Cholesterol-Reducing Nutrition for Seniors

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May is Stroke Awareness Month – a good time to remember that high cholesterol levels put seniors at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association (heart.org), it’s important for seniors to take steps to keep their cholesterol levels under control.

Seniors and their caregivers can reduce cholesterol by eating healthy. There are many cholesterol-reducing recipes that seniors enjoy. Add them to a senior’s menu to help protect their heart and health.

A Classic Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

EatingWell offers many recipes for seniors with high cholesterol. This one’s a favorite because it makes 4 individual meals. Freeze 3 for your senior to reheat for meals in the future.

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 10- or 12-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 6 sheets 9-by-14-inch phyllo dough, defrosted (follow package directions)
  • Cooking spray (olive oil or canola oil)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Cook chicken in a skillet with 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Remove chicken after 3 minutes, adding shallots and 2 more teaspoons of oil. Stir over medium heat 3 minutes. Add veggies and seasonings of choice for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in 1¾ cups broth and bring to a boil. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup broth and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the pan. Boil and cook until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat, adding chicken, sour cream, and seasonings of choice.
  5. Divide the mixture among four 12-ounce baking dishes.
  6. Make 2 stacks of 3 sheets of phyllo each, spraying with oil lightly. Cut the stacks in half and divide, placing one stack over each baking dish.
  7. Place the potpies on a baking sheet and bake until the tops are golden and the filling bubbly. Takes 18 to 20 minutes.

Delicious Dessert: Baked Fruit

Livestrong (livestrong.com) recommends serving fruit as a heart healthy dessert because it is naturally sweet and low in cholesterol. To dress up regular fruit, bake it. For example, try WebMd’s baked apple recipe (or try a pear instead!):

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Tbsp Softened Butter
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • A spoonful of chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions:

  1. Remove the apple’s core and bottom so it stands up stably.
  2. Stir remaining ingredients together into a filling.
  3. Spoon filling into apple center.
  4. Wrap with plastic wrap and microwave 3 minutes or until tender.
  5. Low cholesterol cooking means using healthy ingredients – and avoiding or limiting those that can cause heart problems.

Cholesterol-Friendly Ingredients

  • Fish
  • Lean Meats
  • Fruits
  • Olive Oil
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Oats

Ingredients to Avoid

  • Red meat (especially high-fat red meat cuts)
  • Dairy
  • Packaged Baked Goods
  • High Sodium Snacks
  • Shortening
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Fried Foods

Low-Cholesterol Snacks

  • Pre-cut Veggies like carrot or celery sticks are filling, nutritious, and low in cholesterol
  • Handheld fruits like apples, oranges, or grapes are convenient and tasty
  • Nuts and seeds are easy to snack on, fibrous, and reduce cholesterol
  • Fruit-based muffins or bread satisfy cravings for soft baked goods minus all the shortening

Giving up favorite foods can upset seniors. Your senior may be more likely to accept a new diet if you continue to prepare preferred meals but use low-cholesterol ingredient substitutes. Cooking from scratch is always preferable to pre-packaged meals, as you can control the ingredients.

Assisting Hands Home Care serving Cincinnati, OH has caregivers who understand how to meet the nutritional needs of seniors and prepare healthy meals. If you feel that your loved one needs support at home and want the peace of mind knowing they are getting healthy food and companionship, give us a call today for a complimentary consultation with one of our Care Managers.