Healthy fats: Give yourself the gift of health this Diwali – by Sharon Heer

Fat is important for health. Fats help your body function in many ways, like providing your body with energy, protecting your organs, cell growth, making hormones and taking in nutrients. But remember — not all fats are the same.

What are the types of fat?

There are three types of fat: unsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and canola oil, may improve blood cholesterol levels and help keep your heart healthy. Nuts and seeds — like almonds, pecans, and sesame seeds — avocados and fatty fish like salmon are also good sources of unsaturated fats. Saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy fats that can increase your risk of heart disease as they have shown to increase LDL cholesterol which blocks arteries. Try to lower how much-saturated fat you eat each day by choosing lean meat with no fat on it, choosing lower fat milk, butter milk, and limiting cream.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance in your body. The two main types of cholesterol are called HDL and LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as healthy cholesterol because high levels of HDL can help protect your heart. Whereas, having high levels of LDL cholesterol can block arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Choose healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats, most often and try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. By choosing healthy unsaturated fats and being physically active, you can increase your HDL cholesterol and lower your LDL cholesterol, which will decrease your risk of heart disease.

How can I cook with less fat at home?

When cooking at home, use fats that are high in unsaturated fat to keep your body healthy. Avoid or limit fats that are high in saturated fat and trans fats to reduce harm to your body.

Instead of butter, give flavor to food using ginger, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, spices, and herbs, like fresh cilantro and parsley. Limit foods with cream, buttermilk and sour creams, such as butter chicken, shahi paneer, dal makhani, and kadhi made with chickpea flour.

 Remember to celebrate Diwali by making healthier food choices.

Try our baked paneer tikka recipe to celebrate Diwali with a healthy twist on a favorite.

Baked Paneer Tikka

Serves: 1


For the paneer:

2 cups paneer, cubed into 1-inch pieces

1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch cube

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cube

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cube

½ lime

For the marinade:

2 tbsp mustard oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch piece of ginger, grated

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp coriander powder or cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves


Mix all marinade ingredients into a large bowl. Add paneer and toss well ensuring an even coat. Cover and set aside for minimum 1 hour. Preheat oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit. To make skewers, alternate paneer cubes, onion, peppers, and paneer. Place skewers onto a cooling rack and bake for 15 minutes, turning the skewers halfway. For slightly charred tikka skewers, broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze lime juice on top. Enjoy!

Author – Sharon Heer

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