Ways to Include Apples in Your Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

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Apples have become the food to include when following a healthy diet. Chock-full of nutrients and soluble fiber, some studies have even suggested that the healthy ingredients found in apples can help keep your cholesterol levels in check. But how can you incorporate this delicious fruit without your diet becoming too boring? You could always opt for the whole apple as a quick snack. However, there are other healthy ways to enjoy apples without your cholesterol taking a huge hit.

These tips will show you healthy ways you can include apples in your cholesterol-friendly diet.

Apples for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start your day off with something nutritious and filling? Including apples would be a good way to begin your day with a satisfying meal that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat. When preparing your apple-inspired breakfasts, you should avoid using too ​much refined sugar in your recipes, since this can heap on calories to your healthy foods. Adding ingredients - like butter or full-fat milk products - can also increase your saturated fat intake, which can also affect your lipid levels. Here are some healthy ways to include apples in your healthy breakfasts:

  • Slice in some apples into a warm bowl of plain oatmeal. Sprinkle in some ginger or cinnamon to add some extra flavor.
  • Combine apples with other fruits and veggies to create a delicious smoothie. 
  • When making whole grain pancakes or muffins, you  can chop up some apples and mix them into the batter. To make your baked goods even more nutritious, also toss in some chopped walnuts and other fruits or veggies, such as zucchini, berries, or bananas.

Apples in Your Sides and Main Dishes

When you think of incorporating apples into your meals, you probably envision consuming slices of raw apple.

However, there are many other, tasty ways to sneak apples into your cholesterol-lowering meal plan. Nuts, low-fat cottage cheese, other fruit and vegetables, and poultry or fish are just a few of many good foods to combine with your apples to give you a quick and healthy side or main course. Just be careful about what you add to them, as this can also affect your lipid levels:

  • Make sure that you are not adding refined sugars to your apple-containing side or main dish. To get the same sweet taste, combine with other fruits or use their juices instead,
  • To lower your saturated fat intake, you should avoid consumption of fatty meats or full-fat dairy products. If this is needed in the dish, you can use low-fat versions of your favorite dairy products or trim extra fat away from any fatty meats you are using in the meal.
  • Baking and roasting your apple dishes will prevent the introduction of any extra fat during the preparation process. You should avoid frying or cooking your foods in heavy oils that are high in saturated fat - both which could introduce extra fat and calories to your meal.

    Here are some creative ways to add apples in some of your entrees:

    • Chop up some apples and toss them into your salads.
    • Slice some apples and add them to a healthy sandwich or sandwich wrap.
    • Add some apples, along with other healthy ingredients, onto a pizza and bake in the oven.
    • Use baked apples as a side dish or combine with your favorite whole grains or veggies.

    Desserts

    Who can resist dessert? Watching your cholesterol and triglyceride levels doesn’t mean that you have to avoid the occasional dessert at the end of your healthy meal. Unfortunately, desserts have garnered an unhealthy reputation because - depending on the type of dessert you select to consume - it can add calories and fat to your meal. If you’re adding an apple-laden dessert to your heart-healthy meal plan, here a few tips:

    • If you are using a pre-packaged dessert, you should check the food label on the side of the package. Look for foods that are high in fiber and low in refined sugars and saturated fat. You should also avoid foods that contain trans fat.
    • Avoid treats that have been deep fried, as they may contain trans fat.
    • Minimize the use of heavy creams in your dessert. You can also use a low-fat variety of your favorite cream if needed - or add a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt instead.
    • Take advantage of spices. For example, a small amount of cinnamon can add a lot of flavor - rather than adding extra sugar.
    • Apples can make a great addition to sorbets or fruit salads - both of which are typically low-fat desserts.

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