Ways to Include Cranberries in Your Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

Elena Elisseeva, istockphoto

Cranberries are a delicious way to bring in the holidays, but did you know that this tart fruit can also help keep you healthy? The chemicals found in cranberries have beneficial properties, and some studies have noted that cranberries may have able to keep your cholesterol levels in check. If you have cranberry leftovers lying around after your guests have eaten during the holidays, there are many ways to incorporate them into other dishes.

Here are some cholesterol-friendly ideas that will show you how to put your leftover cranberries to good use – without breaking your cholesterol-lowering diet.

Use Them for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it makes sense to include only healthy, filling ingredients. Cranberries can fit into this list, too, since they are low in fat and cholesterol - and high in fiber. Of course, it may be tempting to toss in a few cranberries into your high-fiber cereal or warm oatmeal – but there are also other ways to include cranberries that will give you a sweet breakfast – without packing on the calories and fat. Here are a few examples of grab-and-go breakfast food items including cranberries that won’t leave you hungry an hour after you have consumed them:

Include Them in Your Salads

Cranberries can also be incorporated into salads to give them a sweet, tangy flavor – sometimes so tasty that you may not need to add extra dressing.

Of course, if you’re looking to be creative, you can also convert some of your cranberries to make the salad dressing, too.

Of course, you should be careful with how you make these dressings. Oil- or vinegar-based dressings are better than cream-based ones since the latter may be higher in saturated fat.

To cut even more calories from your salad, you should place your salad dressing on the side - rather than applying it directly to your salad.

Save Them for Dessert

When you are following a cholesterol-lowering diet, including dessert is often considered taboo – especially since this usually implies that foods high in fat and sugar are being consumed. Not only can you include dessert in your low cholesterol diet, these oatmeal cookies and biscotti containing cranberries show you that desserts can be healthy – and delicious.

When making your desserts, make sure that you are very generous with including fruit into your dessert – but watch how much butter, refined sugar, and cream you are including into the dish, since this can also increase the calorie and fat content of the dessert.

Adding Cranberries to Your Main Course

You can also include cranberries in many areas of your main course – whether you pair them with your main protein or convert them into a sauce. You can also incorporate cranberries into many of your side dishes for a low-calorie way to add a little extra flavor.

Although cranberries are a cholesterol-friendly ingredient, make sure that you are pairing them with other healthy ingredients so that you do not negate their healthy properties.

If you are including them with meat, make sure that you bake or roast your meat – rather than frying them – to make sure that you are not adding extra fat to the dish. Other additions that could potentially be high in saturated fat include butter, milk and cheese. If cooking with these products, you should select low-fat versions of these foods if needed for your dish. Additionally, salt should also be limited – although it will not raise your cholesterol, it can contribute to high blood pressure if consumed in high amounts on a regular basis.