Have you or your partner been told by your doctor that you should watch your cholesterol levels? This can be a scary diagnosis, and you are probably worrying about all the potential health implications and how to adjust your cooking routine.
Luckily, most of the time, elevated cholesterol can easily be reversed through simple steps such as adopting a low cholesterol diet, improving your daily exercise, and making easy lifestyle changes.
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when cooking for someone with high cholesterol.
- Don’t Believe the Rumours
The most important thing to keep in mind when preparing for a cholesterol diet is to do your research. Not all fats are bad, and eggs are not the enemy, no matter what some media outlets might have led you to believe.
By understanding what cholesterol really does to the body and why it’s not necessary to completely change your lifestyle but opt for small changes instead, you will be one step ahead of the game and feel in charge again.
- The Devil is in the Method
This might come as a surprise, but most of the time, it’s not necessarily about what you cook, but how you cook it. Chicken, for example, is great if grilled or roasted in the oven with a dash olive oil and herbs – but if you’re pan-frying your chicken with lots of butter then you’ll be increasing your intake of saturated fats.
Likewise, steaming your vegetables is usually a better choice than cooking them in the pan. Learning how to efficiently use spices to, quite literally, spice up a meal means that you will get plenty of flavour the healthy way.
- Find Healthier Substitutes
If you’re cooking for someone with high cholesterol, it’s all about finding healthier substitutes for common foods. Always choose lean meats and trim visible fats before cooking. Choose white meat over red and replace meat with fish whenever possible.
Low-fat dairy products are a good choice too and you should always opt for wholemeal options when it comes to bread, pasta, and rice. Ditch those unhealthy snacks, and stock up on plenty of nuts, cottage cheese, and dried fruit instead.
- Meal Planning 101
While you can’t always plan your meals in advance – especially if you’ve got a weekend of events planned – it is a good idea to prepare your dishes when you can. You can pack nutritional lunches for the kids without much extra effort by cooking a little more than you need for dinner each night and popping the leftovers in their lunchbox.
And to take care of those nights when you’re short of time, why not cook meals in big batches and freeze individual portions that you can simply heat up? All the convenience of a microwave meal but you’ll be assured of its nutritional value and ingredients.