Once upon a time, we all enjoyed the sweet, rich cream taste of butter. But then, butter went over to the dark side: it was found to be loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol, increasing our LDL's and risk of heart disease. Bummer. At this point people started looking at margarine as a healthier choice. It was made out of healthier polyunsaturated oils, had no natural cholesterol since it did not come from an animal source, so Ta-da-ta-da! (A commerical for Imperial margarine, when you took a bite, the Ta-da-ta-da- jingle would play and a crown would pop up on your head. Guess you had to be there :)
- Both have 100 calories per tablespoon, so there is no winner there if you are watching calories, unless you choose light.
- We need to use less of both butter and transfatty margarine.
- Ask yourself what are you using the butter or margarine for? So...
Major Health Rule: Use liquid oils whenever possible:
-olive oil on whole grain baguette
-canola oil and water to make biscuits, pancakes, etc.
- Try nut butters on toast, or all-fruit jams, such as Simply Fruit (counts as a fruit serving!
- Choose the softest margarine you can. Leave the stick margarine at the store. Find ingredients such as canola, corn, safflower, sesame, soybean, sunflower oils listed as the first ingredient.
- Check labels: no transfats and less than 2 g. saturated fat on your spreads, if possible.
- If your family loves butter, choose soft butter tubs that are whipped with heart healthy canola oil or olive oil. Land O Lakes makes a good one that has 4 g. saturated fats, 1.5 g. polyunsaturated fats, and 5 g. monounsaturated fats, and 0 g. of transfats. The heart healthy oils off set the not so healthy fat, and leave behind the creamery taste that you want.
- Choose the lighter versions of margarine or butter for fewer calories: the first ingredient will be water, the second your healthy oils.
- Cholesterol lowering spreads. Some spreads are available that have plant sterols or stanols that provide some heart health benefit in their ability to lower cholesterol. The trouble is, you need to consume 2 tablespoons of these to get the full benefit.
- Use less spread. Period. A tablespoon is way too big a serving size. Think in terms of a teaspoon.
- Increase the ratio of healthy oils to evil fats: more olive oil, less butter, margarine.