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Updated May 07, 2015.
Grapes are a healthy, handy fruit to have on hand when you are following a diet to lower your lipids. Despite its small size, grapes are packed full of nutrients, such as vitamins and fiber. This delicious fruit also has other healthy ingredients on-hand that could help keep your cholesterol levels in check, such as phytosterols, polyphenols and other antioxidants. Although all grapes are nutritious, red and purple grapes are higher in heart-healthy polyphenols.
These tips will show you some easy ways to include grapes in your heart-healthy diet.
Use Grapes in Your Snacks
Grapes are easily portable, making them an easy snack to have available when you are hungry and in a hurry. And if eating them off of the vine gets a little boring, you can prepare your grapes in another way – such as cooking or freezing them:
These preparation methods are safe to use if you are watching your lipid levels. However, you should make sure that when you are heating or grilling your grapes, that you do not add ingredients such as butter – which could increase your saturated fat intake. You can also add a few raw grapes with other snacks, such as granola, trail mix, or whole wheat crackers.
Toss Grapes in Your Salads
Raw grapes make an excellent complement to any type of salad – whether you are preparing a fresh green salad, grilled chicken salad, or bean salad. When preparing your salads, grapes can be tossed in whole or halved.
If you are watching your fat intake, you should make sure that you are pairing grapes with other healthy ingredients for your salad, such as vegetables, nuts, other fruit, legumes or whole grains. Other ingredients commonly added in salads, such as meat, cheese and creamy dressings, can heap on calories to your already low-fat salad.
Include Grapes in Your Meals
Surprisingly, there are many ways to include this tasty fruit in many of your meals throughout the day. For breakfast, you can cut up a handful of grapes and place them in your morning oatmeal, a white egg omelet, or whole wheat muffins. Grapes can also be incorporated into your sandwiches, sides, and other main courses – whether you plan on adding grapes as the final touch to your entrée or mixing them in during the preparation process. Either way, the result will be a delicious meal with added sweetness. The following recipes are good examples of how to include grapes in your main course:
Grapes for Dessert
Because of their sweet flavor, grapes can also be incorporated into some delicious desserts. Cholesterol-friendly desserts that you can incorporate grapes into include a low-fat frozen yogurt, a sorbet, or a fruit cocktail. When using grapes in your desserts, you should be careful to limit the amount of heavy creams, ice cream, cakes or butter you include, as all of these ingredients could also introduce extra fat into your diet. Additionally, if you decide to make a sorbet or fruit cocktail, you should be careful regarding how much sugar you add to your dessert – or you can use a sugar substitute to reduce the amount of sugar and calories in the dessert.