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updated April 25, 2012

Sample menus for the DASH eating plan

  • Interested in following the DASH eating plan but not sure how? Here are sample menus to get you started.
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Filed under: Boomer's Health

( The eating plan known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is used to lower or control high blood pressure. The DASH diet contains foods that are lower in sodium. A key goal is to include foods that are rich in nutrients that are also associated with lowering blood pressure — potassium, magnesium and calcium. The DASH diet features menus with plenty of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. It offers limited portions of red meats, sweets and sugary beverages.

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' worth of menus that conform to the DASH plan. Use these menus as a basis for your own healthy meal planning.

Remember that on some days, you may eat more of or fewer than the recommended servings for a particular food group, or you may exceed your sodium goal. That's OK, as long as the average of several days or a week is close to the recommendations. Also note that the values for nutritional information may vary according to specific brands of ingredients you use or changes you make in meal preparation.

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Sample DASH Menu
Day 1 menu 
Breakfast 1 small 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 reduced-fat red wine vinaigrette
12 reduced-sodium wheat crackers
1 cup fat-free milk
Dinner Herb-crusted baked cod, 3 ounces
1/2 cup brown rice pilaf
1/2 cup fresh green beans, steamed
1 small sourdough roll
2 teaspoon trans-free margarine
1 cup fresh berries with chopped mint
Herbal iced tea
Snack (anytime) 1 cup fat-free, low-calorie yogurt
4 vanilla wafers
Day 1 nutrient analysis  
Calories 1,810 Cholesterol 61 milligrams (mg)
Protein 86 grams (g) Sodium 1,660 mg
Carbohydrate 247 g Fiber 50 g
Total fat 53 g Potassium 3,371 mg
Saturated fat 7 g Calcium 1,197 mg
Monounsaturated fat 23 g    
Day 1 DASH servings  
Grains and grain products 7
Vegetables 5
Fruits 5
Dairy foods (low-fat or fat-free) 3
Meats, poultry and fish 3
Nuts, seeds and dry beans 2
Fats and oils 3
Sweets 1
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
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free 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 whole-wheat roll
1 teaspoon trans-free margarine
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 2 nutrient analysis 
Calories 1,953 Cholesterol 85 mg
Protein 89 g Sodium 1,816 mg
Carbohydrate 280 g Fiber 43 g
Total fat 53 g Potassium 3,295 mg
Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 1,267 mg
Monounsaturated fat 19 g  
Day 2 DASH servings  
Grains and grain products 7
Vegetables 6
Fruits 5
Dairy foods (low-fat or fat-free) 3
Meats, poultry and fish 3
Nuts, seeds and dry beans 2
Fats and oils 3
Sweets 0
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 fat-free mayonnaise
  • 15 grapes
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • Served on top of 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
2 pineapple rings

Cran-raspberry spritzer made with:
  • 4 ounces cran-raspberry juice
  • 4 to 8 ounces sparkling water
Snack (anytime) 1 cup light yogurt
1 peach

*To further reduce sodium, don't add salt when cooking the oatmeal.

Day 3 nutrient analysis 
Calories 1,834 Cholesterol 98 mg
Protein 105 g Sodium 984 mg
Carbohydrate 250 g Fiber 28 g
Total fat 46 g Potassium 4,215 mg
Saturated fat 8 g Calcium 1,122 mg
Monounsaturated fat 21 g    
Day 3 DASH servings  
Grains and grain products 6
Vegetables 5
Fruits 5
Dairy foods (low-fat or fat-free) 3
Meats, poultry and fish 6
Nuts, seeds and dry beans 1
Fats and oils 2
Sweets 0
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