Lipid-Lowering Diet Food Shopping Guide

You can begin a lipid-lowering diet by reviewing the low-cholesterol food list below. Thankfully, a low-cholesterol diet requires adding many foods to your daily routine, not just abstaining from foods that are unhealthy. A low-cholesterol diet can be full of colorful and flavorful foods, and there are no restrictions on the salt-free spices you can use to make your meals exciting.

As with any diet, be certain to consult your physician for specific dietary guidelines. Your requirements may exclude some of these foods. Print this handy list, take it with you to the grocery store, and try something new and healthy.

Man with shopping list in produce section of grocery store
Noel Hendrickson Collection / Digital Vision / Getty Images 

Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and fiber.

  • Vegetables: Choose fresh, canned, or frozen, without added fat or salt. All vegetables are cholesterol-friendly. Especially choose dark, leafy green vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, and spinach) and deep orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, acorn, and butternut squash).
  • Fruit: Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, without added sugar. Enjoy whole fruit instead of fruit juice so you get the benefits of the fiber.
  • Healthy soups: Good choices include tomato, vegetable, chicken, and minestrone (choose low-sodium prepared options when possible, or better yet, make your own).

Whole Grains and Nuts

  • Whole-wheat, rye and pumpernickel bread, whole-wheat tortillas and bagels
  • Whole-grain cereals, such as those that are oat-, bran-, or rice-based
  • Oats and oat bran for soluble fiber
  • Nuts and seeds: Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and ground flaxseeds for omega-3 fatty acids; almonds and walnuts too, which offer the additional benefit of plant sterols

Beans and Vegetable Proteins

  • Tofu, tempeh, and soy/vegetable burgers are good sources of soluble fiber.
  • Dried peas and beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, and vegetarian baked beans are excellent sources of fiber and protein.

Eggs and Meat

  • Lean meats: Choose sirloin, chuck, loin and round. Buy "choice" or "select" grades rather than "prime." Look for lean or extra-lean ground meats.
  • Skinless turkey and chicken: Choose light meat over dark meat.

Fish and Seafood

  • Fish: Best choices include salmon, trout, sardines, albacore tuna, and herring, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Also enjoy tuna, mackerel, halibut, tilapia, and cod. Eat at least two servings of fish each week.
  • Other seafood, including clams, crab, oysters, lobster, scallops: Note that shrimp and crawfish are higher in cholesterol, but they are lower in total fat and saturated fat than most meats and poultry, so are a better choice.

Dairy Products

  • Milk; evaporated or condensed milk for cooking
  • Whey protein powder: beneficial for cholesterol and a good choice to add to smoothies for protein

Desserts and Snacks

  • Fresh fruits (note that grapefruit can interact with many cholesterol-lowering medications and should be avoided; ask your physician if grapefruit is appropriate for you)
  • Lite air-popped or microwave popcorn
  • Fat-free or non-fat sherbet or sorbet
  • Low-fat angel food cake
  • Low-fat cookies, such as animal crackers, fig bars, ginger snaps, molasses cookies, graham crackers (look for labels that indicate no trans fat)
  • Baked potato chips
  • All-fruit snack bars
  • Gelatin

A Word From Verywell

Although some foods may be more advised for a cholesterol-lowering diet than others, calories are calories and they can add up whether you're eating healthy foods or junkier options. Be sure to be mindful as you plan your diet.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol With Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. December 2005.

  2. Simple, Heart-Smart Substitutions. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. May 26, 2020.

  3. How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. February 27, 2019.

  4. Cooking to Lower Cholesterol. American Heart Association. November 11, 2020.

Additional Reading

By Ellen Slotkin, RD, LDN
Ellen Slotkin is a registered dietitian specializing in heart-healthy nutrition, weight management, and pregnancy nutrition.