womens guide
What is Cholesterol
Good & Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol Levels
Lowering Cholesterol
Cholesterol Medication
Diseases & Complications
Causes of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol Smart Diets
Nutritional Levels
Meats & Dairy
Fats & Fruit
Carbs & Sweets
Eating Out

Cholesterol: Eating Out?

Are you able to stick to your low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet when eating out? If not, you will be able to if you follow these tips:

  • Choose restaurants that have low saturated fat, low cholesterol menu choices. And, don’t be afraid to make special requests -- it’s your right as a paying customer.
  • Control serving sizes by asking for a side-dish or appetizer-size serving, sharing a dish with a companion, or taking some home.
  • Ask that gravy, butter, rich sauces, and salad dressing be served on the side. That way, you can control the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol that you eat.
  • Ask to substitute a salad or baked potato for chips, fries, coleslaw, or other extras -- or just ask that the extras be left off of your plate.
  • When ordering pizza, order vegetable toppings like green pepper, onions, and mushrooms instead of meat or extra cheese. To make your pizza even lower in saturated fat and fat, order it with half of the cheese or no cheese.
  • At fast food restaurants, go for salads, grilled (not fried or breaded) skinless chicken sandwiches, regular-sized hamburgers, or roast beef sandwiches. Go easy on the regular salad dressings and fatty sauces. Limit jumbo or deluxe burgers, sandwiches, french fries, and other foods.

Reading the Menu. Choose low saturated fat, low cholesterol cooking methods. Look for terms like steamed, in its own juice (au jus), garden fresh, broiled, baked, roasted, poached, tomato juice, dry boiled (in wine or lemon juice), and lightly sautéed or lightly stir-fried.

Be aware of dishes that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Watch out for terms like butter sauce, fried, crispy, creamed, in cream or cheese sauce, au gratin, au fromage, escalloped, parmesan, hollandaise, bernaise, marinated (in oil), stewed, basted, sautéed, stir-fried, casserole, hash, prime, pot pie, pastry crust.

Specific Tips for Healthy Choices. Now that you know more about the TLC Diet, here is a list of heart healthy suggestions you can order when dining out or ordering in. This list provides only a small sample of foods you can eat on a TLC Diet. You are NOT LIMITED to ordering only these foods. And remember, don't be afraid to ask how things are prepared and make special requests.


  • Fresh fruit or small glass of citrus juice
  • Whole grain bread, bagel or English muffin with jelly or honey
  • Whole grain cereal with lowfat (1%) or nonfat milk
  • Hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits, hominy) with nonfat milk topped with fruit
  • Omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute
  • Multigrain pancakes
  • Nonfat yogurt (try adding cereal or fresh fruit)


  • Water with lemon
  • Flavored sparkling water (non-caloric)
  • Milk, nonfat skim or low fat (1%)
  • 100% fruit juice, regular or low calorie
  • Juice spritzer (half fruit juice and half sparkling water)
  • Tomato juice (reduced sodium)
  • Lemonade
  • Iced Tea
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Iced Coffee with lowfat milk


Most bread and breadsticks are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Be careful when adding butter, margarine or olive oil to your bread because calories and fat can quickly add up. Also, eating a lot of bread in addition to your meal will fill you up with extra unwanted calories and not leave enough room for other low fat, low cholesterol foods, such as fruits and vegetables.


  • Shrimp* cocktail (limit cocktail sauce - it’s high in sodium)
  • Melons or fresh fruit
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit cup
  • Bean or broth-based soups
  • Salad with reduced fat dressing (or add lemon juice or vinegar)
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Raw vegetables with lowfat dip or salsa
  • Pita bread with hummus or low-fat black bean dip

*On the TLC Diet, eat no more than 3 ounces of shrimp and other shellfish to limit your daily intake of cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams.


  • Poultry, fish, and shellfish* are healthy choices
  • Vegetarian dishes with pasta, rice and other grains, beans, and lowfat sauces
  • Pasta with red sauce or with vegetables (primavera)
  • Look for terms like baked, broiled, steamed, poached, lightly sautéed or stir-fried
  • Ask for sauces and dressings on the side
  • Limit the amount of butter, margarine, and salt you use at the table.

*On the TLC Diet, eat no more than 3 ounces of shrimp and other shellfish to limit your daily intake of cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams.

Salads/Salad Bars

  • Fresh greens, lettuce and spinach
  • Fresh vegetables - tomato, mushroom, carrots, cucumber, peppers, onion, radishes, and broccoli
  • Beans, chick peas and kidney beans
  • Skip the non-vegetable choices: deli meats, bacon, egg, cheese, croutons
  • Choose lower calorie, reduced fat or fat free dressing, lemon juice, or vinegar

Side Dishes

  • Vegetables and starches (rice, potato, noodles) make good additions to meals and can also be combined for a lower saturated fat and cholesterol alternative to a higher saturated fat and cholesterol entrees.
  • Ask for side dishes without butter or margarine.
  • Ask for mustard, salsa or lowfat yogurt instead of sour cream or butter.


  • Fresh fruit
  • Lowfat or nonfat frozen yogurt
  • Sherbet or fruit sorbet (these are usually fat-free and cholesterol-free)
  • Angel food cake
  • Fat free cheesecake
  • Jell-O
  • Try sharing a dessert.
  • Ask for lowfat milk for your coffee (instead of cream or half-n-half).
  • Condiments
  • Jams and jellies
  • Horseradish
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Cocktail sauce (limit--it's high in sodium)
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Ginger


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