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Foods low in saturated fat and trans fat

It is beneficial to eat a heart-smart diet if you take cholesterol and/or blood pressure medicines and if you don't have heart disease.

The following charts provide information about foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

Fruits

Food group Foods to choose Eat less

Fruits

Eat two servings or more a day.

  • all whole fruits (avocados for healthful fats) and 100% fruit juices
  • orange juice with plant stanols/sterols (can help to lower cholesterol levels)
  • fruit in cream or custard

Vegetables

Food group Foods to choose
Eat less

Vegetables

Eat three servings or more a day.

  • all vegetables and low-sodium vegetable juices
  • vegetables in cream, butter or high-fat cheese sauces
  • vegetables fried in shortening, lard or butter

Meat, poultry, fish or meat substitutes

Food group Foods to choose
Eat less

Meat, poultry, fish or meat substitutes

The American Heart Association recommends no more than six ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, fish or seafood a day.

Try to eat two servings of fish each week.

  • fish high in omega-3: salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna
  • Lean beef: round, loin, tip, eye of round, flank
  • lean pork: loin chops, roasts, butterfly chops, sirloin chops, tenderloin
  • lean lamb: chops, leg, roast
  • chicken or turkey (no skin)
  • wild game: venison, wild duck, rabbit, pheasant
  • beans, lentils, peas, low-fat tofu, vegetable-based meat substitutes (read label)
  • prime grade or rib cuts of any meat
  • domestic duck, goose
  • venison sausage
  • organ meats
  • battered, breaded and fried foods
  • processed meats: hot dogs, sausage, bacon, salami, bologna
  • Limit shellfish to no more than one serving each week.

Eggs

Food group Foods to choose Eat less
Eggs
  • eggs (in moderation)
  • egg whites or low-cholesterol egg substitutes

Milk, yogurt, cheese

Food group Foods to choose Eat less

Milk, yogurt, cheese

Eat two to three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese every day.

  • fat-free or 1% milk
  • low-fat yogurt (soft, frozen)
  • low-fat cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese 
  • whole milk, whole-milk products and 2% milk
  • custard style yogurt
  • cream, half & half
  • whole-milk-type cheeses

Grains

Food group Foods to choose Eat less

Grains

Eat six servings a day. Make at least half of these whole grain. Check the ingredients list to make sure the first ingredient includes the word "whole."

  • breads: all kinds, low-fat English muffins, pitas, wraps
  • grains: barley, bulgur, quinoa
  • pancakes, waffles, biscuits, and muffins made with recommended oils
  • snacks: choose baked or low-fat without hydrogenated oils (trans fat)
  • hot or cold cereals
  • pasta and rice
  • products made with saturated oils or whole-milk products
  • butter rolls, egg breads, egg bagels, cheese breads, croissants, scones
  • commercial doughnuts, muffins, sweet rolls, biscuits

Fats and oils

Food group Foods to choose Eat less

Fats and oils

Maximum of six to eight servings every day (varies with calories needed). This includes fats used in cooking, baking, salads and spreads on bread. Remember to read labels carefully to avoid trans fats.

  • avocado
  • vegetable oils: canola, olive, peanut, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed, sesame and flaxseed oil
  • margarines: spray, tub, or squeeze, with one of above oils listed as a liquid as the first ingredient (no trans fat)
  • salad dressing or mayonnaise: made with recommended oil
  • spreads with plant stenols/ sterols
  • low-fat or fat-free salad dressing or mayonnaise
  • unsalted nuts and seeds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • solid fats and shortenings: butter, lard, salt pork, bacon drippings
  • gravy containing meat fat, shortening or suet
  • margarines in which the first ingredient is not a liquid oil
  • chocolate, cocoa butter, coconut
  • coconut oil, palm oil or palm kernel oil (often used in bakery products)
  • nondairy creamers, whipped toppings, candy, fried foods
  • half & half, heavy or whipping cream 

Salt (sodium)

Food group Foods to choose Eat less

Salt (sodium)

Reduce sodium intake to less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) a day. Aim for less than 1,500 mg a day, if possible. Do not add extra salt at the table. Omit or reduce the amount of salt used in cooking and baking.

  • fresh or frozen meats
  • fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (no added salt)
  • unsalted crackers, pretzels or popcorn
  • low-sodium soups
  • oil, vinegar, lemon juice
  • processed cheese and meats, sardines, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, canned vegetables
  • canned soups, bouillon, soy sauce
  • ready-to-make foods
  • BBQ sauce, gravy mixes
  • salted nuts or seeds

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Nutrition Guide for a Healthy Heart, nutr-ah-91555
First Published: 04/01/2016
Last Reviewed: 04/01/2016