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Fat often gets a bad rap in the diet circles, but a small amount of good fat is critical to a healthy lifestyle. The body uses it for lubrication in the formation of steroid hormones for many bodily functions like your metabolism and to transport essential vitamins. The trick is to focus on healthy unsaturated fats and incorporate them into your diet, but how?

Question the Fat-Free Angle

The fat-free trend is coming to an end as people start to understand the importance of healthy fat in their daily lives. The problem with stripping food of all fat is that you might be eliminating something your body needs, especially your heart. That’s why a product labeled “fat-free” isn’t necessarily the best choice.

Peanut butter is a great example of this theory in action. A regular serving of peanut butter contains a healthy dose of unsaturated omega-3 fat, which is good for the heart. However, people watching their waistlines may gravitate towards the low-fat variety to save a few calories and, by doing so; they lose all that healthy fat (and may also gain sugar). In this scenario, the regular peanut butter is really the smarter choice. As with anything, just use in moderation!

Make Use of the Avocado

It is a staple item in the Mediterranean Diet because it contains that good fat a body needs. It's also becoming pretty trendy and popular -- partly because it's so versatile. You can fit it into many different types of dishes. Try adding a slice to your next sandwich for a healthy fat boost. It also goes well with pasta and even works with some soft desserts, like a mousse. Don’t go overboard, because the high-fat content also pushes up the calorie count – just a slice here and there will do the trick.

Add Some Beans to Your Smoothie

Like the avocado, navy beans are a versatile ingredient. Even if you aren't a big fan of the beans, you can sneak them into different foods without changing the taste. By adding a few spoonfuls of navy beans to your health smoothie, you incorporate both good fat and extra fiber into your breakfast. You can also try black beans blended into your berry smoothie, instead. If you simply can't stomach the idea of beans for breakfast (don't knock it 'til you try it!), you can add some ground flax for a similar health benefit.

Make Your Next Pasta Dish a Little Nutty

Everybody’s favorite pasta dish just got even better. Whether you make it from scratch or use the box variety, macaroni and cheese tastes richer when you add some heart-healthy nuts to the recipe. In fact, many vegan mac n' cheese recipes use cashews as a cheese substitute. Just blend them up and mix them in to enjoy that good fat. Experiment with the combination of pasta and nuts to see what works best for your palate.

Enjoy these tips to incorporate good fats into your lifestyle -- your body will thank you!  Want more ideas? Check out other urgent care and health blogs

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Urgent Care Association of America