Nutrition Focus on what you CAN eat

Nutrition planning
for severe
(sHTG) 9,37

Eating a low-fat diet can seem difficult at first, but with a few simple tips, people living with sHTG can make meals that taste great and can help lower triglyceride levels.

Keep the guesswork to a mininimum with these tips for staying healthy, happy, and satisfied.

1. Identify: Create a list of your favorite foods, cuisines, and flavors

Write down all the foods you love — even those that may not be healthy. What flavors do you enjoy now? What tastes remind you of childhood? When you have the munchies, what do you crave? Include meals, snacks, desserts, and beverages.

When you finish your list, take a look at it. Do you notice any patterns? Do you like simple flavors? Or complex? Are you into international cuisines? Which ones? Italian or Indian? Mexican or Mongolian? Spicy or tangy? Salty or sweet or savory?

2. Discover: Get to the root of what fuels your cravings

Think about what it is that you like about the foods you listed above. Is it the ingredients, the spices, the flavor profiles, or the cooking methods? Think about the time of day when you crave food. Do you grab snacks throughout the day? Or do you take time to cook your meal?

Do you know how the foods you love are prepared? If you’re not sure, try looking up low-fat recipes on the internet, read some low-fat cookbooks, or talk to people who make the type of food you crave.

3. Substitute: Create healthier versions of the foods you crave

Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained in your research, think about how you can make versions of your favorite foods that will not raise your triglyceride levels.

For example, how could you swap a pizza from your local pizzeria with something healthy? How about a non-fat, whole wheat pita version? Or mini-pizzas on a fat-free whole wheat English Muffin? Using those items as your crust, add sliced tomatoes and/or vegetables (such as red onions, peppers, or mushrooms), and then top it off with a fat-free mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of basil and oregano. Put your pizza under the broiler for 5-6 minutes and you now have a healthy substitute for pizza.

Craving a hamburger? Try one of the low-fat veggie burgers sold at some grocery stores. Be sure to read the label for grams of total fat. If veggie burgers aren’t your thing, throw a portabella mushroom (with a little garlic) or piece of non-oily white fish on the grill to enhance the burger flavor. Spread some stone-ground mustard on a whole wheat bun. Top with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and a red-onion, and you’re ready for a backyard BBQ.

4. Maintain: Take the guesswork out of shopping

Once you’ve come up with your recipes for healthy low- fat substitutes, create a list of your most often used ingredients. We’ve started one for you below. Keep these often-used ingredients on-hand. This will take some of the thinking out of making a healthy low-fat meal. Also consider buying common spices for the cuisines you enjoy, since most spices have little to no fat.

Keep your food list on your smart phone or print it out on paper. That way, when you’re at the grocery store, you can get what you need to make healthy and flavorful foods that you love.

As always, check the Nutrition Facts label to make sure all ingredients fit with your nutrition plan.

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Fat-free tomato sauce
  • Fat-free broth
  • Canned fat-free beans
  • Fat-free chili beans
  • Brown rice
  • Toasted oat cereal
  • Shredded wheat
  • Whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • Canned chicken breast and tuna, packed in water
  • Condiments (stone-ground mustard, hot sauce)
  • Salsa
  • Vinegars
  • Fat-free, no sugar salad dressings and marinades
  • Alcohol free vanilla extract

Nutrition resources

Download the Food Fact Sheet to see a helpful list of low-fat, low-sugar foods that you can eat.

To help get you started on a nutrition plan for people living with sHTG, here are some additional resources available to you.




You may need to modify some of the fat-free recipes in the following to eliminate added sugars and refined grains, such as white flour, through substitutions, but they are a good source of inspiration and most are available on Amazon:

  • Secrets of Fat-Free Cooking: Over 150 Fat-Free and Low- Fat Recipes from Breakfast to Dinner-Appetizers to Desserts, by Sandra Woodruff
  • Secrets of Fat-Free Baking, by Sandra Woodruff
  • 500 Low-Fat Fruit and Vegetable Recipes: The One-Stop Source of Healthful, Great-Tasting Meals, by Sarah Schlesinger
  • Everyday Cooking with Dean Ornish: 150 Easy, Low-Fat, High-Flavor Recipes, by Dean Ornish (a plant-based diet)

Some foods may affect people differently. When introducing a new food into your diet, start with a very small portion. If you experience no ill effects, try a little more in a couple days. Talk to a registered dietitian to see what’s best for you.

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