6 Healthy Fats That Count as PowerFuels

Article posted in: Nutrisystem
avocado toast with tomatoes

Fats tend to have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss. They are higher in calories, so many people often avoid them. However, our bodies need fats for a variety of reasons, making them an essential part of a healthy diet and weight loss plan.

Fats help us absorb certain vitamins and minerals in our food. Like protein, fats can be a good source of energy and they help us feel satisfied after eating. The key to eating fats when you’re trying to shed excess pounds is to choose healthy varieties. (Learn more about the benefits of healthy fats here! >) In fact, the good fats can be considered a PowerFuel on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan.

Our expert dietitians say you can include healthy fat foods as PowerFuels when you’re building your meals: One PowerFuel is between 80 to 120 calories with at least five grams of protein OR at least eight grams of total fat (with no more than four grams of saturated fat)

While healthy fats have always been a part of the PowerFuel category in the form of nuts, nut butters and other ingredients, we wanted to provide even more guidance on the amount of healthy fat to look for when selecting PowerFuels. This allows some foods that were once only limited Extras, but contained healthy fats (like avocados), to fit into the plan as a PowerFuel.

When choosing healthy fats as your PowerFuel add-ins, it’s important to stick to proper portion sizes. One thing to be mindful of is that fat has more calories per gram of food than protein does. This means that with these healthy fat options, you will get less volume of food overall than if you were choosing a protein source. For example, one tablespoon of oil will be less volume of food than two ounces of chicken, even though they have about the same amount of calories.

Healthy fats do fill us up and can be very satiating, so a little bit can go a long way in keeping us full! Overall, using healthy fats for PowerFuels is a great option for those that may be on higher calorie meal plans and struggle with the volume of food they need to eat each day to meet their calorie goals.

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To help you think about how to incorporate healthy fats as PowerFuels into your diet, here are a half-dozen options and a few ideas for enjoying them:

1. Avocado

fresh avocado halves being scooped out with a spoon

Serving size: 1/3 of a medium avocado = 1 PowerFuel

The creamy, mild-flavored flesh from inside an avocado makes a tasty replacement for mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps. Add avocado slices to your favorite Southwestern entrees or toss some cubes into a green salad. You can whip up a quick guacamole by mixing together mashed avocadoes with your favorite salsa (a Free food).

Start your day with a quick and filling breakfast that’s full of flavor with avocado toast. Simply choose a fiber-rich bread, pop it in the toaster, then spread on some mashed avocado. Top it with your favorite non-starchy veggies, such as sliced tomatoes and onions. You could even sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and black pepper for an extra kick!

Note that a smaller serving size of avocado (one tablespoon, pureed) is considered an Extra on Nutrisystem.

2. Oils

woman pouring cooking oil over vegetables

Serving size: 1 tablespoon = 1 PowerFuel

The simple addition of cooking oil can bring out the flavors of other ingredients and make a meal much more satisfying. Oils come from many sources, such as olives and avocados.

While a smaller amount of oil (one teaspoon) is considered an Extra on Nutrisystem, you can enjoy a larger serving (one tablespoon) as a PowerFuel. Whip up a quick salad dressing with oil, apple cider vinegar and your favorite spices to drizzle over fresh greens. You can also use oil to roast vegetables or to marinate chicken.

Check out our simple guide to help you choose the right oil for your cooking needs.

3. Seeds

Wooden spoons with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on a gray concrete background

Serving size: 2-3 tablespoons (varies depending on the type) = 1 PowerFuel

Sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax, chia and other types of seeds are tiny packets of potent nutrients. They’re not only rich in healthy fats, but they also come with valuable vitamins and minerals.

Seeds are easy to mix into oatmeal and yogurt or to sprinkle over raw or cooked vegetables. Flax seeds are especially high in fiber. When soaked in water, chia seeds become like a gelatin you can use to make a low-calorie pudding or a vegan egg substitute for baking.

Note that a smaller serving of seeds (one teaspoon) is considered an Extra on Nutrisystem.

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4. Olives

Bowl of olives

Serving size: ½ cup = 1 PowerFuel

Olives add a hint of salty flavor and a light, fruity taste to salads, pasta dishes, pizza, wraps and omelets. They come in many varieties and are sold with or without their hard pits removed. Olives may be flavored with garlic or hot peppers and stuffed with pimentos (a kind of sweet pepper). Try a few different types to find the one you love.

Note that a smaller serving of olives (6-7 small black or green olives) are considered an Extra on Nutrisystem.

5. Nuts

assorted nuts in a jar for a healthy snack

Serving size:  2 tablespoons = 1 PowerFuel

If you’re looking for a ready-to-eat PowerFuel that you can take with you wherever you go, nuts are the simple answer. Peanuts, almonds, cashews and other nuts have plenty of protein to go with their healthy fats. You can go with individual types alone or mixes. Whichever you choose, be sure to pick those that have been “dry roasted” and lightly salted (or even better, unsalted).

Whip up a Sweet and Smoky Trail Mix featuring a satisfying blend of nuts and seeds, along with dried fruit. It’s seasoned with a savory blend of spices, such as garlic and chili powder.

6. Nut Butters

crunchy peanut butter in a jar

Serving size: 1 tablespoon = 1 PowerFuel

Peanut butter is a classic ingredient in one of the most popular sandwiches, PB&J. But now you can choose from other varieties of nut butter, such as almond butter or cashew butter. You can also find butters made from seeds like sunflower seed butter.

All nut butters make a quick dip for vegetables like celery. For extra flavor and healthy fats, mix a serving of nut butter into your favorite whole-wheat pancake mix or drizzle it over your Nutrisystem Homestyle Pancakes as your morning PowerFuel.

Looking for more PowerFuel ideas? Download our Grocery Guide here! >

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