It’s not always easy finding cholesterol-friendly shop-bought lunches, especially if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read through all of the nutritional information. Traffic light food nutrition labels have made it a lot easier as it means you can immediately see how much saturated fat it contains, which is key when looking for cholesterol-friendly foods.
If you’re watching your cholesterol, it’s best to choose meals that contain less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g – these will show as a green coloured ‘Saturates’ or ‘Sat Fat’ segment on the food label. Ideally you want lots of greens and no reds on the food label for an all-rounded healthy lunch.
As well as low saturated fats, for maximum cholesterol-reducing effects look for meals that contain at least one of these ingredients:-
- Wholemeal Bread
- Multigrain Bread
- Rye Bread
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many cholesterol-friendly lunch options are available, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and sushi. Here are some options for both meat eaters and vegetarians:-
A lot of shop-bought sandwiches have very little nutritional content (and sometimes very little actual content too!). But if you select ones that are low in saturated fat and contain at least one cholesterol-reducing ingredient, they can still be a great way to stick to a healthy low cholesterol diet if you don’t have time to make your own lunch.
Wholemeal, multigrain and rye breads are good options if you have high cholesterol because they contain lots of fibre that can help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Some breads also contain oatmeal, which is another great cholesterol-reducing ingredient.
Generally anything with full fat mayonnaise won’t be cholesterol-friendly, but I’ve seen quite a lot of reduced-fat mayo sandwiches around, which are low in saturated fat, so can be eaten as part of a low-cholesterol diet.
Salmon sandwiches/wraps are a great option because salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to increase good cholesterol (HDL). Chicken and tuna are good filling choices too, because they are low in saturated fat, so will help to keep cholesterol low.
For meat-free sandwiches, falafel, beans and houmous are brilliant cholesterol-friendly filling options because beans and chickpeas are great at actively lowering cholesterol.
Avocados make a great addition to any sandwich too because they are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help to increase good cholesterol and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Here are some cholesterol-friendly sandwich/wrap options:-
- Boots Tuna & Horseradish Sandwich
- EAT Smoked Scottish Salmon & Soft Cheese
- M&S Chicken & Avocado Sandwich
- M&S Mexican Style Chicken Wrap with Black Bean Salsa
- Pret a Manger Cucumber & Humous on Rye (v)
- Pret a Manger Falafel & Red Tapanade Sandwich (v)
- Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself Egg & Cress (v)
- Sainsbury’s Falafel & Houmous Wrap (v)
- Subway Chicken Teriyaki Low Fat Sub
- Tesco Salmon And Cucumber Sandwich
Salads are a great choice for lunch if you have high cholesterol, because they can contain lots of nutritional, cholesterol-lowering ingredients. Make sure you choose ones that are low in saturated fat: unfortunately that means avoiding most of the creamy, mayonnaise pasta/potato salads, but there are still lots of other alternatives that don’t just consist of watery iceberg lettuce and a few slices of limp cucumber.
Bean-based salads, or salads containing houmous, are a brilliant choice because beans and chickpeas are well-known for actively lowering cholesterol. Look for salads with nuts and seeds in too, because they are packed with dietary fibre and healthy fats, which can help to lower cholesterol.
Here are some cholesterol-friendly salad options:-
- EAT Chipotle Chicken and Avocado Salad
- EAT Hot Smoked Salmon & Potato Salad
- EAT Miso & Tahini Beef Salad
- EAT Spicy Chicken Noodle Salad
- Itsu Chicken Superseed Salad
- Itsu Hip, Humble & Healthy Salad (v)
- M&S Nutty Super Wholefood Salad (v)
- Pret a Manger Roast Salmon and Avo Superbowl
- Tesco Falafel Red Pepper And Tabbouleh Salad (v)
- Tesco Thai Chicken With Spiralised Salad
- Waitrose LoveLife Mixed Bean & Goats Cheese Salad (v)
Sushi is a brilliant, albeit pretty pricey, cholesterol-friendly lunch option because it is naturally low in saturated fat (as long as you avoid the ones with mayonnaise). Most sushi contains oily fish, like salmon and tuna steak, which is rich in healthy fats that can help to increase good cholesterol. It often comes with Edamame beans too, which are high in fibre and can help reduce bad cholesterol.
Brown rice sushi makes it an even healthier option, because brown rice is rich in soluble fibre, which can help to increase good cholesterol. I haven’t seen many places that sell brown rice sushi though, apart from Wasabi, which sells it in some of their stores. Hopefully other shops and eateries will follow suit.
Here are some cholesterol-friendly sushi/sashimi options:-
- Itsu Mixed Sashimi
- Itsu Omega 3 Salmon Supreme
- Itsu Salmon Edamame Sushi
- Itsu Veggie Club Maki Rolls (v)
- Pret a Manger Mushroom & Avo Sushi Salad (v)
- Pret a Manger Teriyaki Salmon Sushi Salad
- Tesco Ultimate Salmon Selection
- Wasabi Mini Hosomaki Set
- Wasabi Mini Veg Sushi Set (v)
- Wasabi Salmon Nigiri Set (brown rice)
- Wasabi Yasai Roll Set (v)
(v) = suitable for vegetarians