If your cholesterol has climbed higher than is healthy, going out to enjoy a sumptuous meal may suddenly feel lackluster. Here is a guide to eating out with high cholesterol. Fact: When you have high cholesterol, it’s wise to more carefully watch what you eat. But if you remember a few simple guidelines, you can still splurge guilt-free. Here, Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University fills us in on heart-healthy (and delicious) menu options.

Menu Games: For starters, avoid aggravating high LDL (bad) cholesterol by steering clear of foods high in saturated fats. These lead to plaque buildup on artery walls, which can result in heart attack or stroke. Consider asking your server to remove the bread (or at least stick with whole grain if it’s offered) and butter from the table. Graze over these words: battered, breaded, buttery, cheesy, creamy, or fried. Scout these key words instead: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried. Remember to request dressings, sauces, and toppings (including butter or sour cream) on the side, and when fries come with a dish, request a side salad or steamed veggies instead. Consider these healthier menu picks:

Lobster

This luscious seafood has been mistakenly ex’d off by many as a forbidden food because it’s thought to be high in cholesterol and calories. It’s not. Lobster is low in saturated fat and is served in a healthy portion (a one-pound lobster yields three ounces of lobster meat). Chicken or steak often come in bigger portions. Tip: Reduce the saturated fat in dipping butter by requesting sliced lemons and making lemon-butter dipping sauce. Just add a tad of butter to the lemon juice. If seafood’s not your thing, grilled chicken kabobs are another good choice.

Roast Beef

If you crave the taste of meat, satisfy the yen with this leaner source. Order a roast beef sandwich on whole grain over the burger or steak, which tend to be fattier and served in larger portions.

Meringue, Berries, Sorbet

For dessert, meringue is a light and safe bet. Made with egg whites, you never have to wonder how many egg yolks were used to make it. Plus, the low-calorie splurge is often fruit-filled, adding more good-for-you pleasure. If sorbet, fresh berries, or a fruit medley are offered, opt for one of those cholesterol-friendly options. Seeking something that feels sinful but isn’t? Order a frothy cappuccino made with skim milk and relish the guilt-free indulgence.

What tricks do You use to make heart-healthy menu choices?