There’s no need to miss out on delicious comforting roast dinners when you’re managing your cholesterol, as long as you stick to these simple rules:-
1. Choose lean meats
By choosing lean meats for your roast dinner, you will be keeping the saturated fat content low, which is really important in cholesterol management. Chicken is a great choice, as it’s lean (especially the breast) and really easy to roast. Try to avoid ones basted in butter, as these will be higher in saturated fat.
Turkey is even leaner than chicken, so is another great choice for cholesterol-friendly roasts. I love turkey with cranberry sauce, especially at Christmas. Cranberries are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and research has shown that they can help the reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Shop-bought cranberry sauce tends to be quite high in sugar, so it’s best to make your own if you have time. Here’s a good recipe by ‘Cookie + Kate’.
Beef is fine too, as long as you choose cuts that are low in saturated fat, like a topside beef joint. Horseradish and mustard are great accompaniments as they’re both low in saturated fat and cholesterol-friendly.
2. Remove the meat skin & fat
By removing the skin from your chicken/turkey, and any visible fat from your beef, you’ll be making your roast dinner more cholesterol-friendly. I tend to keep the skin or fat on the meat while it’s cooking to keep the meat nice and juicy, then remove it just before serving.
3. Include lots of vegetables
Including lots of vegetables in your roast dinner that are rich in soluble fibre will help to lower your cholesterol. Some of the best sources of soluble fibre in vegetables include squash, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, all of which work really well in a roast dinner.
4. Leave the skin on potatoes
Potato skins are rich in dietary fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol, so I never remove them. You can roast potatoes as normal with the skins on, but they’ll need to be cooked for a little longer. Select floury textured potatoes labelled ‘roasting’ or ‘baking’ for best results.
5. Make the roast potatoes big & chunky
By cutting the potatoes into big pieces, you’ll be reducing the surface area to soak up the oil. This lowers the fat content of your roast dinner, making it more cholesterol-friendly.
6. Use rapeseed oil for roasting potatoes & vegetables
Rapeseed oil, heralded as the ‘British olive oil’, is rich in unsaturated fats, making it a great choice for cholesterol-lowering cooking. It is lower in saturated fat than olive oil and is one of the only unblended oils that can be heated to a high frying temperature without spoiling its nutrients or flavour.
7. Avoid sausage-meat stuffing
Most sausage-meat is high in fat and sodium, so it’s better to use low fat stuffing like sage and onion instead if you are managing your cholesterol.
8. Use low fat gravy
I tend to avoid using juices from the cooked meat for gravy, as it can be quite fatty. Saying that though, you can reduce the fat content by pouring it in a jug, leaving it to stand for a few minutes, then removing the fat that should have risen to the surface. I generally buy low fat ready-made gravy from supermarkets instead, or make my own (here’s a good recipe).
9. Don’t avoid Yorkshire Puddings!
Yorkshire puddings are fine for those with high cholesterol, as long as you make or buy ones with less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g (which most shop-bought ones are). I buy ready-made frozen ones from Tesco, as they’re very low in saturated fat, and only take 6 minutes to cook.