5 Baking Tips to Help Lower Your Lipids

Baking your own foods is one way to help keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check since you know exactly what you are adding to your foods. If you haven't already noticed, some of your favorite recipes call for fattening ingredients that could potentially cause your lipid levels to increase — as well as your waistline.

Just because you are following a cholesterol-lowering diet, it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy preparing — and consuming — your favorite, baked dishes. Here are some healthy modifications you can make to the next baked dish that will help you to keep your lipid levels — and your heart — healthy.

Women kneading dough
Nico De Pasquale Photography / Getty Images

Use Whole-Wheat Flour

Most recipes call for all-purpose flour, which is more refined. Whole-wheat flour is a little coarser but contains more fiber — an ingredient that is known to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. There are many types of wheat flour, so if whole wheat flour gets boring, you can use other types of flour that are higher in fiber, such as spelt flour, cricket flour or graham flour.

Use Fruit

Fruit is naturally sweet and is also a high-fiber food. Whether you are baking a cake or making a filling, adding fruit to it will make the food sweeter, tasty, and add a little more fiber to your diet. Just make sure you are using fresh fruit — not canned or dried — which can heap on the refined sugar and calories. So whether you like baked apples, citrus fruits, or fresh berries, adding your favorite fruits will make your next baked favorites sweeter and healthier.

Consider Dark Chocolate in Moderation

Dark chocolate is higher in antioxidant content in comparison to milk chocolate, making it a healthier option to satisfy your chocolate craving. Additionally, some studies have shown that dark chocolate is cholesterol-friendly. Dark chocolate can be used as a light drizzle in your favorite low-fat desserts or in other baked treats. To get the antioxidant benefit in dark chocolate, be sure to select dark chocolates that contain at least 70% cocoa or higher.

Limit Fattening Ingredients

Butter and milk are the most commonly used ingredients when baking, but they can also be the most fattening ingredients in your dish. There are ways that you can modify these two ingredients in your dishes so that you reduce the saturated fat and calorie content in the recipe — without sacrificing taste.

To lower the addition of saturated fat in your recipe, you can substitute low-fat or skim milk for whole milk. If at all possible, limit your use of shortening, as this can introduce trans-fat into your baked goods.

In some cases, heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil, can be used to substitute for butter or margarine. If this option is not compatible with your recipe, you can also use a butter or margarine containing phytosterols, which has also been linked to lowering LDL cholesterol. Unfortunately, these butters are usually soft, so in some cases, this may also not be an option in your baking. In these cases, reducing the amount of butter or margarine included in the recipe may help to lower the fat content of the dish, and still maintain the consistency of the baked food you are preparing.

Reduce Portion Sizes

If you are making a healthy version of your favorite cake or pie, slicing the whole pie or cake into smaller pieces can help give you a delicious serving of this treat — without you going overboard.

3 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. Surampudi P, Enkhmaa B, Anuurad E, Berglund L. Lipid Lowering with Soluble Dietary FiberCurr Atheroscler Rep. 2016;18(12):75. doi:10.1007/s11883-016-0624-z

  2. Tokede OA, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysisEur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65(8):879-86. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.64

  3. Cabral CE, Klein MRST. Phytosterols in the Treatment of Hypercholesterolemia and Prevention of Cardiovascular DiseasesArq Bras Cardiol. 2017;109(5):475-482. doi:10.5935/abc.20170158

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.