People go on low-fat and low-cholesterol diets for many reasons. Some want to lower their cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health or lose weight. As cholesterol is found only in animal products, it’s necessary to cut back or eliminate trans and saturated fats. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are beneficial to health. In addition, you’ll want to eat lots of fresh foods and check labels on packaged goods for trans-fats and preservatives.
Fats and Dairy
Choose healthy monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and flaxseed oil, and non-fat or low-fat milk, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt. You can create delicious sauces and dressings with these products, especially by adding spices and herbs, which have no fat and add a lot of taste. Try combinations of oregano, basil, curry, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, hot mustard and tarragon.
Opt for skinless chicken breasts and thighs. According to the American Heart Association, purchasing choice-grade meats instead of prime varieties is beneficial because they are lower in cholesterol. In addition, choose cuts of lamb, pork and beef that are low in fat and eat fish for dinner at least two nights a week, as it is low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Supplement your meals with legumes such as lentils, beans and peas as side dishes and in soups and stock up on egg whites for non-fat, non-cholesterol omelets and baking.
Fruits and Vegetables
Consume lots of dark leafy greens in salads and soups, and tomatoes and onions make great additions to many dishes. Keep vegetables such as celery, peppers and carrots around for munching along with low-fat yogurt dip for a heart-healthy snack. Eat at least five servings a day of fresh fruit, such as berries, apples, pineapple, oranges and melons, to help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Avoid mayonnaise, margarine and butter, as well as processed meats such as sausage, salami, hot dogs and corned beef and smoked fish and meats. Make sure you select breads and cereals that don’t contain trans fats.