Cholesterol-friendly eating doesn’t need to be boring. You can continue to eat some of your favourite foods and still lower your cholesterol.
The foods listed below are low in saturated fat, meaning you can eat them as part of a cholesterol-friendly diet. They’re fairly high in salt however, so are best eaten in moderation and eaten with foods that actively lower cholesterol (suggestions included below):-
I absolutely love tacos. Thankfully taco shells contain only 0.3g saturated fat, and soft tacos even less. It’s the fillings that can make them unhealthy, because they tend to include cheese or soured cream. But if you make your own at home they can be a really healthy and tasty cholesterol-friendly meal choice.
Here are some great cholesterol-friendly taco recipes to try:-
- Caribbean chicken tacos
- Chicken tacos with pineapple salsa
- Portobello tacos with chimichurri (v)
- Smoky lentil & sweet potato tacos (v)
- Tilapia fish tacos with peach salsa
- Veggie tacos with tomatillo sauce (v)
I always add beans to my taco fillings to help lower my cholesterol, like kidney beans, black beans or lentils. You could replace a third of the meat with beans, and it won’t affect the taste too much.
It’s best to avoid cheese and soured cream as toppings, as they’re high in saturated fat. Salsa however is a great cholesterol-friendly topping as it’s low in saturated fat and contains cholesterol-lowering vegetables. Shop-bought varieties are a good option as long as they don’t contain too much sugar. Alternatively you can make your own cholesterol-friendly homemade salsa, like this one.
Guacamole is another great cholesterol-friendly topping, as avocados can help to lower cholesterol. Shop-bought varieties often contain cream or cheese, so it’s best to make your own cholesterol-friendly version at home, like this one. Or if you’re short of time, simply add sliced avocados to your tacos.
2. Poppadoms & Naan Bread
Most of the plain shop-bought poppadoms and naan breads are low in saturated fat, which is great news for curry lovers!
Poppadoms are also generally made with lentil or chickpea flour, which is high in cholesterol-lowering dietary fibre.
Curries can be eaten as part of a low cholesterol diet as long as you steer clear of ones made with cream, butter or coconut milk. If you have high cholesterol, add cholesterol-lowering chickpeas, lentils, garlic or ground flaxseeds to your curries.
Here are some tasty cholesterol-friendly curry recipes to try:-
- Chicken & vegetable masala
- Chickpea peanut butter curry (v) *
- Slow cooker chicken saag curry
- Super quick fish madras
- Vegetarian masoor dhal curry (v)
*Use almond milk rather than coconut milk
3. Filo Pastry
I truly believe that anything can taste good with a pastry topping! So I love the fact that filo pastry is low in saturated fat, meaning it can be eaten as part of a cholesterol-friendly diet.
Here are some of my favourite cholesterol-friendly filo recipes:-
- Chicken & mushroom pie
- Lentil and roasted vegetable filo triangles (v)
- Spiced salmon & chickpea pie
- Turkey, spinach & mushroom filo parcels
I tend to use spray olive oil to stick the folded bits together and give it a golden coat, which keeps the fat content low. I also add cholesterol-lowering beans to the filling and sprinkle seeds over the pastry after cooking to help lower my cholesterol.
4. Fish Fingers
Even though I’m in my thirties I still love fish fingers, so it’s great that they’re low in fat and cholesterol-friendly. I always have some stocked up in the freezer. The ‘Birds Eye’ Omega 3 ones are my favourite, as Omega 3 fatty acids can help to lower cholesterol.
Make sure you buy fish fingers that are low in saturated fat (i.e. contain less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g). They generally contain a fair amount of salt, so should still be eaten in moderation.
5. Oven Chips/Fries
The perfect accompaniment to fish fingers! Frozen oven chips are much healthier than you might think as long as you choose varieties that are low in saturated fat (i.e. contain less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g) and not too high in salt.
One of my favourite comfort meals is Omega 3 fish fingers, oven chips and baked beans. This is actually a pretty good cholesterol-lowering meal because of the Omega 3s in the fish and fibre in the beans, but should still be eaten in moderation because of the salt and sugar content.
6. Yorkshire Puddings
Yorkshire puddings are generally cholesterol-friendly as long as you make or buy ones with less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g (which most shop-bought ones are). So you can have a proper roast dinner without missing out! For tips on how to make a cholesterol-friendly roast dinner, see this blog post.