Diet Tips for Children with High Blood Cholesterol
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High blood cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia, is an unhealthy level of cholesterol in the blood and can affect people of all ages, including children. High cholesterol can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries and may cause heart problems and/or stroke.
To help prevent heart and other health problems from developing later in life, getting your child's high blood cholesterol under control is key.
One way to do this is through diet. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AFP) recommends following the "step 1" diet of the American Heart Association, which is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and high in complex carbohydrates. It also provides energy and protein for normal activity and growth.
Below are some healthy meal and snack options, aimed at helping lower high blood cholesterol in kids.
- Whole grain breads
- Milk (low-fat or skim)
Sandwiches are a staple of most kids’ lunches, and below are tips for making them healthier.
- Use low-fat or fat-free lunch meats. They are good in sandwiches or cut into strips on top of a salad.
- Stuff a pita-bread “pocket” with vegetables, fat-free cheese and bits of leftover grilled chicken.
- Cut up vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery and green peppers to add to tuna salad. Mix vegetables and water-packed tuna with fat-free mayonnaise or, for a different taste, mix with a fat-free salad dressing.
- Chunky bits of leftover chicken mixed with fat-free mayonnaise, raisins, shredded carrots and sliced almonds is a great chicken salad. Serve it in a pita-bread pocket. Top it with salsa for a Southwestern flavor.
- Mix cranberry sauce and fat-free mayonnaise to add to a turkey sandwich.
- Put natural peanut butter together with an all-fruit jelly for an old favorite.
- Sliced ham and low-fat or fat-free cheese with honey mustard is great on rye bread.
- Low-fat cheese makes a good sandwich with tomato slices and mustard or fat-free mayonnaise on a roll.
- Slice leftover pork tenderloin and top with barbecue sauce for a hot or cold sandwich.
- Make grilled-cheese sandwiches with low-fat or fat-free cheese and serve them with raw carrot and celery sticks.
- Put leftover chicken or turkey strips in a tortilla to make a cold fajita (add strips of raw red and green peppers and onions). Use fat-free sour cream as a dressing.
- Fruit bits stirred into nonfat yogurt
- Pineapple chunks
- Orange or grapefruit sections
- Bananas cooked lightly in apple juice
- Apple slices with natural peanut butter
- Dried fruit mixes
- Baked potato with low-fat cheese sprinkled on top
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks with natural peanut butter
- Raw broccoli and cauliflower florets with a low-fat dip or salsa
- Cheese: Use 1% fat or fat-free cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- Water-packed tuna mixed with fat-free mayonnaise on top of celery sticks or low-fat crackers
- Yogurts: Use fat-free yogurt. Try topping it with sunflower seeds, chopped dried fruit or a spoonful of oat bran.
- Low-fat cereals or cereal bars
Sweets and desserts:
- Fat-free frozen yogurt
- Juice bars
- Sherbet and sorbet
- Popcorn: Use "lite" or nonfat versions (try sprinkling popped corn with a little garlic, onion or chili powder)
- Rice cakes
- Low-fat pretzels
- Roasted peanuts in the shell
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Fat-free or baked potato chips
- Bagels and low-fat bagel chips
- Low-fat breadsticks
- Low-fat pita chips
It's important to eat a diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, and nuts and legumes. Kids usually aren't the only ones at risk, so it's important to make this a family effort. The steps you take to improve your family's lifestyle can have a positive effect on your family's health, not only now, but also in the future.
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Doylestown Health is committed to providing family-centered children's services to Bucks and Montgomery County communities. The Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center offers expert inpatient care to all ages including infants, children and teens. Della Penna Pediatric Center Services extend beyond the hospital setting to include health and wellness education, nutrition services and other support services.