The DASH Diet
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan that was created to lower blood
pressure. This diet is also “heart healthy” and lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. The DASH
plan is high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein that is low in saturated
fat and cholesterol. The plan also focuses on keeping salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg)
per day. Even lower salt intake (1,500 mg per day) can lower blood pressure even more. The DASH
eating plan below is based on 2,000 calories per day.
Food Group Daily
Serving Size Examples
1 slice whole grain bread
½ cup cooked oatmeal
½ whole grain English muffin
1/3 cup brown or wild rice
100% whole wheat bread,
100% Whole wheat pasta,
Old-fashioned Rolled oats,
brown rice, barley, sweet potatoes
1 cup leafy or raw vegetables
½ cup cooked vegetables
6 oz low sodium vegetable juice
Brussel sprouts, green beans, carrots,
zucchini,, tomatoes, broccoli, bell
peppers, cauliflower, spinach, peas,
1 medium fruit
2 Tbsp dried fruit
½ cup fresh or frozen fruit
Berries, melon, apples, oranges,
grapefruit, bananas, dried apricots,
raisins, peaches, pears, plums,
pineapple, mango, prunes, kiwi, etc.
low-fat or non-
8 oz. (1 cup) milk
1 cup yogurt
1 ½ oz cheese
Skim or 1% milk,
Non-fat plain or Greek yogurt,
part-skim or low-fat cheeses
6 oz or
3 oz cooked meat, chicken,
Round or loin cuts of beef and pork,
Roast, broil or grill meats; remove
Nuts, Seeds, Dry
¼ cup or 1 oz nuts
2 Tbsp or ½ oz seeds
½ cup cooked beans
Almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts,
sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,
lentils, kidney beans, black beans,
Fats and Oils 2-3
1 tsp. tub margarine or butter
1 Tbsp low-fat mayo
2 Tbsp oil-based salad dressing
Olive, peanut, canola oils.
Choose spreads and dressings based
on these oils.
Sweets 5 weekly
1 Tbsp sugar, jelly, jam or honey
3 pieces hard candy
½ cup non-fat or low-fat frozen
yogurt or ice cream
1-2 small cookies
1oz dark chocolate
1. Change gradually and focus on small steps to big change.
2. Add more fruit and vegetables to your day.
ξ Keep fruits and vegetables on hand. Use frozen, canned, or dried if they are more convenient
than fresh. Try ready-to-eat items like pre-peeled carrots, prewashed salad mix, single-
serving cans of fruit.
ξ If you now eat one or two vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and another at dinner to
reach 4-5 servings per day.
ξ If you don’t eat fruit now or only have juice at breakfast, add a serving to your meals. You
can also have fruit for a snack or dessert.
3. Aim for 3 servings of Dairy per day.
ξ Slowly switch to fat-free and low-fat dairy products. Work your way to 3 servings a day.
ξ Drink milk with lunch or dinner, instead of soda, sugar-sweetened tea, or alcohol.
ξ Choose low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk to reduce your intake of saturated fat, total fat,
cholesterol and calories.
4. Treat meat as one part of the whole meal, instead of the focus.
ξ Limit meat to 6 ounces a day (2 servings). 3 ounces of beef, pork and chicken is about the
size of a deck of cards.
ξ If you are eating more than this, cut the amount of meat gradually–by half or a third at each
ξ Include 2 or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week.
ξ Add fruit and vegetables, whole grain rice, pasta and dry beans to meals to get full without
lots of meat.
ξ Try casseroles, pasta, and stir-fry dishes that have less meat and more vegetables, grains and
5. Shake the salt habit.
ξ Add no salt to your meal at the table. Use half the usual amount (or less) when cooking or
ξ Buy vegetables fresh, plain frozen or canned with “no added salt.”
ξ Use fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than canned, smoked, cured or processed
ξ Be spicy instead of salty. Flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free
ξ Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, and canned soups/broths. Try the reduced sodium
ξ When eating out, order foods without sauces. Ask that no salt, soy sauce, or other salty
seasonings be used.
Sample DASH Menu
ξ Orange, 1 small
ξ Oatmeal, 100% rolled oats or steel-cut, 1 cup cooked
ξ 1% milk, 8 oz (1 cup)
ξ Walnuts, 2 Tbsp
ξ Brown sugar, 1 tsp
ξ Chicken salad with 1 Tbsp light mayo, grapes, celery, ¾ cup
ξ 100% whole wheat pita bread, 1 slice
ξ Lettuce, 2 leaves
ξ Carrots, 3-4 sticks
ξ Celery, 3-4 sticks
ξ Radishes, 2
ξ Fruit salad, ½ cup
ξ 1% milk, 8 oz
ξ Cod, baked 3 oz.
ξ Brown rice, with scallions, 1 cup
ξ Broccoli, steamed, ½ cup
ξ Tomatoes, stewed, ½ cup
ξ Spinach salad, with
o raw spinach, ¾ cup
o sliced mushrooms, 2
o cucumber, 2 slices
o bean sprouts, ¼ cup
ξ Italian dressing, light, 1 Tbsp.
ξ Apple and string cheese
ξ 2 Tbsp nuts, 2 Tbsp dried fruit
ξ 1 cup pea pods, Greek yogurt
2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk: a Report of
the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice
Guidelines. Available at:
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
To learn more about high blood pressure, contact the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/index.htm or call 1-800-575-9355.
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital
(AFCH) can be reached: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have
any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not
medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If
you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright 4/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.
All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the Department of Nursing. HF#379