Diet – Dash

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This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

How does it work?

DASH is a great diet to lower your BP. It calls for a certain number of daily servings, depending on your gender, age, and activity level. For example, if you’re a female between 31 and 50 years of age and moderately active, your daily calorie requirement equals 2,000.

To actually lose weight on this diet, you’re encouraged to be physically active for at least 30 to 60 minutes everyday.

Your body should only take in as many calories as you burn.

What are the risks?

As long as you follow the guidelines correctly and consult with your doctor first, there are none.

However, since DASH requires more servings of fruits and vegetables than you may be used to eating, you may experience some bloating and diarrhea at first.

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends gradually increasing your servings over several weeks to avoid this.

The Dash diet is approved by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the American Heart Association; and the Mayo Clinic.

The DASH diet plan includes eating more:

  • fruits and vegetables,
  • low-fat or nonfat dairy,
  • beans, and nuts.
  • And eating less fatty meats,
  • full-fat dairy products,
  • sugar-sweetened beverages,
  • sweets, and sodium (salt).

Sample menus for the DASH diet

Maybe you want to try the DASH diet but aren’t quite sure how to incorporate DASH into your own daily menus. To help you get started, here are three days of menus that conform to the DASH plan.

Use these menus as a basis for your own healthy meal planning.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Day 1 menu

Breakfast

1 store-bought (commercial) whole-wheat bagel with 2 tablespoons peanut butter (no salt added)
1 medium orange
1 cup fat-free milk
Decaffeinated coffee

Lunch

Spinach salad made with:
4 cups of fresh spinach leaves
1 sliced pear
1/2 cup canned mandarin orange sections
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette

12 reduced-sodium wheat crackers
1 cup fat-free milk

Dinner

Herb-crusted baked cod, 3 ounces cooked (about 4 ounces raw)
1/2 cup brown rice pilaf with vegetables
1/2 cup fresh green beans, steamed
1 small sourdough roll
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup fresh berries with chopped mint
Herbal iced tea
Snack (anytime)
1 cup fat-free, low-calorie yogurt
4 vanilla wafers

Day 2 menu

Breakfast

1 cup fresh mixed fruits, such as melons, banana, apple and berries, topped with 1 cup fat-free, low-calorie vanilla-flavored yogurt and 1/3 cup walnuts
1 bran muffin
1 teaspoon trans-free margarine
1 cup fat-free milk
Herbal tea

Lunch

Curried chicken wrap made with:
1 medium whole-wheat tortilla
2/3 cup cooked, chopped chicken, about 3 ounces
1/2 cup chopped apple
1 1/2 tablespoons light mayonnaise*
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup, or about 8, raw baby carrots
1 cup fat-free milk

Dinner

1 cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti with 1 cup marinara sauce, no added salt
2 cups mixed salad greens
1 tablespoon low-fat Caesar dressing
1 small whole-wheat roll
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 nectarine
Sparkling water
Snack (anytime)
Trail mix made with:
1/4 cup raisins
1 ounce, or about 22, unsalted mini twist pretzels
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
*Fat-free spreads still have calories, so count as 1 fat serving.

Day 3 menu

Breakfast

1 cup old-fashioned cooked oatmeal* topped with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 slice whole-wheat toast
1 teaspoon trans-free margarine
1 banana
1 cup fat-free milk

Lunch

Tuna salad made with:
1/2 cup drained, unsalted water-packed tuna, 3 ounces
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
15 grapes
1/4 cup diced celery
Served on top of 2 1/2 cups romaine lettuce

8 Melba toast crackers
1 cup fat-free milk

Dinner

Beef and vegetable kebab, made with:
3 ounces of beef
1 cup of peppers, onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/3 cup pecans
1 cup pineapple chunks
Cran-raspberry spritzer made with:
4 ounces cran-raspberry juice
4 to 8 ounces sparkling water
Snack (anytime)
1 cup light yogurt
1 medium peach
*To further reduce sodium, don’t add salt when cooking the oatmeal.

Learn more about the Dash diet and shop for related books.

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