A low-fat diet is a diet plentiful in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with a moderate intake of meat and dairy products, according to WebMD. Fat should make up only 20 to 35 percent of one's daily calories.
A person trying to lose weight by following a low-fat diet should also be monitoring total calories consumed and getting regular exercise, states WebMD. Extra calories are stored as fat, so it's not enough to only substitute high-fat foods for fat-free or low-fat foods. Often these substitutes are high in calories, making them poor choices for weight loss.
Plant-based carbohydrates are naturally low in fat, while many proteins are animal-based, such as meats, fish and poultry, reports WebMD. Choose lean cuts of meat as well as beans, tofu, tuna packed in water and low-fat dairy products. Some fats are healthy, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
When cooking for a low-fat diet, remove all visible fat from cuts of meat and poultry, and use cooking methods such as baking, broiling or grilling on a rack, explains WebMD. Avoid using oils and deep frying or sauteing foods. Substitute butter, cheese, sauces, gravies and heavy cream for lemon juice, spices and low-fat salad dressing. Replace cake, ice cream and pie with fresh fruit, non-fat yogurt, sorbet or sherbet.