Foods low in saturated fat include fresh produce such as vegetables and fruit. Other foods low in saturated fat are certain oils, such as olive oil. Protein sources can also have low levels of saturated fat or contain no saturated fats. Fish and chicken without skin are foods low in saturated fat but high in protein, as are legumes and certain types of nuts. Saturated fat is generally considered unhealthy because it can raise cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease.
Vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, and potatoes are all low in saturated fat. The method of preparing vegetables can add saturated and other unwanted fats, such as trans fat, to them, though. For example, frying potatoes in duck fat or another oil that contains a lot of saturated fat will add considerable amounts of fats to the vegetable. Coating lettuce or other vegetables in a mayonnaise-based dressing adds saturated fat as well.
Fresh, canned, or frozen fruit is also usually low in saturated fat. A person can eat fruit on its own or with added ingredients, such as sugar syrup or spices, without worrying about consuming too much fat. As with vegetables, it is possible to add considerable levels of saturated fat to a fruit dish, though. Tossing fresh fruit such as berries with whipped cream or ice cream will add saturated fat.
When cooking with fat, a cook may choose oils that have low saturated fat levels. Extra virgin and regular olive oil do not contain saturated fat. This type of oil contains mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats, which are considered healthier.
Other oils low in saturated fat include canola oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil. While peanut oil contains saturated fat, it contains less than other types of fat, such as butter or lard. Peanut oil also contains higher levels of unsaturated fats.
Foods low in saturated fat also include foods from animal sources. Fish such as salmon is generally low in saturated fat. Removing the skin from certain types of poultry, such as chicken or turkey, reduces the amount of saturated fat in the meat. Some foods that usually contain a lot of fat, such as dairy products, are also available in low-fat or no-fat forms.
Other sources of protein that are low in saturated fat include some nuts, such as almonds, and beans or other legumes. Soybeans are an excellent source of protein and are low in fat. Beans and nuts are also a good source of fiber in a diet.