Snacks can be a great opportunity to include extra cholesterol-lowering foods in your daily diet. I have a snack every day at around 4pm when my blood sugar levels dip, and this keeps me going until dinner time. Here are some quick and simple cholesterol-friendly snacks for you to try:-
1. Wholemeal toast with avocado
Wholemeal (wholegrain) bread is high in fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol. Alternatively you could use seeded or rye bread. For a list of cholesterol-lowering varieties of bread available in UK supermarkets see this blog post.
Avocados contain healthy fats that can help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), so make a great toast topping. I cut thin slices to spread on my toast, then add a bit of salt or some houmous.
2. Low fat popcorn
Home-popped popcorn (made from pure kernels) is a great cholesterol-friendly snack because it’s low in fat and contains fibre that helps to lower cholesterol. You can add a sprinkling of salt, sugar, cocoa powder or melted nut butter.
There are also lots of delicious cholesterol-friendly ready made popcorn varieties available in shops that are low in saturated fat. These are my favourites:-
- Metcalfes Skinny Sea Salt
- Metcalfes Skinny Sweet ‘n Salt
- Portlebay Popcorn Crispy Bacon & Maple
- Propercorn Peanut Butter And Almond
- Propercorn Sweet Coconut And Vanilla
- Propercorn Sweet & Salty
Note, shop-bought popcorn tends to have quite a bit of added sugar, so it’s best eaten in moderation.
3. Oatcakes with peanut butter
Oats are one of the top cholesterol-lowering foods, so I try to eat them every day. Oatcakes are a good way to include oats in your snacks as you can add simple toppings, like peanut butter or other nut butters. Make sure you choose ones that contain 100% nuts (and no extra oil or sugar) like these:-
- Biona Organic Mixed Nut Butter
- Biona Organic Almond Butter
- Meridian Almond or Peanut Butter
- Tesco 100% Almond or Peanut Butter
- Tesco 100% Crunchy 3 Nut Butter
There are lots of other cholesterol-friendly oatcake toppings you could also try – see this blog post for some simple ideas.
4. Apple & mango smoothie
This delicious smoothie contains four of the top cholesterol lowering foods: apples, oats, ground flaxseeds and almond butter. The oats bulk it out and will keep you feeling full for longer, so it’s a great mid-afternoon snack that should keep you satisfied until dinner time.
5. Baked beans on wholemeal toast
Baked beans are another great cholesterol-lowering food, and are also relatively cheap. Eating baked beans on wholemeal (wholegrain) toast will provide you with lots of cholesterol-lowering fibre, and should keep you full for a while. It’s best to choose the reduced salt and sugar variety of beans if you don’t mind the taste.
6. Fruit salad with fat free yoghurt
Fruit contains cholesterol-lowering fibre, making it a great cholesterol-friendly snack choice. I like to add flaked almonds or seeds to my fruit salads, which also help to lower cholesterol. This is my favourite combination.
7. Apple slices with almond butter
Apples are another top cholesterol-lowering food, so they can make the simplest cholesterol-friendly snack eaten just as they are, or sliced and dipped in sugar free nut butter. I found this great idea on ‘The Kitchn’ blog to cut donut-shaped apple slices, then layer them like a sandwich with peanut butter, oats and raisins inside.
8. A glass of soya milk
Research has shown that soya products can help to lower cholesterol, so a glass of soya milk makes a good cholesterol-friendly snack. Make sure you choose soya milk with no added sugar, like ‘Alpro unsweetened fresh soya milk’.
An alternative to soya milk is almond milk, which can also help to lower cholesterol. Again, choose ones with no added sugar, like ‘Innocent unsweetened almond milk’.
9. Crackers with houmous
Houmous contains chickpeas, which are rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre. You can make your own at home (see recipe here) or use your favourite shop-bought variety. These crackers are all low in saturated fat and contain cholesterol-lowering ingredients:-
- Milton’s Multigrain Crackers
- Rude Health Buckwheat & Black Bean Crackers
- Rude Health Chickpea & Lentil Crackers
- Rude Health Oat & Spelt Crackers
- Ryvita Beetroot Crackers
Alternatively you could have the houmous with wholemeal pitta bread, wholemeal toast, rice cakes, carrot sticks, celery sticks or sweet peppers.
10. Soya yoghurt with berries
This is a great cholesterol-friendly snack, because soya products can help to lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and berries can help to raise good cholesterol levels (HDL). For more tips on how to raise your good cholesterol levels, see this blog post.
11. Low fat bean or barley soup
Soup can make a very filling and healthy cholesterol-friendly snack if you choose the right varieties. It needs to be low in saturated fat (i.e. less than 1.5g per 100g), low in salt and sugar, and ideally should contain cholesterol-lowering foods like beans or barley.
12. A handful of edamame beans
Edamame (soya) beans can help to lower cholesterol and are also a good source of plant based protein. You can buy big frozen packs of shelled edamame beans from the supermarket, which last for ages.
13. Seeded Ryvitas with ‘Eatlean’ cheese
I discovered this cholesterol-friendly cheese that tastes really good, so I often have it as a snack with seeded Ryvita crunchy rye breads. Seeded ryvitas are high in fibre and contain healthy fats that help to lower cholesterol.
‘Eatlean’ also make a grated version, which would make a great cholesterol-friendly snack melted on wholemeal toast.
14. A mug of high fibre cereal
Cereal can make a really simple and nutritious cholesterol-friendly snack if you choose the right ones. Look for cereal that’s low in saturated fat (i.e. contains less than 1.5g sat fat per 100g), high in fibre (i.e. at least 6g per 100g) and preferably contains no added sugar. See this blog post for some good options.
I fill half of the mug with cereal, add some nuts, seeds and/or chopped fruit then cover it with semi-skimmed milk or low fat natural yoghurt. It’s really filling and a great source of energy to keep you going until your next meal.
15. ‘Nakd’ nut bars
These ‘Nakd’ bars are great for cholesterol-friendly snacking because they contain just fruit and nuts, both of which help to lower cholesterol:-
16. A handful of almonds or walnuts
Finally, one of the best on-the-go cholesterol-friendly snacks is simply a handful of almonds or walnuts. You can keep a pack of them in your handbag or car to eat whenever you get hungry, and they last for ages. Almonds and walnuts are rich in nutrients and healthy fats that help to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.