A Daily Food Guide to Lowering Cholesterol

by Melanie Thomassian Health Professional

The information below is organized according to the various food groups as a handy reference guide. Use this guide to help you choose food in the correct proportions as you try to follow a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

The table lists the number of servings recommended for each day, and also gives examples of typical serving sizes.

**What Counts as a Serving?****How Many Servings Per Day?** ** **
**Meat and Beans Group** (meat, poultry, fish, legumes, eggs, and nuts) - go for lean or low fat, and trim visible fat before cooking § 2 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring) § 5 ounces of cooked white fish § 1 small tin of canned fish § ½ cup cooked beans, peas, lentils § 4 ounces of soy or tofu § 1 ½ ounces nuts, nut butter, seeds5 ounces maximum per day. Limit **organ meats**, such as liver, and kidneys, which are high in cholesterol. Prawns are also moderately high in cholesterol. Try to get plenty of** legumes** into your diet each week.**Omega-3 fatty acids** can help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Aim for one to two portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily fish.
**Eggs** * 1 whole egg * Egg whites or egg substitute are unlimitedLess than, or equal to, two yolks per week. This includes yolks in baked goods and those in cooked or processed foods.
**Milk and Dairy Group** - go for reduced fat or fat free options * 1 cup of milk * 1 cup of yoghurt * 1 ounce of reduced fat cheese (3 grams fat or less per serving)2-3 servings.
**Fruit and Vegetables Group** - choose fruit canned in natural juices, and vegetables without added salt * 1 medium piece of fruit * 2 small fruits, such as plums * 1 heaped tablespoon dried fruit * ½ cup diced fruit - fresh, cooked, canned * ¾ cup fruit or veggie juice * 1 cup raw leafy vegetables * ½ cup cooked vegetables**Fruit**: 2-4 servings (depending on your calorie requirements).** Vegetables**: 4-6 servings (depending on your calorie requirements).
**Grainand Potato Group** - choose wholgrain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice. Potatoes are also included in this group. * 1 slice bread * ½ bun, bagel, muffin * 1 cup ready to eat cereal * ½ cup cooked cereal, pasta, rice, other grains, or potato6 or more servings (depending on your calorie requirements). Try to make at least **half** your grains wholegrain.
**Soluble Fiber** Include the following foods regularly: * Barley * Oatmeal * Bran * Psyllium * Apples, bananas, prunes, broccoli, dry beans, peasAim for 10 - 25 grams of soluble fiber per day to help lower your cholesterol levels.
**Fats and Oils Group** * 1 teaspoon soft margarine or vegetable oil * 1 tablespoon salad dressing * 1 ounce nutsLess than or equal to 6-8 servings (depending on your calorie requirements). Steer clear of foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. Go for products that contain 1 gram of saturated fat, or less, per serving. Limit your intake of butter, lard, and solid shortenings.
**Sweets and Snacks** Healthier snacks include: * Fresh or frozen fruits * Fresh vegetables * Pretzels * Air popped popcorn * Wholegrain crackers * Natural yogurt ** **Not often
**Stanols/sterols** - contained in special margarines, milk products, and juice products.** Some of the commercial brands available include:** * Benecol products * Healthy Heart yoghurt * Promise Activ Super Shots * Take Control spreadsAim for 2 grams of phytosterols per day. One serve of phytosterol enriched food is approximately: * 2 teaspoons of phytosterol margarine spread * 1 cup of phytosterol milk * 1 small tub phytosterol yoghurt
Melanie Thomassian
Meet Our Writer
Melanie Thomassian

Melanie is a dietitian and writer. She wrote for HeatlhCentral as a health professional for Food & Nutrition and Heart Health.