Finding time to cook healthy cholesterol-friendly meals can be a real challenge, and is one of the biggest reasons why people end up falling off the wagon. These cholesterol-friendly lunches are all really quick to make and don’t involve any fancy cooking techniques:-
1. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Pitta
This is one of my favourite lunches and keeps me full for hours. Smoked salmon is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to increase your good cholesterol (HDL). The NHS recommends we eat at least 140g of oily fish each week, so this is a really easy way to contribute towards that amount.
Avocados are rich in cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fats and they also contain plant sterols, which reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. I use half of a large avocado with about 50g smoked salmon, and add freshly ground pepper and lots of lemon juice.
Wholemeal pittas are a better option than white as they contain more dietary fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol. I just stick the pitta bread in the toaster until it’s nice and crispy. Beware though, when you cut it open the hot steam is pretty severe, so watch your hands and face!
2. Soup with a Bread Roll
Having soup for lunch can be a great way to get some of your five-a-day, and it’s really quick to cook in the microwave. To keep it cholesterol-friendly, make sure you avoid the creamy ones and pick varieties that have less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g.
If I don’t have any fresh bread rolls, I use Ryvitas, oatcakes or wholegrain crackers instead, which add extra cholesterol-reducing fibre.
3. Sweet Potato, Baked Beans & Ham
This is such a simple meal to prepare, but really filling and satisfying. Sweet potatoes are virtually fat free and contain dietary fibre that helps to lower cholesterol. For a speedy lunch, you can microwave them – just poke a few holes in the skin with a fork (to stop them exploding) and heat on full power for about 6 minutes until tender.
Beans are one of the top cholesterol-lowering foods, so baked beans are a great addition to your sweet potato (and they can also be heated quickly in the microwave). Try to choose the ‘no added sugar and salt’ varieties.
Ham goes really well with this dish, but make sure you choose ham that contains less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g. You could use lean chicken or turkey slices instead. I also love adding a couple of dollops of Branston Pickle on top.
4. Turkey & Mustard Wrap
Turkey is low in fat and goes really well with mustard, which is also virtually fat free. Fill a wholemeal wrap with cooked sliced deli turkey, mustard and any salad ingredients you like (such as lettuce, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, avocados and sun-dried tomatoes). Season with salt and pepper to taste, wrap it up and enjoy.
5. Tuna & Bean Salad
Tuna and beans are a great combo for a speedy cholesterol-friendly lunch as you can just open the tins and they’re pretty much good to go.
Using tinned tuna in olive oil means you don’t need to add extra sauce, and olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that not only increase your good cholesterol, but also lower the inflammatory impact of bad cholesterol on your body.
Just mix a tin of tuna in olive oil with half a tin of chickpeas, cannellini or butter beans, chopped fresh tomatoes (and/or chopped sun-dried tomatoes), olives and a few slices of red onion. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
6. Ryvitas with Houmous
When I was young, the only Ryvitas that existed were the plain ones that tasted like cardboard. But now there are tons of different varieties that taste a million times better. The ones containing seeds and oats are the best choice as they will help to reduce cholesterol even more.
Eating Ryvitas with houmous is a great way to include cholesterol-lowering beans in your lunch. You can also add other cholesterol-reducing ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, avocado pieces or olives.