The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is launching a major campaign to raise awareness of the positive changes we can all make to reduce the amount of saturated fat we eat.

The campaign aims to reduce our saturated fat intake by encouraging us all to make easy practical changes to the way we shop, cook and eat, such as simply eating chicken without the skin, grating cheese instead of slicing so you eat less of it, and using sunflower or olive oil instead of butter when cooking. The campaign will also remind people to compare labels and choose the option that is lower in saturated fat as a simple way to reduce the amount of saturated fat in their diet.

Evidence shows that in the UK we are on average eating 20% more than the recommended maximum amount, which, over time, could lead to a build up of fatty deposits in the arteries that supply the heart. This can put you at greater risk of heart disease and heart attacks, which reduce the quality of life for those living with the illness and, in worst cases, are fatal.

Simple steps to less Sat Fat - Shopping Tips

  • Choose low and lower-fat varieties of dairy foods such as semi-skimmed, 1% fat milk or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurts and lower-fat cheeses
  • Look at the label when choosing cheese as different varieties of cheese can have different saturated fat levels. Soft cheese tends to have less than hard cheese
  • Check the label when buying meat as there can be big variances between the types of meat, cut of meat and how it has been prepared
  • The more white you can see on meat, the more fat it contains. So, for example, back bacon has less than half the saturated fat of streaky bacon
  • Go for turkey and chicken without the skin
  • Go for leaner varieties of mince – the saturated fat content can vary widely
  • Look out for coatings and sauces which may increase the saturated fat levels
  • Have pies with only one crust rather than two – either a lid or a base – because pastry is very high in saturated fat
  • Choosing a fat spread with lower total fat per 100g generally means that the saturated fat content per 100g will be lower. Go for polyunsaturated or mono-unsaturated spreads where possible and not dairy based spreads
  • If you are going to have crisps – check the label and choose those with the lower saturated fat – as there is often a big difference between brands. Crisps and savoury snacks cooked in sunflower or rapeseed oils tend to be lower in saturated fat than those cooked in unspecified vegetable oils
  • Go easy on 'sharer' or 'grab' bags of sweet and savoury snacks as portion sizes are harder to estimate

Simple steps to less Sat Fat - Habits

  • Try having smaller portions of cheese or eating it less often
  • Grate your cheese – you'll eat less
  • Try to limit the amount of buns, cakes, pastries, pies and biscuits you eat
  • Try to limit the amount of sausages, salami, pâté and beef burgers you eat, as these are generally high in saturated fat and often high in salt too
  • Remember that meat products in pastry, such as pies and sausage rolls, are high in saturated fat, as they may contain fatty cuts of meat and the fat in pastry
  • If you are going to have something 'sweet', instead of cakes or biscuits, try having a currant bun, scone or some malt loaf, plain or with lower fat or reduced fat spread
  • Snack foods can be high in saturated fat and salt and should only be seen as a treat
  • We can enjoy chocolate treats every now and again, but think about how often and how much you eat of them instead of getting into a habit of eating them every day

Simple steps to less Sat Fat - Swapping

  • Swap red meat for fish or turkey/chicken without the skin on
  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato or vegetable based sauces
  • Swap butter for vegetable oil based spreads
  • Swap a large whole milk coffee for a regular 'skinny' latte

Simple steps to less Sat Fat - Cooking

  • If you're using cheese to flavour a dish or a sauce, you could try using a very strong-tasting cheese, such as mature Cheddar, as you'll need less. Also look out for some of the great tasting reduced fat versions that are available
  • Cut any visible fat and skin off meat before cooking
  • Grill meat rather than frying
  • Use unsaturated oils such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed oils instead of butter, lard and ghee in cooking
  • Make mashed potato with olive oil and garlic instead of butter and milk
  • Make mashed potato with low fat spread and semi-skimmed milk