To get the job done, you might be cutting out foods like eggs and butter because they are considered "bad" for you. But if you eat them in moderation, they're not.
Mallika Marshall dropped by The Saturday Early Show to talk about five foods that are no longer taboo.
- Dark meat chicken: While it's true that dark meat has a little more fat than white meat, it's only a little bit fattier. As most people will tell you, dark meat is juicier and tends to be tastier. With both white and dark meats, however, you want to remove the skin, which is really packed with fat and saturated fat, the bad kind of fat. So whether you like legs or thighs (dark meat) or breasts and wings (white meat), make sure you remove the skin and cook it in a healthy fashion.
Like dark meat chicken, pork and beef have also gotten a bad rap over the years. But pork tenderloins and certain cuts of beef (like flank steak) can be very lean. In general, avoid meats with lots of marbling. Save those for special occasions.
- Margarine: Choose margarine instead of butter. Butter is high in saturated fat, which, again, is not good for you. Up until recently, margarines were high in trans fats, which are also not good for you. But now there are a number of soft margarines that don't contain artery-clogging trans fats. So when you go to the grocery store, look carefully at the label and choose one that's trans-fat-free. Actually, you don't have to swear off butter altogether. Use it sparingly when cooking, but avoid putting in on your table when you serve a meal.
- Peanut butter is low in trans fats and high in good fats, like omega 3 fatty acids which are good for your heart and your brain. Also, peanut butter is rich in protein. It's a high-calorie food so you don't want to eat gobs of it, but it's a healthy snack. Now you may want to choose the all-natural brands which have less added sugar, but commercial and natural brands are pretty healthy in general.
- Eggs. Poor eggs! They have been avoided by millions of Americans for years because they are high in cholesterol. But eggs aren't as bad for your heart as people once thought. First of all, the egg is a wonderful source of protein. And most of the cholesterol is in the yolk, so you can certainly avoid loading up on cholesterol by using the whites only. So if you have high cholesterol, it doesn't mean you have to swear off eggs entirely. If you limit the amount of saturated fat you eat in other animal products like butter and dairy, than you can probably have an egg every now and then.
- Use vinegar and olive oil instead of bottled salad dressings. Many bottled salad dressings are packed with bad fats, sugars and salt as well as artificial flavors and additives. So instead opt for olive oil and vinegar. Olive oil does have fats but not the artery-clogging kind. And there are many options nowadays when it comes to vinegars. You may also want to add fresh herbs to your salad to give it extra taste.