Until recently, the blame for high-cholesterol levels was always placed on cholesterol-containing foods, like eggs, cheese and red meat. But new research now suggests otherwise, and instead calls out refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and—the worst offender—trans fats, as being the culprits. Thankfully, changing up the foods you eat and adding in regular exercise are effective strategies for lowering cholesterol levels. In this 1-day meal plan, healthy meals and snacks combine for a delicious day of eating to help lower cholesterol. The plan features high-fiber foods, whole grains and heart-healthy fats—all of which work to raise the "good" HDL cholesterol, and lower the not-so-great cholesterol. You'll find tasty foods like oatmeal, nuts, beans and plenty of fruits and veggies.
Related: 10 Foods That Lower Cholesterol
It should be noted that for some people, cholesterol management may require more than just diet and exercise. Genetics and age can impact heart health, and medication may be necessary to manage cholesterol levels. Be sure to speak with your health care provider about the best treatment plan for you.
Breakfast (257 calories)
Oatmeal with Fruit & Nuts
• 1/2 cup oatmeal cooked in 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup water
• 3 dried apricots, chopped
• 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Top oatmeal with apricots, walnuts and a pinch of ground ginger.
A.M. Snack (106 calories)
• 1/4 cup Crispy Curried Chickpeas
Lunch (343 calories)
• 2 3/4 cup Greek Salad with Edamame
P.M. Snack (95 calories)
• 1 medium apple
Dinner (396 calories)
Total: 1,197 calories, 33 g fiber, 9 g saturated fat, 1,261 mg sodium.
Please Note: This meal plan is controlled for calories, fiber, sodium and saturated fat. If a particular nutrient is of concern, speak with your health care provider about altering this meal plan to better fit your individual health needs.