Swap your fats Mediterranean style


Pasquotank County Cooperative Extension Director Ellen Owens shows how to cook mushroom burgers in a way to reduce fat while keeping the meal tasty, Wednesday. Owens was doing so as part of an N.C. State University effort to advocate the Mediterranean diet to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.


Ellen Owens
Pasquotank Cooperative Extension

Sunday, February 4, 2018

You have probably heard all the buzz about the Mediterranean “Diet”, but learning to eat in a manner that is good for your health involves more than just a diet. Eating healthy should be a lifestyle change. Eating like those who live in the Mediterranean region has been shown to promote health and decrease risk of many chronic diseases such as Type II Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Eating the Med Way also decreases the risk of some types of cancer and may protect against cognitive decline.

According to research conducted by NC State University and the North Carolina Division of Public Health, there are seven simple steps to eating The Med Way. They include: Change your Protein, Swap your Fats, Eat more Vegetables, Eat more Fruit, Snack on Nuts and Seeds, Make your Grains Whole, and Rethink your Sweets. In today’s column, we’ll focus on one important part of the Mediterranean style of eating: Swap your Fat.

Some things we can do to swap our fats include: choose olive oil, replace solid fats such as butter or margarine with olive oil or canola oil, use olive oil for cooking, in dressings and marinades, aim to consume at least four tablespoons of olive oil per day, while keeping within your calorie budget. Also, on a continuum of fat choices, saturated fats such as those generally found in animal products such as meat, butter, cheese and milk are not shown to have health-promoting properties.

These delicious recipes are a good place to get started with swapping your fat:

The Mediterranean way of eating contains very limited amounts of red meat. One way to decrease consumption of red meat is to add vegetables so that you are consuming less. This recipe “Mushroom Beef Burgers” introduces lots of mushrooms (a 1 to 1 ratio to meat) for a flavorful but lighter burger. Using a food processor will speed up your work but a good knife will do the trick as well. You want the raw mushrooms to be a little bit larger than crumbled ground beef. Then when they cook they resemble ground beef and combine well with the hamburger.

Ellen Owens is director for Pasquotank Cooperative Extension.