Oh yeah, that’s right I am going to say it. Fat! Now don’t go running away.
When I was figure skating I shied away from any and all kinds of fat. Everyone kept saying that olive oil was good for you, but I would have salads with just vinegar because I was on a fat free diet. I prided myself on having less than 15 grams of fat a day. It became an obsession.
Then a few years ago I discovered a little secret about all of those fat free and reduced fat foods I was eating….to make them taste good they add a ton of preservatives and sugar. When comparing the calories most of the food had double the calories of its full fat version.
I went out on a limb and did something crazy. I changed my diet and started just following calorie counts and allowed myself to, gasp, eat full fat foods. Guess what? I didn’t gain any weight and my food tasted a lot better.
I am not saying that I indulge in desserts all the time but I do allow myself to eat the real stuff. I also learned that there are some really important fats that we should all be adding to our diets, especially runners and even more so for female runners.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed for our bodies to simply function. They also aid in inflammation so if you have been doing any sort of exercise you need these. Omega-3’s also help our hormones function properly which is necessary for us to live a balanced life. Excellent examples of these types of fats are fish, nuts, seeds (such as chia and sunflower), certain oils including vegetable, and spinach.
Athletes should aim for a good low fat diet of around 30% or less of your daily intake. Some endurance and ultra endurance athletes may need to take in more fats than that.
Most importantly try to keep your daily intake away from saturated and trans fats (typically labeled as partially hydrogenated). Try to aim at eating a diet with fewer animal fats and try getting your fat intake from a broader spectrum. The average American gets more meat in their diet than necessary. Excellent sources of healthy fats are nuts, seeds, flaxseed, olive and coconut oil, avocados, and goat cheese.
All of these will help keep you healthy and functioning at your highest potential levels. Try to add these healthy fats into your diet in new and creative ways. I love using coconut oil for its metabolic boosting properties. I recently used it to make a dessert instead of vegetable oil and the result was awesome!
Speaking of fat……
Since I mentioned eating healthy I had to share a not so healthy but family favorite recipe that I have been playing with a lot lately (as in there is a batch of these in the oven right now).
In New York City we discovered a bakery that made the most amazing Banana Pudgies. They tasted like nothing I have ever had before. But they were pricey at $4 a tiny cookie. So I went on a quest and found a few recipes on the internet and then tweaked them until I finally got what comes as close as can be to the Pudgies. The secret ingredient is pudding mix. So far I have made banana, chocolate (which tastes like hot chocolate) and cheesecake.
Try these out and you will have a new family favorite cookie.
1 3/4 sticks of butter
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 packages of banana crème pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º
In bowl combine flour and baking soda. In another bowl cream sugars and butter. Add in pudding and mix. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.. Add dry ingredients into bowl and stir until combined. Add in white chocolate chips (do yourself a favor and don’t skimp).
Scoop by the spoonful onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake 8-9 minutes. To make them all come out alike I use a cookie dough scoop. It looks a lot like a mini ice cream scoop. Take the cookies out when slightly brown on the edges, but keep in mind they are best just a bit under cooked.