Get the lowdown on diets that are low on fat and low on cholesterol. Besides being healthy for the heart and body, such a diet can help keep weight under check. If you thought low fat low cholesterol diets meant eating bland and boring foods, its time for a rethink!
Understanding low fat, low cholesterol diet
To follow a diet plan that is low in cholesterol and low in fat it is very important to understand what it means.
- Low fat diet does not mean nil fat; it means healthy levels of good (unsaturated) fat.
- When you follow a diet that is low in saturated fat, it will automatically bring down the cholesterol in your blood. Saturated fat is the main player determining the levels of cholesterol in your body.
- There are food products those are rich in both cholesterol and fat. For e.g. food from animal origin is very rich in saturated fat and is generally converted to cholesterol by the liver. These fats should not be consumed in excess.
- Some foods are rich in polyunsaturated fat and they help reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood and simultaneously reduce the good cholesterol too. At room temperature these fats are in liquid form and should be consumed in limits.
- Food items that contain only monounsaturated fat are healthy for the body as they reduce only the bad cholesterol in the blood and can be consumed freely.
- While shopping at a supermarket, check the labels for both low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol labels. Low in cholesterol food items need not necessarily be low in saturated fat.
U.S. Departments of agriculture and the Health and human services department have recommended healthy levels of fat and cholesterol consumption per day per American to remain hale and healthy.
Cholesterol: less than 300mg per day
Total fats: less than 30% of the total calories
Saturated fat: less than 10% of the total calories
Polyunsaturated fat: less than 10% of the total calories
Monounsaturated fat: less than 15% of the total calories
Low fat low cholesterol diet plans
- Saturated fats play a vital role in determining the cholesterol of the blood, thus eat food with low or nil saturated fat, low fat ensures low cholesterol thus keeping your heart hale and healthy.
- Encourage use of wholegrain food in place of flour as this helps to plan a low fat and cholesterol diet. Rice, pasta and cereals have low fat content when compared to flours of the same grain. Excess carbohydrate intake in particular by diabetes patients can increase the risk of heart disease.
- Ensure dairy products used are low fat and skimmed ones as otherwise they can prove to be disastrous to both your heart and your waistline. Egg yolk has high levels of fat and cholesterol content, keep them at bay.
- Partially hydrogenated oils contain a form of unsaturated fat called trans-fatty; this increases the LDL level (bad cholesterol) in the blood. This is as disastrous as saturated fat is to the body.
- Red meat can be replaced with lean meat; beef can be replaced with chicken and turkey in hamburgers. This will help reduce both the fat and cholesterol levels in the blood. Processed meat such as salami, hot dogs, and sausages are high fat content foods.
- Olive oil and canola oils are rich sources of monounsaturated fats as vegetable oils are for polyunsaturated fats. Using unsaturated fats help bring down the blood cholesterol levels because of the low fat content in it. Butter has very high levels of saturated fat.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are best suited for a low fat low cholesterol diet plan.
- Fish, shell fish, nuts and seeds are also low in fat and can be used lavishly for low fat, low cholesterol diets.
Low fat low cholesterol cooking
Too many restrictions do not ensure long term adherence to any diet plan. Apart from the ‘no’ list, check out the big ‘yes’ list that you can incorporate into your low fat low cholesterol cooking.
- Microwave cooking is one of the best ways to keep fat at bay. Ensure that you stir the contents at regular intervals for even cooking.
- Broiling is a good method to cook fish, poultry and meat as the food is directly under a heat source and all the excess fat drains out to the bottom of the pan.
- Grilling food is fun and ensures low fat cooking.
- Braising method involves cooking in a covered pot using a small quantity of liquid on low heat. Wine, water or broth are excellent braising liquids and are ideal to cook tough pieces of meat.
- Marinating ensures that meat gets tender and the flavor is enhanced. After this, the food can either be grilled or broiled.
- Poaching involves tenderly boiling fish and chicken in a flavored liquid.
- Pan frying/searing is an efficient way to retain the flavor of the meat. The flavor remains sealed in the meat.
- Steaming is a great way to enjoy vegetables and fish. You can cook a number of food items using multi level steamers for steaming.
- Roasting is traditionally done with oil but can be replaced with broth or baste. To retain the moisture content in the food, use a foil wrap.
- Stir-frying involves continuous stirring and tossing thin strips of vegetables, beef or chicken with a small quantity of oil.
- Sautéing ensures fast and even cooking of the food. If the oil is not hot, the food will absorb all the oil and become soggy.
Make good use of herbs to enhance flavors so that you can come with aromatic and tasty low fat low cholesterol dishes. Sprinkle rosemary or oregano, try marjoram or basil and you will find that you need not go in for calorie-rich sauces and gravies. Incorporate bell peppers and carrots and broccoli and red cabbage and colorful foods to benefit your heart and you.
Low fat recipes
Swift crab salad
- Crab meat 1 ¼ cup
- Thinly sliced celery 1 cup
- Fat free salad dressing 1/3 cup
- Minced green onions
- Salt and black pepper
Mix crab and celery together in a mixing bowl, add salad dressing, onion, pepper and salt. Refrigerate for two hours. Serve with rolls or on salad greens.
Chicken n bell pepper
- Strips of chicken breast
- Strips of bell pepper
- Diced onion
- Olive oil 1 tbsp
- Soy sauce 1 tbsp
Heat olive oil and cook chicken. Add bell pepper, onion and soy sauce and simmer till tender. Serve with brown rice or pasta.
Low fat versions of popular recipes
- Pork chops 6 pieces (cut from center and visible fat removed)
- Egg 1
- Garlic powder 1 tsp
- Bread crumbs 2 cups
- Canola cooking spray
- Olive oil 2 tbsp
- Low fat milk ½ cup
- White wine 1/3 cup
- Condensed cream of mushroom 1 can
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Rinse pork chops, pat dry and season with garlic powder and seasoning salt as per taste requirements. Put beaten egg and egg substitute mixture in a bowl and scour the pork chops in flour lightly and dip in egg and roll generously in bread crumbs. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet, keep the pork chops and spray with canola cooking spray.
Fry the pork chops for five minutes each on both the sides till the sides appear brown. Place the chops in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for one hour. Prepare a mix of cream of mushroom soup and low fat milk and white wine in a bowl. Cover the chop with the soup mixture and bake for another 30 minutes after replacing the foil.
Favorite chicken nuggets
- Pieces of chicken breast
- Paprika ¼ tsp
- Flour ¼ cup
- Egg white
- Low fat butter milk ¼ cup
- Crushed cornflakes 1 cup
Preheat oven to 450 degree and coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, add flour and seasoning. Prepare mixture of egg and buttermilk stirred together. Roll chicken piece in flour and then dip in milk mixture and then roll in cornflakes powder. Place chicken pieces in baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until they are golden, ensuring to turn them in between.
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