Although following a cholesterol-lowering diet isn’t that difficult to do, adding long work hours, deadlines – as well as balancing work with other aspects of your life - can produce some unique challenges. The time constraints presented by certain jobs may make it difficult to stick to a cholesterol-lowering diet, causing you to resort to quick, high-sugar or high-fat foods that could cause your cholesterol levels and weight to creep up. By following these few simple steps, you can pack your favorite cholesterol-friendly meals and snacks for work – and still have time to devote to your work projects and other daily obligations:
Planning your meals ahead of time is very important. This will help ensure that you are obtaining the proper calories and needed nutrients in your diet. It will also help you identify possible foods that could contribute too much fat to your diet.
Planning your meals also makes grocery shopping easier, in that whatever you’ve put on the list goes in your basket, and whatever isn’t on the list stays out of your cart. Doing this can save money, help you make heart-healthy choices and deter you from using your appetite when selecting groceries.
If you are having difficulty planning your meals, try a meal plan that has already been designed.
Have Staple Ingredients on Hand
You should stock your kitchen pantry and refrigerator with a few low-cholesterol staples in the event that you need to make something quickly. Some of these cholesterol-friendly foods include nuts, olive oil, tofu, whole-grain pastas or breads and your favorite fruits and veggies. Whether you are making a quick sandwich before you head out the door or an effortless salad for dinner, having foods like this around will ensure a meal that is easy to make and healthy for your heart. Additionally, some of these healthy foods can make perfect grab-and-go snacks.
Make Your Meals Ahead of Time
Preparing your meals in advance can save you a lot of time, as well as spare you from added fat in your diet. Because eating out can be expensive, making your own meals can save you money in the long run. After planning the foods you would like to make, designate one day of the week as your day to cook. If you are still having trouble coming up with ideas for low-cholesterol meals, you may opt to use a few recipes and modify them according to your taste (provided that the changes are heart-healthy, of course).
For some of the more common, easy-to-prepare meals, here are some guidelines to follow that will allow you to include your favorite ingredients and give you a little variety:
- Tips in Preparing a Cholesterol-Friendly Sandwich
- Ways to Prepare Heart-Healthy Pasta
- Healthy Ways to Make a Low Cholesterol Salad
Keep a Stash at Work
Are you tempted by vending machines? If so, create your own stash of low-fat "goodies" at your desk or in your work refrigerator. That way, filling foods such as walnuts, whole-grain crackers, granola or fruits are readily available when the munchies hit. And going this route will reduce your chances of hitting the snack machine for foods high in fat and low in nutrients. If the vending machines are still a temptation for you – despite having these heart-healthy snacks within reach - consider leaving your spare change at home.