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Saturated fat

We are all eating too much unhealthy fat

A Change4Life character biting into a burger. The grease dripping from the burger is forming the word "Fat"

Cut back on sat fat

We all know too much fat is bad for us — but we don't always know how much or what type of fat we're eating. There can be a surprising amount of saturated fat in everyday food and drink!

Kids get a lot of their sat fat from...

  • Butter
  • Cheese*

  • Cakes
  • Pastries

  • Chocolate
  • Biscuits

  • Sausages
  • Pizza

* Cut back on sat fat in dairy by changing for lower-fat options, such as swapping whole milk for lower-fat milks.

How sat fat affects our kids

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Eating too much fat can make us put on weight. This can stop our bodies producing enough insulin, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer

Being overweight increases our risk of bowel cancer. But a diet high in fibre and low in saturated fat keeps our bowel healthy and reduces the risk of cancer.

How much is too much?

The maximum daily amounts of sat fat for you and your family are:

4-6 years

4 to 6-year-olds: 18 grams of fat


7-10 years

22 grams of fat


11+ years

28 grams of fat


Focus on healthy fats!

Avocado and salmon

Having unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can help lower blood cholesterol to protect your heart. Foods like fish (especially oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and trout), unsalted nuts, seeds and yummy avocado are rich in unsaturated fat.

Swaps and tips

You can cut back on sat fat with these simple swaps. The good news is they're often lower in sugar and salt, too!

Sat fat swaps

To cut back on saturated fat, try these swaps:

  • Swap from croissants to wholemeal toast
  • Swap from sugary yoghurts to low-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt with banana
  • Swap from muffins to a fruited teacake
  • Swap from sausages to low-fat mince – see our recipe for meatballs 'n' sauce
  • Swap from ice cream to cherry berry crumble
  • Swap from whole milk to lower-fat milk
Illustrations of 3 food swaps to make in order to cut down on saturated fat
Illustration of 3 more food swaps to cut back on saturated fat

Easy ways to cut back

Clever cooking

Avoid adding extra oil or butter when cooking. Try grilling, baking, steaming or poaching instead.

Choose smart snacks

After school, swap biscuits and muffins for healthier snacks like fruit, plain rice cakes, toast with lower-fat spread, fruited teacakes or bagels.

Scan the shelves

Use the Food Scanner smartphone app to see how much fat is in your favourite food or drink – look for products that are low in sat fat.

Enjoy more fish

Processed meats like sausages, burgers and bacon are high in sat fat. Choose more fish – especially oily fish, such as mackerel or salmon, for some healthy unsaturated fat – or try peas, beans and lentils instead.

Packet of lean mince

Keep meat lean

Choose lower-fat mince and always trim any visible fat from your meat before cooking. This is where most of the sat fat is.

Amazing avocado

Avocado is rich in unsaturated fats. Spread it on toast, put it in a sandwich or mash it into a delicious dip. Half an avocado counts as 1 of your 5 A Day!

Shop smart

At the supermarket, look out for reduced-fat versions of your family favourites like lower-fat milks, cheeses and sauces.

Get the free Food Scanner app

Scan barcodes using the app to find out what's inside popular food and drink.

Download the Food Scanner on the App Store   Download the Food Scanner on Google Play

Image from the Food Scanner TV advert: Change4Life characters holding up a box of sugary cereal, and a hand holding a smartphone with the Food Scanner app showing how much sugar is in the cereal

If you don't have the app...

Food labels often have traffic light colours to show the fat content. Choose more greens and ambers, and fewer reds.

Example traffic light label with values for energy (kilojoules and kilocalories); fat, saturates, sugars and salt (all grams), each's percentage of the recommended daily amount, and colour-coded as red, amber or green

Red means this food is high in fat. Think about how often you choose it and how much of it you eat.

Amber means this food has a medium amount of fat. This makes it an OK choice, although going for green is even better.

Green means it's low in fat, which makes it a healthier choice.

Super simple supermarket swaps!