Dash Diet Weekly Menu Plan

Phase : Two Weeks To Shrink Your Waistline

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During the 14 days of Phase 1, you will learn how to satisfy your hunger and, as a result, feel fuller longer. To regulate your blood sugar and help curb your cravings, avoid fruit and whole grains, which have a lot of natural sugar, and alcohol, which also contain sugars. That said, you can enjoy 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy per day. This would include 1 cup of skim milk or low-fat yogurt. Avoid regular or even fat-free cheese because they are often high in sodium.

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You can also enjoy up to 6 ounces of lean meats, fish, and poultry a day. Aim for 4 to 5 servings of beans or lentils a week.Opt for protein-rich foods that have healthy fats, like fresh nuts and seeds, or fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats as well as antioxidants lutein, vitamin E and beta-carotene. Toss them in a salad along with vegetable oils, especially olive, canola and nut oils, which you can use as salad dressing.

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Dash Diet Eating Plan


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

Research On The Mind Diet

The Mediterranean and DASH diets are regularly regarded as the healthiest. In annual rankings, they often take first and second spot for example.

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries during the 1960s, who had some of the longest lifespans in the world.

The DASH diet was created to lower blood pressure without medication based on the results of clinical trials by the National Institute of Health .

Both diets have an abundance of scientific studies to support their use. For example, the Mediterranean diet has shown the following benefits:

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease,
  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Risk of breast cancer
  • Lower diabetes risk .

The MIND diet follows most of these same principles.

However, it has some minor alterations that make it more effective when it comes to preventing dementia, Alzheimers disease and loss of brain function as you age. These are the higher consumption of berries and leafy greens.

Berries have anti-oxidant properties that may help improve brain function. According to one study, berries such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries can help prevent cognitive decline in women by up to 2.5 years .

It still encourages all types of fruits and vegetables to be eaten, but that a particular focus should be given to these types specifically.

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Is The Dash Diet Good For Weight Loss

The DASH diet was designed for those who want to lower their blood pressure, but it also works exceptionally well for anyone who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle and, in turn, lose weight. The eating plan focuses on whole foods, such as fruits and veggies, fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats including fish and poultry. It eliminates processed foods like sugary drinks and packaged snacks, limits red meat and reduces sodium intake, which are all helpful for significant weight loss.

Phase : Kick It Up A Notch

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After the first 14 days, you will continue to eat the foods from Phase 1 but re-introduce some other healthy foods that will help you continue your weight loss. How long does Phase 2 last? Its your life plan, so it should last forever so you can keep your blood pressure low and keep weight off.

Whole Grains: Choose from cereals, breads, and pasta. Aim for 6 to 8 servings a day.

Fruit: Make fruit a part of your diet every day. Aim for 4 to 5 servings a day. Try making these low-sugar fruits part of your diet.

Low-Fat Milk or Yogurt: Stick to 2 to 3 servings a day as in Phase 1.

Sugar: You can have 3 to 4 servings of sugary foods each week.

Alcohol: You can have a small glass of red wine occasionally, which represents one fruit serving.

The next page has a weeks worth of meals! Phase 1 has 3 sample days, and Phase 2 has 4 sample days.

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Do I Need To Exercise On The Dash Diet

The DASH diet is even more effective at lowering blood pressure when paired with physical activity .

Given the independent benefits of exercise on health, this is not surprising.

Its recommended to do 30 minutes of moderate activity most days, and its important to choose something you enjoy this way, you will be more likely to keep it up.

Examples of moderate activity include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming laps

Weight Loss With Dash Diet

The DASH diet was not formulated specifically for weight loss but rather for lowering and managing high blood pressure. However, many people report weight loss due to a lower calorie intake daily. The daily calorie intake to maintain the body weight within a normal range is 2,500 calories for men and 2,000 calories for women. People who are overweight or obese consume substantially more calories on a daily basis. Therefore the DASH diet may result in weight loss which in turn helps with lowering and maintaining blood ressure within a normal range.


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Other Potential Health Benefits

DASH may also affect other areas of health. The diet:

  • A recent review indicated that people following the DASH diet had a lower risk of some cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer (

10 ).

The theory that some people are salt sensitive meaning that salt exerts a greater influence on their blood pressure could partly explain this .


If your salt intake is high, lowering it can offer major health benefits. Comprehensive salt restriction, as advised on the DASH diet, may only be beneficial for people who are salt sensitive or have high blood pressure.

What Foods Do You Eat On The Dash Diet

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Theres a variety of delicious foods youll eat on the DASH diet to not only lower your blood pressure but also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce triglyceride levels . Heres a list of foods encouraged on the plan:

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, and freekeh
  • Fruits, including berries, apples, oranges, and pears
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy fats, like extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds

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What Is The Dash Diet For Women

There is no Rocket science about this diet plan. Being a woman, you just have to bring all the fresh veggies & fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, meat, fish, poultry, and healthy fats into your dietary routine.

Additionally, you need to cut down all the sugary and refined food options that carry tons of empty calories .

This printable diet for women is deemed as the best diet plan by the US health and nutrition department for some good reasons.

Firstly, you dont need to make any significant change in your diet plan and only need to replace the healthy food options with the unhealthy ones.

Also, the aim is to cut down the sugar and sodium intake that has proved to be the sole cause of random heart-related health issues.

So, by every means, this dash diet for women can serve your daily nutritional requirements while further facilitating the weight loss process.

Even though the diet plan is quite easy to understand and implement, do read the following guidelines and instructions beforehand.

Are There Any Cons Of The Dash Diet

The DASH diet focuses on foods youre already incorporating in your diet and teaches life-long habits to make heart-healthy decisions. Because of this, there arent many cons to giving it a try. The one downside is, unlike diets that come with pre-packaged snacks and meals, the DASH diet does require some heavy lifting on the followers part. Creating a meal plan that follows the daily serving goals, meal prepping, cooking, and shopping for ingredients can be very time consuming and somewhat pricey for the average person. Its important to have a plan in place to make the DASH diet a sustainable option for your time and budget.

Unless youre a competitive athlete who loses a lot of sweat, a worker who is exposed to major heat, or have been advised by your doctor to not drop your sodium intake, there shouldnt be a concern about too little salt in your diet. According to the American Heart Association, the body needs only a small amount of sodium a day to function , and very few people come close to that when planning meals.

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Dash Diet For Weight Loss

If you follow the DASH eating plan, youll likely shed pounds. Combine the DASH diet with calorie cutting if you want to lose more weight. Find out how many calories you should eat based on your age and activity level. Keep track of your calorie intake and cut back a little at a time.

But dont go to extremes, cautions Patton. If you try to cut calories quickly and dramatically, youll probably feel hungry and tired, she says.

If you need help creating your weight loss plan, talk with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you get started or refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian.

Load Up On Fruits And Veggies

Diet Menu: The Dash Diet Menu

Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and magnesium, which are nutrients that can help lower blood pressure. They’re also full of fiber, which helps control hunger.

On your 1,200-calorie DASH diet, you can have three to four servings of fruit and three to four servings of vegetables each day. A serving equals a medium piece of fruit or a half cup of frozen or canned fruit, and one cup of raw or a half cup of cooked vegetables.

Eat fruits without added sugar and vegetables that are leafy and colorful, such as spinach, peppers and broccoli. Avoid canned vegetables, which often have added sodium, and starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes.

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The Dash Diet May Also Help With Weight Loss

The benefits of this diet extend beyond hypertension and heart health.

“Although the original research was about the benefits of the DASH diet on hypertension, it would be a diet I recommend for everyone,” Sasson says.

According to Sasson, it’s a diet that’s easy to follow, since it isn’t very specific and there aren’t many restrictions, aside from cutting out excessive sweets the NIH recommends five servings of sweets a week at most.

“The diet is very safe and sustainable for anybody who’s looking to eat healthier,” Sasson says. “It’s exactly how we would advise all people to eat.”

Important: While the main focus of the DASH diet is not weight loss, Sasson says many people do end up losing some weight on the diet, since many of them are eating healthier, less processed foods, and cutting back on snacking.

For example, a 2016 study found that the DASH diet was more effective for weight loss than other low-energy diets, especially for participants who were overweight or obese.

According to Sasson, the DASH diet is also a good way to educate people on what healthy meals look like, especially when so many of us eat on the go and opt for processed foods.

“We should look at it as one of the healthiest ways to eat,” she says.

Is The Dash Diet A Good Choice For You

What are the DASH diet pros and cons? The DASH diet is a healthy eating plan for a lot of people. Its a top choice for people who want to lower their blood pressure or reduce their risk of heart attack.

Two to three servings of dairy foods are built into the DASH diet menu plan, so its not a great choice for vegans, people who dont like dairy, or people who avoid dairy foods for environmental reasons.

If youre used to eating a lot of processed food or fast food, you may want to transition to the DASH diet gradually. If youre not used to fiber if you dont eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains youre probably going to be pretty uncomfortable. Start slowly and give your digestive system and gut bacteria time to acclimate, Ansel said.

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Fats And Oils: 23 Servings Per Day

The DASH diet recommends vegetable oils over other oils. These include margarines and oils like canola, corn, olive or safflower. It also recommends low-fat mayonnaise and light salad dressing.

Examples of a serving include:

  • 1 teaspoon of soft margarine
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of salad dressing

Who Needs Dash Diet Food Charts

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The Dash diet is not intended for the common person. As soon as you look at the chart made specifically for the dash diet, it will easily be detected that this is not the type of chart suitable for the diet of the average person. Usually, the dash diet food chart is used for people who have high blood pressure. By doing a dash diet, it is hoped that the person’s health will be better or have enough blood pressure that is needed by the body.

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Keep Your Protein Lean

To keep a lid on saturated fat and cholesterol intake, most of your protein choices should be lean, such as fish, poultry and lean red meat. Try to limit your intake to three servings a day, with one serving equal to 1 ounce of meat, fish or poultry or one egg.

Nuts, seeds and legumes are also a source of protein, magnesium and fiber. When following a 1,200-calorie DASH diet, you can have three servings of nuts, seeds or legumes a week. One serving equals one-third of a cup of nuts, 2 tablespoons of seeds or a half cup of legumes, such as kidney or garbanzo beans. Avoid nuts with added salt or sugar, and if you go for canned beans, look for the ones labeled low sodium.

Misconception #: The Dash Diet Is Unapproachable

Many equate healthy eating, particularly lower-sodium eating such as DASH, with the idea that all meals have to be cooked from scratch. This is overwhelming for many , but there are plenty of tricks and tips to help you. First, understand that whole foods doesnt exclusively mean fresh produce. Take advantage of time-saving, minimally processed foods like unseasoned frozen vegetables and no-salt-added canned veggies.

Two additional shortcuts that can easily be worked into a DASH diet plan are meal prepping and batch cookingboth of which are important for quick, healthy eating. Meal prepping doesnt have to mean cooking a full meal, either. Its just preparing components that can be used to toss together a quick meallike baking chicken breasts, roasting vegetables, and cooking a whole grain like quinoa. You can also minimize time spent in the kitchen by buying weekly salad greens, bags of pre-cut veggies, and prepping produce at the start of the week.

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Tips For Following The Dash Plan

To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, try these steps:

  • Choose fresh, frozen or canned vegetables that have low sodium or no added salt.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish or meat instead of canned, smoked or processed.
  • Limit cured foods such as bacon and ham, foods packed in brine, and condiments.
  • Cook rice or pasta without salt.
  • Cut back on frozen dinners, packaged mixes, and canned soups or broths.
  • Rinse canned foods such as tuna and canned beans to remove some of the salt.
  • Use spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
  • Add fruit to breakfast or have it as a snack.
  • Treat meat as one part of the whole meal, instead of the main focus.

Some days you might eat more sodium or fewer foods from one group than the plan suggests. But dont worry. Try your best to keep the average on most days close to the DASH plan levels.

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To eat in line with the DASH diet, you start with your daily calorie requirement. That number comes from your age, activity level and weight loss goals. Then, you eat servings from a range of food groups every day to meet that calorie target.

This diet has more statistical evidence behind it than any other diet, Ansel said. There are dozens of studies showing what it can do for your health. Theres a lot of science behind it.

The diet can:

  • Lower your blood pressure. Five studies funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that the DASH diet lowered blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
  • Reduce your heart failure risk. A 13-year study found the DASH diet lowered risk of heart failure.
  • Cut your risk of diabetes. A study of more than 40,000 men found the DASH diet helped reduce diabetes risk.
  • Help you maintain your weight. A 30-month study found that people who lost weight were more able to keep it off with the DASH diet.
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. A 24-year study found the DASH diet reduced risk of heart disease and stroke in women.

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