Cholesterol Diet Food List: A Complete Guide

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When it comes to cholesterol diet food list, many, including you, would think that they should abandon bad things to pare down their options. This could be the reason why you think that the plan will not work out for the better as it severely limits your meal plan to just plain, bland-looking things. Well, if that’s what you keep in mind, it’s time to toss it out because while designing meal plans that are not harmful for your heart takes a lot of things out, it also adds many more to expect.

A cholesterol-free (or low in cholesterol, perhaps?) meal plan doesn’t have to be bland in taste and plain in appearance. But one thing for sure, though, a cholesterol-friendly diet should be something you need to consult your physician beforehand. You might have conditions that could get aggravated the moment you start dieting this way. Your condition may lead to you needing to exclude some things on the list from your grocery.


Vegetables and Fruits

Generally speaking, you need to include them on your cholesterol diet food list because both are great to support your goal as they contain tons of fiber and vitamins.

  1. Vegetables: veggies with deep orange color (butternut squash, acorn, sweet potato, carrots) and vegetables with dark leaves (spinach, kale, and broccoli) are the best when it comes to lowering cholesterol. You can choose the freshest of them all, out of cans, or frozen—but not with salt, sauce, or fat.
  2. Fruit: juiced or whole, fresh or frozen, canned or dried; fruits are source of fiber, vitamins but stick to everything without added sugar.
  3. Soups: minestrone-, chicken-, vegetable-, or tomato-soup are okay but make sure there is not too much salt in any of them.

Nuts and Whole Grains

  1. Bagels, whole-wheat tortillas, rye/pumpernickel bread, and whole wheat products.
  2. Whole-grain cereals: rice-, bran-, or oat-based cereals.
  3. Oats and oats bran are great sources of soluble fiber.
  4. Nuts and seeds: ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and almonds.

Beans and Vegetable-based Protein

  1. Soy/veggie burgers, tempeh, and tofu.
  2. Vegetarian-baked beans, lentils, soybeans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and dried peas/beans.

Eggs and Meat

  1. Egg whites and substitutes for egg.
  2. Lean meats: round, loin, chuck, and sirloin.
  3. Skinless chicken and turkey.

Fish and Seafood

  1. Fish: cod, tilapia, halibut, mackerel, tuna, herring, albacore tuna, sardines, trout, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is recommended to have two servings of fish per week, at least.
  2. Seafood: scallops, lobster, oysters, crab, and clams. Crawfish and shrimp are high in cholesterol but their total fat and saturated fat is lower compared to meats and poultry.


  1. Nonfat skim or 1-percent milk and low-fat/nonfat evaporated/condensed milk are great for cooking.
  2. Low-fat/nonfat products: yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, and cheese.
  3. Whey protein powder for smoothies.

Desserts and Snacks

  1. Fresh fruits. Grapefruit may meddle with many medications intended to lower cholesterol and thus must be avoided.
  2. Popcorn: lite air-popped or microwaved.
  3. Sherbet or sorbet: nonfat or fat-free.
  4. Low-fat angel food cake.
  5. Low-fat cookies: graham crackers, molasses cookies, ginger snaps, fig bars, and animal crackers. Avoid anything containing trans-fat.
  6. Baked potato chips.
  7. All-fruit snack bars.

During your research for foods to help with high cholesterol level, you might find various other items that are not included on the list. Many sources would suggest you to add those items on your cholesterol diet food list. This could be confusing for you but there is an easy way to get back on track. Those suggested items that are not on the list above might be healthy and good. However, the calories they contain are still calories anyway. Regardless of you are trying to develop healthier eating habits or stick to the regular ones, those items in question would still add up to your calorie intake. As such, be careful and mindful as to how you plan your diet. The key to achieving healthier heart and blood pressure is to stick to the things that are already proven to be cholesterol-friendly.


Essentials to Stock up in the Fridge

You need to meet daily fruit and veggie requirement, 5 cups of both. Stock up the following on your cholesterol diet food list:

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Kale
  • Grapes
  • Eggplant
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Apples
  1. Dairy products and alternatives
  • Nonfat/1% yogurt
  • Nonfat sour cream
  • Skim/1% milk
  • Nonfat creamers
  • Nonfat/light cream cheese
  • Nonfat/1% cottage cheese/ricotta
  • Nonfat/reduced-fat cheese
  • Low-fat/nonfat buttermilk
  • Soy milk, almond milk (choose the calcium-enriched and unsweetened one)
  1. Meat, poultry, fish, and substitutes
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Fat-trimmed pork tenderloin
  • Fish high in Omega-3: tuna, trout, salmon, mackerel, or herring
  • Ground chicken or turkey
  • Boneless and skinless turkey or chicken breasts and tenders
  • Lean-cut beef
  • Round or sirloin, lean ground
  1. Frozen
  • Fruits with no added sugar: frozen strawberries/raspberries/blueberries
  • Edamame
  • Vegetables/vegetable blends with no salt, gravy, or sauce added.


Essentials for Pantry

Include the following to complete your cholesterol diet food list:

  1. Beans, grains, soups, sauces
  • Barley
  • Low-sodium canned beans
  • Dried beans
  • Low-sodium vegetable/beef/chicken broth
  • Whole-grain cereals: stick to one that has less than 8 grams of sugar/serving and 5 grams or more of dietary fiber
  • Cornmeal
  • Ground or whole flaxseed
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Grains: quinoa, bulgur, millet, polenta, couscous, and wheat berries
  • Oat bran
  • Irish or rolled, steel-cut oats
  • Low-fat or fat-free pasta sauce
  • Kamut, spelt, or whole-wheat pasta (available in varieties such as ravioli, elbow macaroni, spiral, fusilli, spaghetti, lasagna, fettuccini, and bowtie)
  • Rice: brown basmati, wild rice, and brown rice.
  • Low-sodium soups
  • Cream of mushroom, 98% fat-free
  • Soy flour
  • Tomato paste
  • Low-sodium, whole or diced tomatoes
  • Nonfat refried beans
  1. Condiments
  • Low-sodium BBQ sauce
  • Reduced-sodium ketchup
  • Reduced-/non-fat mayonnaise
  • Mustards: yellow, Dijon, honey, or whole grain
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Vinegars: raspberry, apple cider, balsamic, red wine, or rice
  1. Oils and Fats
  • Trans-fat-free margarine
  • Cooking sprays, nonfat
  • Nonhydrogenated shortening
  • Olive and canola oil
  • Fat substitutes for baking: yogurt, fruit puree, or applesauce
  • Reduced-/non-fat salad dressings
  1. Snacks
  • Assorted raw nuts and seeds: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds
  • Whole-grain breads/tortillas/pitas
  • Trans-fat-free crackers
  • Dried fruits
  • Popcorn-/brown rice-cakes
  • Plain or lightly microwaved popcorn
  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Baked trans-fat-free tortilla chips
  1. Spices
  • Sodium-free seasonings, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, parsley, paprika, oregano, onion powder, nutmeg, mint, marjoram, Italian seasoning, ginger, garlic powder, dill, curry powder, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, Chinese five-spice, cayenne, caraway seeds, black pepper, bay leaves, basil, and allspice.
  1. Sugar
  • Sugar substitute in baking: brown rice syrup
  • Honey
  • Sugar-free/light maple syrups