Low Cholesterol Diet: Cut the Fat, Save the Flavor!

by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Professional

Let's say you are trying to lower high cholesterol, but resistant to giving up the treats you love.
I want to give you some simple tips for modifying recipes and baked goods to make them more
heart healthy without sacrificing the taste.

Here is a short table with basic substitutions to reduce fat and calories in some of your favorite foods while maintaining the flavor you enjoy.

**Instead of . . .

Substitute. . .**

Whole milk

1% or fat free milk

Whole egg

2 egg whites or egg substitute

Vegetable oil

Non-stick vegetable oil or canola/olive oil


Fruit puree or vegetable oil


Evaporated Skim Milk

If you're modifying an old family recipe it will take some trial and error before you find the right balance between healthier substitutions and a quality product.
It may work best when baking to replace half the ingredients with a healthier alternative.
For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose flour instead use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour.
Also, reduce the amount of fat added to a product.
For example, instead of 1 cup of oil try
¾ cups of oil.
You may not notice a difference.
Experiment with different options until you get a product you enjoy.

Fruit Purees

Never baked with fruit purees?
Well, here's a quick lesson on how to use them to make moist baked goods without the artery clogging fat.

The reason fat makes products taste good is because it adds moisture, flavor, and a tender texture to baked goods.
Substitution of fruit purees or nonfat dairy products can provide some of the same fat-like characteristics without the actual fat.
The type of fruit puree you choose to use will affect the final product.
For example, a prune puree provides rich flavor with a moist, tender texture.
A prune puree works best in recipes containing chocolate, cinnamon, and orange seasoning.
For some recipes it may be best to just replace half the fat.
For example, replace 1 cup butter with
½ cup pureed prunes/bananas/applesauce and
½ cup butter instead.

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Meet Our Writer
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so you can live life and enjoy your family for years to come. Lisa's passion for health comes from her own family history of heart disease, so she doesn't dispense trendy treatments; Lisa practices what she teaches in her own daily life. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques.