Any medical condition affecting your diet can make dining out seem more like a chore than a treat. High cholesterol presents a unique set of challenges for diners, because there are many different ingredients that can affect cholesterol levels, and many are staples on restaurant menus. Foods like cheese, meat, fried foods, and butter are all high in saturated fat, which is known to have a negative effect on your cholesterol. In restaurant kitchens, these foods are often used in high volumes, even in some seemingly healthy dishes. If you are dining out with concerns about your cholesterol, keep the following tips in mind to help navigate menu minefields.
Enjoy vegetarian choices
Because restaurants often utilize higher fat cuts of meat and processed meats like bacon, it may be helpful to opt for vegetarian dishes as your main course. You should remember, however, that vegetarian meals may be packed with more cheese and butter, so go for grilled or steamed options when they’re available. When you do want protein, grilled chicken and fish will make a better choice than a burger, steak, or fried protein option.
Ask for items on the side
Add-ons like cheese, salad dressing, sour cream, and butter are often applied generously to dishes in restaurant kitchens, so you will do better asking for these items on the side. This way you can still enjoy the meal you want without overindulging.
Alert your server of dietary concerns
Restaurants are often very accommodating to individuals with dietary restrictions, so don’t hesitate to ask for substitutions or heart-smart menu options. You might also ask to see any nutritional information the restaurant has available so that you can get a more accurate breakdown of what’s really in every dish. Remember, saturated fat will be the key ingredient to look out for. Simply looking at the cholesterol in certain foods is not as informative, since ingested cholesterol does not necessarily raise your blood cholesterol.
If high cholesterol is a challenge in your life, connect with MeMD to learn about the medications and lifestyle choices that can help you. While you will not want to use our services as a substitute for regular visits to the cardiologist, you can use our convenient online consultations for prescription refills and minor health concerns that might otherwise be treated in an urgent care setting.