Easy Swaps to Support Healthy Cholesterol

We like tasty food, and we hate denying ourselves good things. When you have cholesterol concerns, you can find yourself saying no to so many dishes. While cholesterol in our body comes predominantly from our liver and not our diet, it’s still important to watch what we eat. Watching your cholesterol can frequently mean passing up some of your favorite foods. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite swaps that allow us to eat yummy stuff without negatively impacting our cholesterol.

Some lists will tell you that fruit is as good as ice cream or that edamame can replace cheese. We like fruit and edamame, but we disagree with the idea that they are equivalent swaps. Instead, we’re looking for more subtle exchanges. Making small changes through your day can make a big difference.

For instance, one of our go-to swaps happens first thing in the morning. When you have Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon, you can make an instant dent in your numbers. An ounce of bacon has 120-150 calories, 10-12 grams of fat and 300-600 milligrams of salt. Canadian bacon has 30 calories, less than a gram of fat and 200 milligrams of sodium. That’s a huge difference. When it comes to bread, if you’re in the mood for something more special than toast, you may reach for a croissant. But, they will give you about 270 calories, 14 grams of fat and 313 milligrams of salt. An English muffin is an excellent option with 130 calories, one gram of fat and 210 milligrams of sodium. In the case of bacon and bread, you don’t deny yourself a treat; you just have a different one.  

When it comes to snack time, there are other small swaps. Are you a master of veggies and dip? Sour cream has 444 calories, 45.4 grams of fat and 108 milligrams of salt. When you use whole milk Greek yogurt, you instead have 220 calories, 11 grams of fat and 79 milligrams of sodium. Once you have added all the seasonings you want, these two bases don’t matter for much more than their smooth texture. And when it comes to salty snacks: tortilla chips are better than potato chips, and popcorn is better than either. Potato chips have 153 calories, 10.5 grams of fat and 147 milligrams of sodium. Tortilla chips have 138 calories, 6.6 grams of fat and 119 milligrams of salt. Popcorn has 31 calories, 0.3 grams of fat and 1 milligram of salt. These three things are not the same, but they are crunchy and, when you’re looking for texture, they might be equals.

When it comes to dinner, we are again looking at things that aren’t health food but can be swapped for something slightly healthier. A medium serving of French fries is 421 calories, 21.6 grams of fat and 389 milligrams of sodium. A baked potato has 110 calories, no fat and only eight milligrams of sodium. Add some Greek yogurt and a small sprinkling of cheese, and you have got a fantastic potato for way fewer calories. And, finally, we have been told again and again that red meat is out when we’re trying to watch what we eat to promote healthy cholesterol. But, sometimes, we want beef. That’s when it’s time to speak to your supermarket’s butcher. Ask about the different cuts of meat. You might be surprised by what you learn. For instance, three ounces of ribeye steak has 230 calories and 16 grams of fat. On the other hand, beef tenderloin has 179 calories and 7.6 grams of fat.

We hope that these suggestions allow you to keep enjoying your life. After all, when there are so many things you can eat, you stop missing the things you can’t.

Banner Image: Vegan Feast Catering, Wikimedia
September 06, 2019

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