baked goods to salad dressings. Avocado oil can be used in salad dressing and for stir-frying or sautéing. Canola oil works well with sautéing, baking and frying.

Remember to always store your oils in a cool, dark place instead of right next to the stove. Heat and light can damage oils. Make sure to include some healthy fats at meal time.

Delicious and easy, this salad is filled with heart-healthy antioxidants and omega-3 fats.

 

Salmon, Avocado and Mango Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 tbsps. plus 2 tsps. olive oil, divided

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

2 tbsps. orange juice

1 tbsp. grated red onion

2 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp salt, divided

4 (5 oz. each) skinless salmon fillets

¼ tsp black pepper

6 cups mixed salad greens

1 small avocado, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium mango, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks

1 blood orange, peeled and sectioned

2 medium kiwi, peeled and sliced

Directions:

For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, red onion, honey, mustard and ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Season salmon with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Sear salmon until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes more or until fish flakes easily with a fork

Arrange mixed greens, avocado, mango, blood orange and kiwi on a platter or individual plates. Place salmon over salad; drizzle with dressing.

Amounts per serving: 610 calories, 39 grams of total fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, no transfat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of total carbohydrates, 9 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of total sugars, and 33 grams of protein.

 

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.