How to Eat Out When You Have High Cholesterol

You don’t have to miss out on all the fun if you have high cholesterol. Here’s how to make healthier menu choices.

Just because you have high cholesterol doesn’t mean you can’t eat at restaurants.

Here's how to make heart healthy choices when you're dining out. When in doubt, consult your doctor about which foods are OK and which ones you should skip.

In general, avoid foods that are higher in saturated or trans fats, both of which make your liver produce more cholesterol. Instead, opt for healthier, polyunsaturated fats, like olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon.

Here are some more tips for eating out at specific types of restaurants:

  1. At Chinese restaurants, choose dishes that are steamed or broiled, not fried. Substitute fresh spring rolls for fried egg rolls, and order entrees with plenty of vegetables. Duck can be high in fat; select chicken instead.

  2. Fajitas are a great choice at Mexican restaurants. They’re grilled and come with loads of vegetables. Try adding a side order of black beans, which contain a lot of cholesterol-busting soluble fiber. Resist the urge to overload on nachos and refried beans, both of which can be packed with fat and calories.

  3. At Indian restaurants, skip the ghee (clarified butter) and order items with vegetables, chickpeas and tofu. Chicken tandoori is also a good bet since it’s grilled.

  4. With Italian food, watch out for heavy casseroles, like lasagna and chicken parmigiana. Sausage-based entrees can also be high in fat. Opt for lighter grilled fish and chicken, or roasted vegetable dishes.
Broccoli in a bamboo steamer with chopsticks

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