Tips for Including Spinach in Your Cholesterol-Friendly Meals

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Smitt, istockphoto

Spinach is a very versatile vegetable and can be included in practically every meal you make – whether you are making a quick salad or a large meal. Spinach contains a wide range of nutrients – including heart-healthy ingredients such as fiber and phytosterols. Spinach is fat free, making it a good go-to food if you are looking for items to include in your cholesterol-lowering diet. This article will show you some ways you can incorporate this delicious veggie into your low fat meals.

Appetizers and Snacks

If you go to any party, spinach dip is often a crowd pleaser. It’s easy to make and healthy. Spinach can also be easily inserted into a variety of other finger foods, adding a little nutrition to your plate. Despite the cholesterol-friendly properties that spinach possesses, it is easy to ruin this by adding the wrong ingredients to your appetizers. When preparing your spinach dips and other snacks, make sure that you use low fat ingredients in order to reduce the amount of saturated fat introduced. When consuming your spinach appetizers, you should make sure that you do not go overboard – since sometimes appetizers can sometimes heap on more calories than the main course.

Soups and Salads

Spinach can pack a nutritious, low-fat punch when it comes to adding them to soups and salads. For salads, you can mix in spinach with other leafy greens, such as lettuce or kale – or just use spinach leaves alone to create your salad.

Spinach can be used with many types of soups, but you may need a lot of spinach leaves if you are using fresh spinach, as they tend to wilt under heat. When making your soups and salads, you should watch what you add in order to reduce your saturated fat intake. Creams and cheeses should be minimized, or a low-fat counterpart should be used, to reduce the amount of fat in the dish.

If you are including pork or red meat in your soup or salad, you should substitute this with a leaner protein, such as tofu, fish or poultry, to reduce fat. Alternatively, you can also remove the extra fat from the meat pieces before cooking.

Spinach for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important part of the day, so why not include this leafy green in your breakfast plans? Spinach can also be included in a variety of breakfast foods – including egg-based products, smoothies, and muffins. When preparing these, you should make sure that you are pairing your spinach with other ingredients that are low in saturated fat – such as other veggies, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins. 

Entrees with Spinach

Spinach is such a flexible food that you can include it in a variety of entrees. Spinach can be served as an accompaniment to many types of dishes and can be incorporated as a side, or added as a component of the entrée. If you decide to sauté your spinach, you should make sure that you are using a small amount of oil high in unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, instead of using butter to reduce your saturated fat intake.

Additionally, you should avoid entrees that are fried since this could introduce unhealthy trans fats into your meal. Gravies, cream-based sauces, and buttery garnishments should also be limited if you are watching your cholesterol. If your meal calls for them, place them on the side – instead of directly on your entrée – to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your meal.

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