Dash Diet Meal Plan Shopping List

Main Sources Of Sodium

Dash Diet Meal Plan Guidelines

The average person eating the typical American diet consumes approximately 3,400 mg of sodium each day. This far exceeds the recommended maximum sodium limit of 2,300 mg. It isnt really that were pouring spoonfuls of table salt on our plates at dinner, but rather that sodium is hidden in so many of the foods we eat.

Many of the convenience foods that we reach for every day to make our lives easier are loaded with sodium. Packaged meals and snacks, canned foods, cheeses, canned soup, canned meats, premade sauces, and salty snacks top the list of high sodium foods.

If it has been suggested that you follow the DASH Diet, its important that you keep your daily sodium intake below the suggested 2,300 mg guideline. In some cases, your physician may want you to go even lower, sometimes down to as little as 1.500 mg per day, depending on your individual health concerns.

To lower blood pressure and stop hypertension with the DASH Diet, always check the food labels of any processed food you eat and be aware of the sneaky places sodium hides, like breads and tortillas made with baking soda. Processed meats, including most lunch meats, sausages, and hot dogs, are also high in sodium. A lunch meat sandwich on high sodium bread with a pickle and a few pretzels is enough to use up most of your daily sodium intake in just one meal.

Dash To A Healthier You Voted By Health Experts As The Best Overall Diet Three Years In A Row The Dash Diet Originally Developed To Fight High Blood Pressure Is A Safe And Easy

The overall goal of the DASH Diet short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is to lower your consumption of sodium, which aids in lowering your blood pressure. Since the diet focuses on eating the right foods with the right portions, it’s also effective for short- and long-term weight loss. Find out more about the DASH Diet and if it’s right for you.

Dietician Marla Heller’s version of the DASH Diet, from her book The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, is divided into two phases:

How To Start A Dash Diet

A DASH diet plan can be customized to you based on your unique food preferences and daily needs. This starts by understanding how many calories you need to eat a day.

Once you have that, you can use the chart below to balance your food choices each day. Find the column associated with your daily calorie needs and note how much of each food group you should consume. Then use the food list below to build your eating plan – spreading out your choices throughout each day and week accordingly.

Portion control is key for any successful DASH meal plan, so if you are not familiar with weighing and measuring your food, you may want to consider getting a food scale or using measuring cups and spoons over eyeballing it. This will help you limit certain foods accordingly and control your overall calorie intake better.

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Weekly Sample 1800 Calorie Dash Diet Plan

Day 1.

1800 calorie DASH diet Rainbow omelet

Breakfast- 1 serving of Rainbow omelet with one slice of whole-wheat toast

Snack- low fat cottage cheese with 1 medium-sized apple

Lunch- 1 serving of veggie melt Panini with 1/ 3 cup cashews

Snack- 1 small peach with light popcorn

Dinner- 1 serving of grilled chicken tacos with 1 serving of veggies and cheese

Snack- ½ slice of gingerbread topped with low fat whipped cream

Total calories for the day-1811

Day 2.

1800 calorie DASH diet Grilled trimmed sirloin

Breakfast- shredded wheat squares with 1 cup skim milk and 1 cup raspberry

Snack- Pita chips with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce

Lunch- grilled trimmed sirloin with 1 sweet potato and 1 cup brown rice

Snack- non-fat plain yogurt with fresh raspberries

Dinner- 1 large whole wheat pita bread with hummus and veggies with fresh strawberries

Snack- non-fat plain yogurt with 1 tbsp whipped cream and 2 tbsp chocolate syrup

Total calories for the day-1817

Day 3.

1800 calorie DASH diet Mango smoothie

Breakfast- 2 slices of whole wheat bread toast with 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 banana

Snack- Mango smoothie

Lunch- 2 slices of whole wheat bread with ½ cup tuna fish,1 cup roasted Brussel spouts, ½ cup strawberries and baked potato chips

Snack- 1 apple with 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

Dinner- 2 cups of mixed greens vegetable salad with low-fat cheddar cheese, grilled chicken breast with one small pita pocket

Snack- ¼ cup of dried cherries with mini pretzels

Day 4.

Day 5.

Day 6.

Lower The Risk Of Some Cancers

The DASH Diet Shopping List

The DASH Diet may reduce the risk of colorectal and breast cancer. Plus, some components of the DASH Diet like eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are associated with reduced risk of some types of cancer.

In many ways, long-term good health is the cumulative effect of consistently making healthy dietary choices. Combining the principles of the DASH diet with a plant-based foundation is a good way to compound the health benefits each has to offer.

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Stress Management And High Blood Pressure

Stress can raise blood pressure even if you are following a healthy DASH diet plan. Many times, the things that cause stress are outside of our control and we feel we cannot change it . What we can change is how we let stress impact us. By learning to be more stress resilient, we can reduce the impacts of stress, such as high blood pressure and weight gain. Stress management techniques such as courses in meditation are a good option. Two types of mediation, transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction, have been studied and proven to lower blood pressure as well as increase peace of mind and stress resiliency.

Mind and body exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi also may help decrease stress. Check with your health-care professional if one of these is an option for you.

Check Your Current Eating Plan

Keep a food journal for a day or two, tracking what you eat and how much you eat at each meal and how often you snack. An easy way to do this is to download an app that tracks the sodium and nutrient levels of food. Then compare your current habits to the DASH Diet plan. You’ll quickly see what you’re already doing, plus what changes you need to make.

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Restricting Salt Too Much Is Not Good For You

Eating too little salt has been linked to health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and fluid retention.

The low-salt version of the DASH diet recommends that people eat no more than 3/4 teaspoon of sodium per day.

However, its unclear whether there are any benefits to reducing salt intake this low even in people with high blood pressure .

In fact, a recent review found no link between salt intake and risk of death from heart disease, despite the fact that lowering salt intake caused a modest reduction in blood pressure .

However, because most people eat too much salt, lowering your salt intake from very high amounts of 22.5 teaspoons a day to 11.25 teaspoons a day may be beneficial .

This target can be achieved easily by reducing the amount of highly processed food in your diet and eating mostly whole foods.


Although reducing salt intake from processed foods is beneficial for most people, eating too little salt may also be harmful.

The DASH diet doesnt list specific foods to eat.

Instead, it recommends specific servings of different food groups.

The number of servings you can eat depends on how many calories you consume. Below is an example of food portions based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Number Of Recommended Servings Of Every Food Item During An 1800 Calorie Dash Diet

DASH diet basics


The overall DASH diet concept largely revolves around the quantity of sodium permitted in your daily meals. Well, the same can be categorized into two versions of the DASH diet- Standard DASH diet and Low sodium DASH diet.

Within the standard DASH diet, you are only permitted to consume up to 2300 mg of sodium on a daily basis. On th another side, the same quantity gets lowered to 1500 mg in a low-sodium diet.


When we talk about grains, we are listing food items like bread, pasta, rice, and cereal. Therefore,6-8 servings of grains are allowed in an 1800 calorie DASH diet. Furthermore, grains with higher fiber content are highly recommended during the same diet plan.

Fruits and vegetables

Speaking of fruits and vegetables, you can consume up to 4-5 servings of the same on an 1800 calorie DASH diet. Options like Carrots, tomatoes, Oranges, apples, broccoli, and other low-calorie food items are highly advisable.

Protein-rich food items

We will include food items like fish, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes into this list. When it comes to their daily serving limit, that totally depends on your weight loss goals during the 1800 calorie DASH diet.

Still, you can go for 6 one-ounce servings of the same items during a given day of 1800 calorie DASH diet.

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What Can You Eat

One of the most attractive aspects of the DASH Diet is the diverse selection of foods it allows. In fact, the list of foods you can eat is, thankfully, longer than the list of foods to avoid plus theyre easily found in grocery stores and farmers markets. The exact number of servings for each food type varies depending on your caloric needs. Those listed below are recommendations for a 1,800-calorie diet.

What Is A Sample Dash Diet Sample Menu

A typical 1600 calorie DASH diet menu plan would include the following:

  • 2 cups of vegetables
  • 2 servings of low-fat/fat-free dairy products
  • 6 oz. whole grains
  • 5 oz. lean meat, poultry or fish
  • 2 teaspoons healthy oils such as olive oil
  • 1 oz. nuts and seeds

Rare, mini servings of sweets, salty foods, and alcohol

A typical daily DASH diet sample menu might look like this

  • Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal with chopped pecans, ½ a chopped apple and cinnamon, black coffee
  • Morning snack: other half of apple with 1 tsp peanut butter, large glass of water
  • Lunch: spring greens salad with mixed vegetables, grilled chicken breast and vinaigrette dressing on the side. Dip your fork in dressing to get flavor with every bite without saturating the salad with salt and fat. Drink unsweetened iced tea or water.
  • Afternoon snack: unsweetened fruity iced tea or carrot sticks with hummus
  • Dinner: spiralizer-made zucchini pasta with marinara made with ground turkey and Italian spices, sparkling mineral water
  • Dessert: strawberries, 1 tbsp. vanilla yogurt, dusting of cocoa powder

Read Also: Whole Food Plant Based Diet Pyramid

Health Information You Can Trust

We pride ourselves on being your source for the best, scientifically-accurate advice for healthy living.

This article contains references to scientific journals and peer-reviewed research. The numbers in brackets correspond with the list of references at the end of the article.

Reviewed and Approved

Additionally, the Reviewed and Approved seal signifies that our scientific board of experts has double-checked this article for accuracy. You can feel confident in knowing that the information within this article is sound.


If youve been thinking about changing your diet in order to lose weight, lower your blood sugar or blood pressure, or just improve your overall health, you might have heard about the DASH Diet. The DASH Diet was named the best overall diet” for eight consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report.

Some of this distinction is owed to the fact that research suggests the diet may promote weight loss, lower your cholesterol, and help prevent diabetes. Many nutritionists applaud the diet for being less restrictive and more sustainable over the long haul compared to other eating plans.

Dash Diet Eating Plan

DASH Diet: A Lifelong Healthy Eating Plan, Our Family


The DASH eating plan lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and may help prevent osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Make DASH choices every day by choosing luscious fruits, crunchy vegetables and delicious lowfat dairy foods.


Meal plans and trackingRecord what you eat on the Daily DASH Tracker to monitor your success. Use the DASH Meal Planner to plan your meals and snacks for the week. Use the samples as a guide. Choose tools based on your individual calorie needs To figure your calorie needs, create a profile with the MyPlate Super Tracker

1600 Calorie Goal

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Can I Drink Alcohol On The Dash Diet

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure .

In fact, regularly drinking more than 3 drinks per day has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease .

On the DASH diet, you should drink alcohol sparingly and not exceed official guidelines 2 or fewer drinks per day for men and 1 or fewer for women.


You can drink coffee and alcohol in moderation on the DASH diet. Combining the DASH diet with exercise may make it even more effective.

Cooking And Meal Planning

Cooking and planning meals with less salt and less fat is tricky at first but becomes easier with time. Reducing your dependence on convenience foods will help you to reduce sodium and fat intake. Instead, plan meals in advance with the help of worksheets provided by the NIH.

Reorganizing your kitchen may help you to stick to the DASH Diet, as well. Remove the salt shaker from your dinner table and from your cooking area. Keep dried spices on hand and consider experimenting with fresh herbs to flavor your food.

Also, change the way you prepare meals and snacks to reduce fat and sodium. Bake, roast, or steam foods with spices or citrus to keep meal selections healthy. Store containers of snack-ready sliced vegetables in your refrigerator and replace your countertop cookie jar with a fruit bowl to boost your intake of fruits and vegetables.

If changing your entire weekly meal plan seems like too much, then focus on making gradual changes. Break each task into small steps so that changing your diet doesn’t seem overwhelming.

For example, if you currently don’t eat many fruits and vegetables, begin by reducing the size of your salty side dishes and filling that space on your plate with fruits or vegetables. As you get more comfortable with consuming these healthy foods, try going meatless one day each week. Make a meal with healthy grains instead of beef or poultry or try a vegetable-based lasagna or casserole.

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Quick Tips To Start The Plant

  • Always select food that’s whole, unrefined, organic, and, whenever possible, locally grown.
  • Eat at least one serving of vegetables at every meal.
  • Have a serving of vegetables or fruit at every snack.
  • Replace refined grains such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice with whole grains such as brown rice, wild rice, and oats. Avoid wheat, as it contains gluten.
  • Add beans or lentils to dishes to boost the protein and fiber content, which will help satisfy your appetite with less food.
  • Snack on raw nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios.
  • Cook with low-sodium seasonings such as herbs and spices rather than salt and processed condiments.
  • When grocery shopping, choose low-sodium foods.
  • When you crave sweets, choose fruit rather than candy or baked goods.

Fruits: 45 Servings Per Day

Applying the DASH Diet to Your Life

If youre following the DASH approach, youll be eating a lot of fruit. Examples of fruits you can eat include apples, pears, peaches, berries and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/4 cup of dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned peaches

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Gradual Change Is Powerful

You dont have to follow DASH perfectly to reap its benefits. Each day, take small steps toward healthier eating, says Patton. Over time, youll start to feel better and lose weight, which can motivate you to keep going.

The flexibility of DASH makes healthy eating fit in with your tastes and lifestyle. And that helps you stick with it for the long-term.

Pairing Exercise With Dash

If you want to increase your weight loss and health benefits, pair the DASH plan with more movement and activity, says Patton.

This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or start hard-core training. Instead, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Walking, biking and swimming are all good options. And you dont have to do it all at once. Break it up into two 15-minute chunks or three 10-minute chunks.

Youll boost your health even more if you get 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Moderate intensity means your heart rate is about 50% higher than your resting heart rate. There are endless options for moderate-intensity exercise, from taking a brisk walk to swimming laps or playing basketball.

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Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

The DASH Diet is appropriate for people living with diabetes, since the diet may help reduce blood pressure as well as weight. The diet may also improve insulin sensitivity and therefore reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The DASH Diet may help those living with metabolic syndrome a pre-diabetic condition that includes hypertension, high blood sugar, and excess weight to lower their blood pressure and manage their symptoms.

What Is The Dash Diet

DASH Diet: A Vegetarian Meal Plan for Heart Health

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the diet was developed for a research study in the early 1990s.1 The purpose of the study was to identify a food-based strategy to lower blood pressure. Even though the original research was quite a long time ago, scientists recently conducted a meta-analysis for a DASH diet review to summarize how much blood pressure can be reduced by the DASH diet. The study found, on average, people reduce their blood pressure by 6.7 mmHg systolic and 3.5 mmHg diastolic in just two weeks. The more sodium is restricted, the lower blood pressure goes.

Or more simply stated, the DASH diet plan includes eating more

  • fruits and vegetables,
  • sweets, and
  • sodium .

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