Shop Smart

What should be on your good fats shopping list? Options can be found throughout the grocery store. It is easy to make smart, heart-healthy choices by knowing what key foods contain good fats, and by reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Use this guide to navigate the aisles and choose the best options to fill your cart with good fats.

Avocados

This fruit is rich in monounsaturated (omega-9) fats and also contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. Picking the perfect avocado can be a bit tricky, since color doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness. Use these tips to select a good fruit:

  • Instead of relying solely on color, select avocados that firm, but yield to gentle pressure.
  • If you purchase an unripe avocado, speed up the ripening process by placing it in a paper bag at room temperature. Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator.

Olives

These heart-healthy gems are loaded with nutrition, including monounsaturated fat and antioxidants. Need ideas to incorporate more olives into your diet? Our tips are sure to provide you with a little culinary inspiration.

Oils

Take a walk down the grocery aisle and it is easy to see the cooking oils options are endless! So which ones are best? Opt for oils high in monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, containing less saturated fat and no trans fat. Beyond your cooking oil, these healthy oils are an ingredient in many other products in your refrigerator and pantry, such as sauces, dressings and spreads.

  • Pick: Canola, olive, sunflower, safflower, peanut, corn oil
  • Skip: Tropical oils, such as palm, palm kernel, coconut, which are high in saturated fats

For more information on today’s most popular oils, visit our Oil Spotlight section.

Nuts and Seeds

Whether you choose almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or peanut butter, they all contain good fats!

These nutrition powerhouses supply a healthy combination of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, along with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here are some delicious options to try:

  • Nuts: Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts
  • Seeds: Chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, wheat germ
  • Nut Butters: Almond, peanut, walnut, sunflower

Fish

Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been tied to several health benefits. How do you know which fish contain these beneficial fats? Choose darker fleshed fish over light, white colored fish, such as cod and pollock. Good options include herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna. You can buy fresh fish at the meat counter or opt for frozen filets in the freezer section.

Use the Nutrition Facts Panel and Packaging Claims to Make Good Choices

For canned or packaged foods, it is important to read the labels to determine what kind of fats those products contain. Use these tips to make good choices:

  • Check nutrition labels for low saturated fat and no trans fat.
  • Watch out for ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and palm or coconut oils (high in saturated fat).
  • Some nutrition labels will display the good fats information, but it is not a federal requirement to list on the label, so you may have to do the math yourself. To determine the good fats on a nutrition label, subtract the bad fats from the total fat. Total fat – Bad fat = Good fats.
  • Use the ingredients list to identify the primary fat sources. Choose products containing good fats such as canola oil, sunflower oil and high oleic oils.
  • Do not be deceived by “low-fat” or “fat-free” claims, since these products can be high in added sugar.
  • Look for packaging claims outside the nutrition label that indicate good fats have replaced bad fats, such as “contains X grams of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Take a copy of our shopping list and nutrition label guide with you the next time you go to the store. Have fun stocking your cart with good fats!