Low Fat Foods List


In order to be ‘low fat’ a food, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must derive less than or equal to 30% of its total calories from fat or 3 g fat or less per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC). An easy way to find out if the food you are choosing is low fat is to check out the nutrition facts panel on the side or back of the package. As a rule of thumb, one serving should provide roughly 3 g fat per 100-calorie serving. Thus, if a food item provides 260 calories and 10 g fat, you know that it is a bit over the recommended limit for a low fat food. The following is a brief low fat foods list that does not cover beverages (except milk products) or condiments.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods

Many foods are naturally low in fat. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains and starches are often low in fat. Cereals (except for granola and cereals with nuts and coconut), rice, pasta and other grains such as barley, quinoa, buckwheat, cornmeal, rolled or steel-cut oats are a few examples. Nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables and their juices (except avocados, coconuts and olives) are low in fat. Legumes (starchy beans) and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, winter squash, parsnips, rutabagas and turnips are naturally low in fat. Some packaged snacks and miscellaneous foods are low in fat, such as pretzels, low-fat microwave popcorn or plain, air-popped popcorn, some whole grain crackers (check the label); sugar-free/fat-free pudding and Jello; applesauce and graham crackers.

Protein-Rich Foods

Skinless, white-meat turkey breast is the leanest of all meats. Poultry products however, such as ground chicken, ground turkey breast, skinless chicken, many varieties of fish and shellfish are low fat foods. NOTE: just because a meat is labeled ‘lean’ does not mean it is low in fat! In fact, according to the FDA, products labeled ‘lean’ must provide less than 10 g fat and 4.5 g saturated fat per serving which is not ‘low’ in fat. Extra lean meats must contain 5 g or less total fat and 2 g or less saturated fat per serving. Example of cuts of extra lean meats that are low fat per 100-g serving include grass-fed strip steaks, tip round beef, trimmed to 0″ fat (select) and eye of round beef, trimmed to 1/8″ fat (choice). Pork tenderloin (with all visible fat removed) is as lean as a chicken breast. Most varieties of fish, such as cod, tilapia, perch, pike, sunfish, orange roughy tuna (fresh or canned in water) are all low in fat.

Yogurt (comes in low- and non-fat versions), kefir (fermented yogurt beverage), skim and 1% cow’s milk as well as soy milk substitutes are low fat foods. Few cheeses are low in fat unless specified on the label. An exception is 1% milk fat or skim cottage and low-fat ricotta cheeses. The fat of an egg is almost entirely in the yolk; egg whites are fat-free.


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