There’s nothing tastier than a full English breakfast, a traditional roast dinner, hot fish and chips, pizza or lots of chocolate! We all love our British comfort food, but these are unhealthy options for those who need to watch their cholesterol levels. Check out these healthy tips and suggestions if you want to maintain your healthy eating, while still enjoying British food favourites.
1. Full English breakfast
The high levels of saturated fat in a standard fry-up poses problems for those watching their waistlines and managing their cholesterol levels. Start by grilling instead of frying, as this helps reduce fat content and calories. Try turkey rashers for a low-fat high-protein alternative to bacon, and choose reduced-fat sausages with lower salt content. Try scrambled or poached eggs in place of the traditional fried egg, and select wholemeal toast, rather than fried bread. Baked beans are high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre, but choose varieties with reduced salt and sugar, or have a go at making your own instead.
2. Sunday roast dinner
Enjoy a traditional Sunday roast dinner by choosing small portions of lean meat, such as chicken, with a good range of steamed vegetables, an important source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. Try rapeseed oil, which contains less saturated fat than other cooking oils, and use less oil when roasting potatoes. Alternatively, bake tasty sweet potato wedges, or serve boiled. Use reduced-salt stock cubes when making gravy, and skim the fat before serving if adding meat juices. Skip on the trimmings such as Yorkshire puddings and stuffing, or make your own to manage the salt and fat content.
3. Fish and chips
If you want to eat this British classic while maintaining your healthy eating habits, skip the batter and grill the fish instead, for a healthy alternative. Choose oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or trout, which provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, helping to reduce cholesterol levels. Go for the healthier option by baking thick-cut chips or wedges in the oven, rather than frying. Opt for fresh peas instead of tinned mushy peas, as these are likely to contain high levels of salt and sugar.
Making your own pizza can give you the chance to create a healthier meal with just as much flavour. Go for a wholemeal thin crust base, and create your own passata to manage the salt content. Avoid overloading with toppings as homemade pizza is just as tasty with less on top – just add fresh herbs to boost the flavour. Use a small quantity of low-fat cheese, and add a good selection of vegetables and lean meat such as chicken.
We Brits love our chocolate, and we eat lots of it! There’s good news for chocolate lovers, as cocoa contains flavonoids which help to combat heart disease. Choose dark chocolate as this has a higher cocoa content, and go for varieties that have undergone the least amount of processing, to ensure the maximum flavonoid content.
Making simple changes to the food and drinks that you consume can help to keep your heart healthy, but it doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on taste. Managing portion sizes can help to keep your food intake healthy and keep your cholesterol within safe levels. A few easy swaps and some clever cooking will make these British food favourites clean, healthy and guilt-free.