To build a low-cholesterol menu, select recipes and foods that are free from trans fats and low in saturated fats, suggests the American Heart Association. This means basing meals around lean meat and fish, fruits, vegetables and high-fiber whole grains.
A low-cholesterol menu should focus on foods that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Good food choices include oatmeal, avocado, walnuts and olive oil. There are two types of dietary cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein. HDL cholesterol is the healthy type of cholesterol and is found in foods that contain polyunsaturated fats, such as fish and nuts.
LDL cholesterol is the unhealthy type of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is found primarily in trans and saturated fat. Excess LDL cholesterol eventually contributes to heart attack and stroke. Consuming foods that contain HDL cholesterol, along with a healthy diet, helps lower LDL cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.
Meals in a low-cholesterol diet plan should include lean protein, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. For example, steamed vegetables with lean grilled chicken and brown rice makes a well-rounded meal. Another good meal example is whole grain pasta with vegetable-based sauce and low-fat cheese. EatingWell.com offers a number of recipes to help lower cholesterol, including turkey fingers with maple-mustard sauce, pineapple tofu stir-fry and lamb and eggplant ragu.