Eggs are largely off the table if you’re trying to cut down your cholesterol, as are foods high in saturated fats, including sausages and bacon. As such, many classic breakfasts aren’t realistic either. Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious low cholesterol breakfast foods.
The foods on this list aren’t just tasty and low in cholesterol. Many of them can also help to decrease your cholesterol levels. They have plenty of important nutrients too, which all help you in a variety of ways.
Before we talk about them though, we need to mention cholesterol itself. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found throughout the body. It isn’t bad in itself, but high cholesterol levels might increase the risk of health problems, particularly heart disease.
We often focus on two forms of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL). Current theory suggests that high levels of LDL cholesterol contribute to heart disease by promoting atherosclerosis. As such, high levels of LDL cholesterol put you at risk.
In contrast, HDL cholesterol can decrease cholesterol levels in cells. This suggests that the best foods for your heart should decrease LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
Still, if you’re concerned about heart disease, it makes sense to focus on low cholesterol foods. This way, you’re not putting yourself at risk. The foods we’re talking about today just what you need for balancing your cholesterol levels.
Table of Contents
Breakfast Foods That Are Low In Cholesterol
- Smoked Salmon
- Other Types Of Fish
- Overnight Oats
- Tofu Scramble
- Low Cholesterol Pancakes
- A Breakfast Salad
- Whole Grain Toast
- Nuts And Nut Butter
- Chia Pudding
Oats are a popular ingredient and what could be more classic than oatmeal for breakfast?
Oatmeal isn’t just low in cholesterol, it has also been directly linked to benefits for your heart. The effect partly comes from beta-glucan. This is a powerful type of soluble fiber that’s found in oats and few other places.
Beta-glucan is interesting because it partially dissolves. When it does so, it creates a gel-like solution in your gut. That effect mightn’t sound appealing, but the beta-gluten can promote a sense of fullness while helping to increase HDL levels and decrease LDL.
You mightn’t cook a whole fillet of salmon for breakfast, but smoked salmon is an excellent choice. It can easily be served on whole grain bread or a bagel to give you a meal that’s rich in fiber.
You could even branch out and make a savory breakfast bowl. Pseudograins like quinoa make an excellent base for such a bowl. You can top it with smoked salmon and various other heart-friendly ingredients, including avocados and perhaps some nuts.
You could even use oats as the base for your meal. These combine surprisingly well with savory toppings.
There are multiple health reasons for focusing on salmon.
First, the fish is naturally low in cholesterol. It’s also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are helpful in various ways. They even help lower your LDL levels and increase HDL, while promoting a variety of other health benefits too.
Kippers is a traditional breakfast dish that’s made from smoked herrings. Just like salmon, kippers are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, while also offering plenty of other nutrients.
Having a fish-based breakfast, like salmon or kippers, also provides you with protein. This can be crucial first thing in the morning, as the protein will give you sustainable energy that should last well into the day.
On the other hand, if your breakfast is heavy in carbs, you’re likely to get an initial spike in your energy and a crash later on. That pattern isn’t helpful at all.
Other Types Of Fish
Salmon and kippers are hardly your only options. Many delicious fish recipes work just as well for breakfast as they do for lunch or dinner. A fish cookbook can be a wonderful starting point, giving you plenty of ideas about dishes to try.
Focusing on fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and anchovies, is the most powerful idea. Because these types of fish are high in fat, they’re rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
In contrast, white fish like cod tend to be much lower in fat and aren’t as powerful for omega 3 fatty acids. Still, they remain a healthy low cholesterol source of protein.
Earlier on, we mentioned the benefits of oatmeal for your heart. Those effects all come from the oats, which means that other ways of eating oats can be equally powerful.
Overnight oats can be an ideal alternative.
For one thing, these oats are served at room temperature or just slightly warm – perfect for summer days where you’re not in the mood for hot oatmeal. Plus, you can include many delicious ingredients in your overnight oats, giving you a breakfast that’s much more interesting than a plain bowl of oatmeal.
You might have guessed at the other advantage from the name. Overnight oats are made by soaking oats in some type of liquid overnight. Most of your other ingredients will be added then as well. The only essential ingredients are oats, liquid, and a small serving of chia seeds. Everything else is up to you.
Because the work is done the night before, overnight oats make breakfast time incredibly easy. If you prep the oats in a jar, you can even just take the jar and a spoon out the door with you and eat breakfast on the run.
Who says that easy breakfasts can’t be healthy too?
Fresh fruit is an easy way to make breakfast vibrant and delicious. Fruits are all low in cholesterol, but some types might be better for your health than others. Apples and citrus fruits are particularly important for lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. This includes grapefruit, which is still a classic breakfast food for many people.
Papayas are a less common addition that can be surprisingly powerful too.
Many of the benefits of fruit come from the fiber content, so whole fruit is a much better choice than fruit juice.
Be careful of your serving sizes too. After all, while fruit is a type of whole food, most fruits do contain a decent amount of sugar. High sugar intake isn’t good for your health or your health – even if that sugar comes from fruit.
If you’re missing scrambled eggs, then tofu scramble is a fantastic alternative. You just need to crumble the tofu into a pan, cook it up with herbs and some vegetables, and then dish the meal up.
You end up with a dish that looks like scrambled eggs, but isn’t high in cholesterol. The flavor and texture isn’t exactly the same, but what you get is close enough to make a great egg alternative.
Although, on a side note, while eggs are high in cholesterol, they don’t increase cholesterol levels for many people. You may still be able to have an egg every so often, even on a low cholesterol diet.
While smoothies are a type of drink, they’re too important to leave off any breakfast foods list. After all, smoothies are an easy alternative to a meal and many people end up using one instead of breakfast in the morning.
Smoothies can be healthy, packed with nutrients, and low in cholesterol. However, it’s also easy to make an unhealthy smoothie, one that is filled with sugar and doesn’t contain many nutrients at all.
The trick is to choose your ingredients carefully. For low cholesterol, you’ll want to focus on some type of plant-based milk and look for ingredients that contain plenty of fiber. Useful ingredients include leafy greens, various superfoods, nut butter, and anything else that’s packed with nutrients.
Be careful of fruit and fruit juice. Some fruits, like berries, remain excellent additions, but it’s very easy to overdo it with the sugar in your smoothie.
We’ve already talked about fruit, but avocados deserve a special mention. After all, they’re a very unusual type of fruit, one that’s rich in fat and contains little sugar.
The texture and flavor of avocados make them popular for breakfast. You can easily eat them on their own or perhaps spread them on toast.
The fat content doesn’t make avocados a poor choice for cholesterol – quite the opposite. Avocados end up helping your cholesterol levels, as they’re filled with monounsaturated fats.
Low Cholesterol Pancakes
While pancakes are a delicious breakfast treat, they’re often not particularly healthy. After all, they can rely on refined flour, butter, eggs, and milk. You often end up with a high carb meal that contains a decent amount of sugar too.
Because pancakes tend to be low in protein, they can give you a fast boost of energy that quickly fades. This is far from ideal, especially first thing in the morning.
Thankfully, you can make healthier pancakes. Some versions rely on whole wheat flour rather than white flour. Others might add protein powder to change the nutrient balance. There are also recipes designed to help with your cholesterol levels, like this one.
A Breakfast Salad
Salad doesn’t normally feature on breakfast menus, but there’s no reason that it can’t. After all, salads are always stunning ways to load up on nutrients. Most ingredients are low in cholesterol too.
If a salad isn’t enough, try adding in some protein rich ingredients, along with sources of healthy fats. Avocados are always a good addition, along with nuts, seeds, or roasted chickpeas.
Quinoa is an interesting pseudocereal. It’s a type of seed that we treat much like a grain. Except, unlike most grains, quinoa is a good source of protein. It’s also more nutritionally dense than wheat, to the extent that quinoa is often called a superfood.
Most of the time, quinoa is served for lunch or dinner rather than breakfast. However, it can be a delicious breakfast foo as well.
One trick is to make a savory power bowl. Here you’re cooking quinoa and using it as the base of the bowl, then adding various savory ingredients on the top. Some of the ingredients we’ve already talked about could work well here, like avocados and smoked salmon.
You can even make a sweet dish with quinoa, using it in the same way that you would oats. Try using some protein-rich plant-based milk with the meal and add some nuts on top. Doing so would increase the protein content of the meal, and give you a filling breakfast.
Whole Grain Toast
Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, which helps to decrease your LDL cholesterol levels. You can get these benefits from many foods, including oats and quinoa (even though quinoa is technically a seed). Whole grain toast is another option.
To be clear, toast isn’t as powerful as some of the other foods on this list. It is high in carbs and low in protein, so it won’t provide sustainable energy. Still, you can get around that by including a high protein topping, like nut butter.
Whole grain toast is a much better choice than white toast, as you’re getting more fiber. You can even look for high fiber products. Sprouted bread might be better still, as the sprouting process can make the nutrients more accessible.
Nuts And Nut Butter
Nuts aren’t just delicious. They’re also filled with healthy fat and plenty of protein, and can help to decrease your cholesterol levels. Any type of nut can be helpful here, so including a variety of types might be the best way to boost your health.
There are plenty of ways to use nuts as part of your breakfast. Why not include some in a smoothie or chop them up and sprinkle them over oatmeal? Some high-quality cereal brands even use nuts as an ingredient.
We can’t forget about nut butter either. Peanut butter is the most common choice here, partly because it is inexpensive. While peanuts are technically a legume, peanut butter might help your cholesterol levels.
Just makes sure to choose a product that avoids hydrogenated fat. The best types of peanut butter rely on peanuts, perhaps some salt, and little else.
You can also try other nut butters, like almond butter and cashew butter. These tend to be even more nutritious and are a nice change from peanut butter.
Of course, you’ll need to be careful with the amount you eat. It’s easy to overdo it with nuts and nut butter, especially as nuts are calorie dense.
Despite the name, chia pudding isn’t something that you eat for dessert. Instead, chia pudding works well at any time of the day, as an excellent source of fiber, protein, and plant-based compounds.
Not surprisingly, chia seeds are the star of the dish.
In fact, you can make chia pudding with two ingredients – chia seeds and some type of liquid (plant-based milk is often used). Soaking the chia seeds in the liquid for two hours or so gives you a delicious pudding-like texture.
You can add in a few other ingredients for extra flavor, like some vanilla, fruit, or even spices. Cinnamon is excellent here, but you can let your imagination go wild. Chia pudding stores well in the fridge and you can easily make it the night before, giving you a breakfast choice that requires no work on the day.