DASH Diet Sample Menus

Kathleen Roberts
Healthy Salad

DASH diet sample menus are a great way to get a feel for the DASH diet. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension or prehypertension, or if you have a family history of high blood pressure, you owe it to yourself to check out some DASH diet sample menus and see for yourself how simple following the DASH diet can be.

DASH Diet and Salt

DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. By following this diet and reducing your salt intake you will be able to lower your high blood pressure or prevent high blood pressure in the future.

DASH diet sample menus are created with two safe levels of salt consumption. The first level is 2300 milligrams. This is the highest acceptable level of daily salt consumption as determined by National High Blood Pressure Education Program.

1500 milligrams is the second level of daily salt consumption. According to the Institute of Medicine this amount is an adequate intake level. It is recommended that this be level is the one that people should try to achieve.

You will lower your blood pressure by reducing your salt intake. The average man in the United States consumes 4200 milligrams of salt per day. The average woman consumes 3300 milligrams daily. So there is a great deal of room for improvement. When you reduce your intake of sodium and follow the DASH diet sample menus, you can see results in as little as two weeks.

DASH Eating Plan

The DASH eating plan does not have any unusual foods or complicated recipes. Simply eat with good nutrition in mind. The DASH diet limits your intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. It also recommends limiting your consumption of lean meats to six ounces each day.

Don't worry though; the DASH eating plan isn't all about limiting what you eat. It is more about increasing the healthy foods in your diet. Emphasis is placed on nutritious foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts

Focus is also placed on increasing nutrients that are known to be beneficial to those with high blood pressure such as:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

Recommended Servings

While the recommended servings for each food group will vary according to your caloric intake, here are average serving suggestions:

Average Serving Suggestions
Foods Recommended Daily Servings
Grains Six to eight servings
Vegetables Four to five servings
Fruits Four to five servings
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products Two to three servings
Lean meats and poultry Six or fewer servings
Nuts, seeds and legumes Four to five servings per week
Fats and oils Two to three servings
Sweets or added sugars Five or less per week

One Day DASH Menu

Be sure you consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan.

Breakfast

Here is an example of a breakfast meal plan for someone following the DASH diet:

  • One and one-half cups cooked oatmeal
  • One medium banana
  • One-half cup raisins
  • One-fourth cup V8 or other vegetable juice
  • One cup low-fat or non-fat milk
  • One cup coffee
  • Two teaspoons sugar or honey

Morning Snack

Here is an example of a healthy mid-morning snack:

  • One-half cup almonds
  • 16 grapes

Lunch

Here is an example lunch meal plan for someone following this diet:

  • Turkey sandwich with two ounces of sliced turkey, four tomato slices, two lettuce leaves, one tablespoon of mayonnaise, mustard
  • Six baby carrots
  • One small apple
  • Here is a sample of a healthy mid-afternoon snack:
  • One-half cup unsalted pretzels
  • One-half cup sliced cucumber

Dinner

Here is a sample DASH diet dinner meal plan:

  • Three ounces cooked chicken breast
  • Ten steamed broccoli florets
  • One teaspoon butter or margarine
  • One-half cup cooked rice or quinoa
  • One cup low-fat or non-fat milk
  • One-half cup melon cubes for dessert

DASH Diet Eating Tips

Start gradually by keeping track of what you eat for a few days and then comparing it to the recommended daily servings of the DASH eating plan. Then you'll be able to see where you can make healthy changes. Follow these examples:

  • Add an extra serving of fruits or vegetables to one meal a day. Try a bowl of strawberries with your breakfast or an apple with your lunch.
  • Drink a glass of low-fat milk to replace a sweetened drink each day.
  • Read labels of salad dressings or other condiments to find the ones with the lowest saturated and trans fats.
  • Choose healthy snacks like fruit of nuts instead of chips or candy.

More DASH Plans Online

  • McKinley Health Center has excellent DASH diet sample menus that are broken down by calories. If you want to lose weight while you reduce your blood pressure, choose a menu with lower calories than you currently consume. Menus include 1500 calories, 1800 calories and 2000 calories per day. Add an exercise plan and you are on your way to better health!
  • The Mayo Clinic has a three day sample menu with recipes to give you a great start with the DASH eating plan.

These DASH diet sample menus will help you see how easy it is to incorporate a healthy eating plan in your life. It doesn't matter if you are trying to lose weight, control your hypertension, or reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure. The DASH eating plan isn't just some fad diet, it is a simple, healthy eating plan that anyone can do.

DASH Diet Sample Menus