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Following a Cholesterol-Lowering Diet When You're on the Go

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Updated December 15, 2012

Following a Cholesterol-Lowering Diet When You're on the Go

Eating healthy can help lower your cholesterol.

Phil Date Photography, istockphoto
When you are trying to lower your cholesterol levels through your diet, eating healthy can be somewhat easy for the first few days. You follow a meal plan, you have tossed out the donuts and cookies from your pantry and everything seems be going great.

But then you get busy. Work, family -- even just everyday obligations -- can take up a lot of time in your day. When this happens, your cholesterol-lowering diet fades away. Whether you are finding it hard to find time to cook healthy meals, fix your lunch every day or get around to eating those grapes that you bought a few days ago, there are ways to eat healthy -- even when you are very busy. There are some ways to keep you on track. These tips will help to lessen your chances of turning to junk food and sabotaging your cholesterol and heart health in the process:

  • Prepare ahead of time. Designate one block of time out of your week, where you can shop and prepare your meals. Don’t forget to make a heart-healthy grocery list before you make your trip to the grocery store. That way, you won’t stray from your list and prolong your time shopping for food.
  • Cook ahead of time. Making your meals in bulk can also save time and preparation throughout the week. You can either make one dish or a few dishes, if you don’t want to be bored eating the same meal. Whatever you don’t eat in a few days, place in the freezer and reheat it when you are ready to eat it.
  • Always keep fruits and vegetables around. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a low-fat diet. Not only do they contain vitamins and minerals, they also contain fiber that can help lower your cholesterol. Plus, they can make a great snack when you’re hungry. If you are finding that you are not having enough time to eat these delicious foods before they spoil, they can always be frozen until you're ready to eat them.
  • Salads are time savers. This is another reason to keep fruits and veggies around. If you need to fix a healthy meal in a snap, try a salad. There are many vegetables and other healthy foods that you can add to your salad to change things up. To add variety to your salad -- and help lower your cholesterol in the process -- try adding walnuts, flaxseed or fruit.
  • Stock up on heart-healthy snacks. So you’re at work -- and the snack machine is calling your name way before it’s time for your lunch break. Instead of giving in and eating something unhealthy, bring some heart-healthy snacks with you. Nuts, pieces of fruit, whole-wheat pretzels and other foods can help curb your hunger until lunchtime arrives. Check your food labels on your favorite snacks to see if they are also healthy for you.
  • Leave your money at home. So this may sound a little extreme, but beginning new eating habits, even if they can prevent conditions, such as heart disease and high cholesterol, it can be difficult to stick to at first. If you think that you’re going to be tempted to get those cookies from the snack machine or that $1 hamburger from the fast food joint down the street, don’t bring any cash with you. It will reduce any temptation you may have straying from your low-fat diet.

Sources:

Rolfes SR, Whitney E. Understanding Nutrition, 3rd ed 2005.

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