Low Cholesterol Foods
Low Cholesterol Foods in the Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Groups
Like high-fat meats, regular dairy foods that have fat -- such as whole and 2 percent milk, cheese, and ice cream -- are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. However, dairy products are an important source of nutrients, and 2 to 3 servings per day are recommended.
Low cholesterol foods in this group include:
- Fat-free or 1 percent milk. Fat-free and 1 percent milk are great low cholesterol foods because they have just as much or more calcium and other nutrients as whole milk with much less saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Low-fat or nonfat yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Eat low-fat or nonfat yogurt alone or as a topping or in recipes. Try topping it with fruit.
- Low-fat or nonfat sour cream or cream cheese blends. Many taste as rich as the real thing, but have less fat and calories.
- "Fat-free," "reduced fat," "low-fat," or "part skim" hard cheeses. Choose varieties that have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce.
- Low-fat (1 percent) or nonfat cottage cheese, farmer cheese, or part-skim or light ricotta. Some of these cheeses have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce.
Contrary to popular belief, not all snack foods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Snacks that would be considered low cholesterol foods include:
- Bread sticks
- Dried fruit
- Low-fat or fat-free crackers (like rice cakes, melba toast, rye crisp, and soda crackers)
- Ready-to-eat cereals without added sugar
- Frozen grapes or banana slices or other fresh fruit
- No-oil baked tortilla chips
- Popcorn (air popped or "light")
- Raw vegetables with nonfat or low-fat dip.
Sweets that would be considered low cholesterol foods include:
- Fat-free or low-fat brownies, cakes, cheesecake, cupcakes, and pastries
- Angel food cake topped with fruit puree or fresh fruit slices
- Gelatin desserts (watch the whipped cream!)
- Graham crackers
- Fat-free or low-fat cookies, like animal crackers, devil's food cookies, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps, and vanilla or lemon wafers
- Frozen low-fat or nonfat yogurt, fruit ices, ice milk, sherbet, and sorbet
- Puddings made with 1 percent or fat-free milk.
While these treats may be low in cholesterol and fat, most are not low in calories. So choose them only every now and then, especially if you are trying to control your weight to improve your blood cholesterol levels.