If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent the last few days – actually make that weeks – eating like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve always been a massive advocate of eating what you want on holiday, and I definitely count the Christmas period as a holiday. It’s hard to avoid all the food, with all the office parties, catch-ups with friends, meals with the family….oh and the pigs in blankets – who could say no to those?!!
So I’ve decided now’s the time to start thinking about getting back into cholesterol-friendly eating. Thankfully (as we’ve got A LOT of it in our fridge right now) turkey is a great cholesterol-friendly food as it’s low in fat, high in protein and has tons of other nutrients. So I’ve put together this list of simple cholesterol-friendly ways to use up the leftovers:-
1. Turkey & Houmous Wrap
Houmous is a great accompaniment to turkey as chickpeas are one of the best cholesterol-lowering foods. Just fill a wholemeal and/or seeded wrap with leftover cooked turkey, add some dollops of houmous, salad (watercress/rocket and sun-dried tomatoes work really well with this), salt and pepper and you’re good to go.
TIP: If you have any roast vegetables left over from your Christmas meal, like carrots and parsnips, they work really well in this wrap too, but make sure they were cooked in healthy oils (like rapeseed or olive oil) and not butter.
2. Turkey & Honey Mustard Bagel
Honey mustard is a great cholesterol-friendly condiment that goes really well with turkey, and gives it a nice kick. Just take a wholemeal and/or seeded bagel, cut it in half and spread both sides with a thin layer of honey mustard. Add some leftover turkey, salad, and salt and pepper to taste.
TIP: I also like to add a sprinkling of seeds, as they’re packed with dietary fibre and healthy fats, which can help to lower cholesterol.
3. Sweet Potato with Turkey & Beans
This is a really simple meal to prepare, yet really filling and satisfying. Sweet potatoes are virtually fat free and contain dietary fibre that helps to lower cholesterol. For a speedy lunch, I microwave them – I just make a few holes in the skin with a fork (to stop them exploding) and heat them on full power for about 6 minutes until tender. Add more time if cooking more than one potato.
Beans are one of the best 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. Add the leftover cooked turkey pieces on top, and a dollop of pickle if you like it.
4. Turkey & Veg Soup
One of the easiest ways to use up your leftover cooked turkey is to add it to soup before heating it up. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to making soup, so tend to just buy the fresh ones from the supermarket, or the tinned ones.
To make sure they’re cholesterol-friendly, choose soups that contains less than 1.5g saturated fat per 100g, and preferably ones that contain vegetables.
TIP: Soups that contain beans or barley are particularly good, as they’re both rich in fibre, which is great for lowering cholesterol.
5. Turkey Stir Fry
Stir fries are one of the healthiest cholesterol-friendly dinners to make with leftover cooked turkey, as you can add loads of vegetables too.
Simply heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a wok, add a teaspoon of minced garlic and let it cook for about 10 seconds. Then add chopped vegetables (such as sweet peppers, courgettes, broccoli, red cabbage, mange tout etc) and cooked turkey pieces, then stir fry for about 5 minutes making sure the veg stays crispy. Add ‘Straight to Wok’ noodles, then add a tablespoon of honey and some soy sauce to taste. Mix thoroughly and serve when the noodles are hot enough.
TIP: I like to add cashew nuts or sesame seeds to my stir fries as it adds some crunch, and nuts and seeds contain monounsaturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol. Another great addition is Edamame beans (soybeans), which are also great at lowering cholesterol. If using them, add them at the same time as you add the veg.
6. Turkey Curry
Tomato-based curries are a great cholesterol-friendly meal option, as you can add cholesterol-lowering chickpeas and vegetables. You can use your leftover cooked turkey in this Tikka Masala recipe – simply use it instead of the chicken, ignoring the bit that says ‘and cook until sealed (stir a few times while cooking).’
TIP: Although optional, I’d recommend adding the ground flaxseeds in the ingredients list, as they actively lower cholesterol. I try to eat a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds every day, either by adding them to my breakfast cereal, muesli or pancakes, or by adding them to my evening meal, in curries, casseroles and stews. They don’t taste of much, so you can add them to most things without ruining the flavours.