Families gather, shelves are stocked with holiday decorations, and traditions begin to work their way into holiday parties, along with home-cooked food and treats. Good food is part of what makes the holiday season fun, but for people with high cholesterol, it is especially important to be mindful of what you are eating so that you don’t increase your risk of heart disease.
Just because your doctor has advised you to watch what you eat doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any holiday fun. The most important thing – if you have high cholesterol – is to make sure that you take in less bad cholesterol and more good cholesterol. Knowing which foods can help with this is important, and it will make navigating holiday parties a little easier.
Casseroles and Potlucks
If everyone is contributing a dish to a holiday dinner party, then the easiest way to make sure you’ll have a good meal option is to bring something you know is good for you. Many casseroles are made with large amounts of cheese, cream, sodium, and sugar. Try finding a healthier, less fatty casserole recipe that you can bring instead.
Turkey and Mashed Potatoes
These two are staples for many people’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. You can avoid bad cholesterol by choosing lighter meat, which is usually lower in calories and fat.
Mashed potatoes usually have a lot of sodium, but if you forgo the extra salt and limit the gravy, you won’t have to worry too much about your salt and fat intake.
As the weather cools down, you may find yourself wanting to snuggle up with a book and a mug of hot chocolate. Or maybe making eggnog is a family holiday tradition. You can enjoy both, even if you are watching your cholesterol.
Try using low-fat milk or a non-dairy milk instead of whole milk in your hot chocolate, and to dilute eggnog. You can also choose to pass on the whipped cream usually included on top of both drinks, which will help reduce the amount of sugar and fat you consume.
Desserts are often the most tempting part of a holiday party, especially since there are usually many delicious looking options. If you’re worried about your cholesterol but you don’t want to miss out on any of the desserts, try sampling a few instead of settling on one big piece of cake. If you have 2 or 3 small bites, you’ll get to try a few things without indulging too much in the excess sugar.
These are the most common food types you’ll likely find around the holidays, but no matter what’s for dinner, here are a few tips that will keep your cholesterol on track and allow you to enjoy some holiday treats:
– Look for low-fat alternatives in classic holiday dishes.
– Have smaller servings of high-fat, high-sodium, and high-sugar dishes, and bigger servings of veggies.
– Smaller bites of each of your favorite dishes are better than a heaping plate of one, high-fat dish.
Keep the tips above in mind, and you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about your cholesterol or depriving yourself of your favorite dishes.