Eating Right Can Be
Easy and Cost Effective
Eating Healthy for Less
Top 5 Tips for
Reading Food Labels
Are there any good web sites or any good articles about fat free foods you know of? Because I have high cholesterol and need to start dieting but fat free foods at the store cost so much!
Many fat free foods have higher calories than the 'regular' products because the fat free ones are sweeter, have thickening (salad dressings) which add carbohydrates thus calories. Small amounts of olive oil and flavored vinegar with herbs/spices make an excellent dressing. Olive oil is a 'safe oil' for high cholesterol diets if used in moderation.
Sensible eating is the best way to 'fight' high cholesterol. Instead of eating lunch out at work, take your lunch with water-packed tuna, grilled skinless chicken breasts (white meat has less fat than dark meat), whole grain breads, fruits (apples, peaches, pears, pineapple, mango, apricots, bananas), veggies (raw cauliflower and broccoli, carrot sticks, celery sticks, radishes, green or red pepper slices), and water. Diet sodas are OK but cost money and the reader sounded as if money could be a problem. Dinner can be chicken, turkey, grilled pork chops (it is a lean meat), or fish.
One thing that is often forgotten is exercise which helps lower the "bad" cholesterol and raise the "good" cholesterol. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can help. If time is a problem, do it in 5 or 10 minute increments.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are fat free or very low in fat, and are not that expensive, especially if you have a good farmer's market in your area. If you make these, some moderately priced cuts of meat, and low-fat grains like whole wheat bread and pasta your main sources for meals, it should not stretch the food budget too much.
Most of the fat free snacks sold in the supermarkets are overpriced and leave you feeling hungry and deprived. You are better off buying your usual snacks in smaller quantities and limiting yourself to small portions once in a while. The main costs of this kind of diet will be buying leaner cuts of meat and whole grain bread and pasta. But you will probably be eating out less and may be eating less as well, so it may even out.
Whole foods with fiber are the best for lowering cholesterol and also tend to be the cheapest. For example, my naturopath gave us a recipe for a raw muesli to lower my son's cholesterol (she also prescribed a certain garlic tablet, but just the cereal would help a lot). The recipe is:
Mix all ingredients in a container or large bowl with a lid; keep in the refrigerator. Eat 1/2 cup every day with milk or yogurt; may also be heated with milk in the microwave.
Eating this - even using it as a snack - will give fiber necessary to help lower cholesterol. This combined with the specific garlic tablet recommended (and attempting to follow a low fat diet - my son was 12 at the time - dropped his cholesterol by 30 points!
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when eating the above! Also raw fruits and vegetables eaten whenever possible will give you additional fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals.
First, he needs to become a careful shopper and needs to understand what the labels say. In choosing to avoid salt in my husband's diet, I discovered that things low in salt were high in either sugar or fat. A close look at labels will reveal that most prepared foods rely on either fat or sugar or salt to provide flavor or at least to enhance the flavor.
Therefore, one of the best plans is to avoid prepared foods to the greatest degree possible. The greatest thing to eat is fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk and milk products, low-fat meat and fish(e.g. buy chops or chicken, etc. and trim off any visible fat before cooking), whole grain bread and cereal, nuts and dried beans--all the good foods you know you should eat. Vegetables slathered in butter are to be avoided, but some people don't realize that vegetables or bread slathered in margarine or cream cheese isn't any better.
Your county Extension Service personnel should be able to help you with your diet and your cooking. Another aspect of the high cholesterol problem is to get enough exercise. For the person who is unaccustomed to exercise, it needs to be a slow approach, walking before running. A good exercise plan can pay many dividends, getting a person out in the fresh air, helping him to meet the neighbors, and getting into better shape all at one time.
I sympathize with the writer's dilemma: eat right and save money. I can feed my family of three with a box of Mac and Cheese for $1.25, but we'll all be blimps in no time! Here's how we eat:
First, I highly recommend checking out Eat Right 4 Your Type from the library. It's a somewhat unconventional but very highly substantiated theory on eating, based on our blood types. Certain diseases and health conditions (including high cholesterol) can be caused by how our bodies react to the foods we put into them, more specifically, how the chemicals in our blood react to the chemicals in our food. A quick example: Everyone in my family suffers from arthritis, and I have since I was 14. In reading the book, I learned that type O blood reacts to wheat and potatoes like a transfusion of type B blood (which would kill an O). My body's reaction to this food is to gather the offending elements at the joints and start a battle - resulting in arthritis. No wonder everyone in my family has it - we're all O's!
The book is filled with menus specific to your blood type. I've recommended it to about 10 people, saying "Try it for 2 weeks" and everyone has commented on the difference - weight loss, no more stomach trouble, less fatigue. So, I say to Derrick, your high cholesterol may do better with this well rounded diet than just going fat-free!
Next, I'll remind him that there are many low-fat and fat-free foods which aren't labeled that way. Any fresh vegetable or fruit will be lower in fat and higher in fiber will be better for you that a box of "fat free" cookies. Rice and pasta are low in fat and help you feel full. Fish, broiled or grilled, will be a wonderful health benefit. Go 2 weeks without buying any chips, cookies, or ice cream and see if you can live without it. Those are the most expensive "fat free" items at the store, and really ones we should all live without.
Lastly, look for items with low saturated fat, as the other fats (mono-unsaturated) can actually be more beneficial to you. Read the label and you'll find that the foods you thought you shouldn't have aren't really so bad. Everything in moderation!
My husband and I have been dieting very successfully for 2 months now. I have found info at the American Heart Association's website , the American Diabetes Association's website, etc. Go to a search engine and put in fat-free diet or low-fat recipes as your prompt, and you'll find lots of sites.
Remember that most fruits and vegetables are fat-free. Oatmeal is great for reducing cholesterol, as is a high fiber diet in general. I work with a guy who had a heart attack at 39 because of hereditary cholesterol problems. He went to a very low fat diet with fish, chicken, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. He no longer needs to take the Lipitor. The expensive foods that are labeled "lowfat" are processed foods that you don't need to eat anyway. Just go natural and it will be cheaper.
I have high cholesterol too. Buying fat free foods is not the answer. A lot of those products have dehydrogenated fat, which looks good on the box, but will drive up your cholesterol (for instance Garden Burgers - Personally I love them). Also Fat Free also means High Sugar and that will do the same thing. (With quite a few added pounds).
Truly the best thing to is to add more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat more oatmeal, use skim milk and watch your red meat. Watch all meat for that matter. About 4 oz is a serving and if you can hold it in the palm of your hand that is close enough for horseshoes. And once or twice a week is ideal.
Stay away from processed snacks (Little Debbie's, Oreos etc.) When you do eat them, watch your servings and make it a special treat. Read labels. Even granola bars can be a bad choice.
Then the bad 'E' word. Get exercise. Any kind. Wash the car, walk, etc., just get active and don't over do it. If you do most likely you will quit immediately. Just do it and work your way up to about three hours a week if possible.
I dropped my cholesterol from 260 to 217 (and can you believe that the Dr. is still not happy?) My weight is about 155 and I am about 6' tall. So what you look like really does not matter and from experience, I know many people who consider themselves over weight and have lower cholesterol than me. Some fat is good and our brains need it, as well as other parts of our bodies. Just try to watch what you eat and after a while it is not too hard!
Take the Next Step:
Sign up for our free weekly eNewsletter Surviving Tough Times.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.