How to Lower Your Cholesterol at Every Meal of the Day

Health Professional

High cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease. For some fresh ideas, I discussed ways you can lower cholesterol at every meal with Felicia D. Stoler, DCN (Doctor of Clinical Nutrition). Stoler is the author of “Living Skinny in Fat Genes”.

Lisa Nelson RD: We now see in the grocery stores many products “cholesterol free”. What does this mean?** Dr. Stoler:** In a nutshell, a food that says it is “cholesterol free” means it has NO animal products in it. It’s a bit misleading… for example, apples can say they are “cholesterol free”.

Lisa Nelson RD: Do you recommend consumers disregard “cholesterol free” labeling?** If so, what should they look at instead when selecting heart healthy products?**** Dr. Stoler:** I always tell people to look at calories, fiber, and fat. If it’s a food that has fiber, does it have the most (across brands) fiber per serving. When it comes to fat, does it have lower fat than other comparable products?

Lisa Nelson RD: What are some great breakfast tips to promote lower cholesterol levels?** Dr. Stoler:** I’m a huge fan of eating breakfast – period Have some protein and fiber….Some ideas include 0% fat vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh berries and All Bran Fiber Buds (vs. granola), one whole egg scrambled (or over-easy) on a whole grain sandwich round with a slice of cheese and fresh fruit, oatmeal with cinnamon, chopped nuts, nutmeg and bananas, or just eat leftovers from dinner the night before!

Lisa Nelson RD:** Why is it beneficial to have a breakfast rich in protein and fiber?**** Dr. Stoler:** Carbohydrates and protein are both important fuels to get the brain and body functioning optimally. The protein and fiber slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates in order to prevent being hungry immediately after consumption.

Lisa Nelson RD: How about when planning lunch and dinner meals? What are some easy cholesterol lowering suggestions to implement with these meals?** Dr. Stoler:** The best way to lower cholesterol is to (a) do some physical activity every day, (b) eat foods that are higher in fiber (read the food labels – do not rely on the words “whole grain” or “whole wheat”), (c) choose better for you oils like Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil and Olive Oil (you can’t just eat monounsaturated fats from olive oil in order to reduce cholesterol). Palm oil is also found in all the Smart Balance Spreads and oil blends (which do have an FDA approved structure-function claim).

It seems silly to say, but do watch your intake of fried foods and fatty animal-sourced foods. Leaner cuts of meats and not eating the skin… trimming visible fats before eating… are all ways to help lower cholesterol.

Lisa Nelson RD: Summer is here! Which means barbeques, grilling out, and other fun summer activities. Are there any popular summer foods to watch out for if you are working to lower cholesterol levels?

Dr. Stoler: Summer is often BBQ time… parties, etc. I recommend that people pay attention to the volume of food that they eat… don’t fill up on junk, nor make ice cream a daily ritual. I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise… it’s a waste of calories… instead use the better for you oils (like Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil), avocado or hummus to lubricate your food. I love Sustainable Malaysian Palm Oil because it has a neutral flavor profile, it is loaded with antioxidants (tocotrienols and beta carotene), can replace butter in baked goods and has a high smoke point for grilling.

Be aware of food safety… avoid foods that have been sitting out at room temperature (or in hot temps)…. When it comes to dairy – I often suggest when you can choose – choose low fat or fat free options… save the “fats” in your diet for things like nuts, yummy cheeses, avocados or the occasional ice cream. Increase your fiber intake… add more fruits, veggies and grains to your meals. Eat foods like fish (salmon), boneless, skinless chicken breast, lean beef (like filet mignon), port loin, turkey breast… consider a meatless MONDAY!

If you are taking steps to lower cholesterol, access the free ecourse "_How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps _" at