Diet Plans

7-Day DASH Diet Meal Plan

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-to-follow eating plan that fights diseases and can even help you lose weight. Incorporate this two-phase plan from Marla Heller’s The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution with bonus sample day menus for both phases. Find out if the DASH Diet is right for you. For more meal ideas, try these recipes!

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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:

Phase 1: Two Weeks to Shrink Your Waistline
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.
By avoiding starchy foods with sugar, you’re helping to regulate your blood sugar and diminish cravings. Try leafy greens like lettuce and spinach or cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage. You can also eat cucumbers, squash, peppers, and tomatoes.

More: Dr. Oz's Favorite Salad Recipes

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.

More: The Healthy Fats Grocery Shopping List

Phase 2: Kick It Up a Notch!
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? It’s 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 (fresh or frozen) 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 week’s worth of meals! Phase 1 has 3 sample days, and Phase 2 has 4 sample days.
Phase 1: Two Weeks to Shrink Your Waistline

Day 1

Breakfast
Hard-boiled egg. (Hint: Make several hard-boiled eggs, and peel. Store in a zipper bag in the refrigerator. Then you will have them when you need them for super-quick breakfasts. You can also find prepackaged, peeled hard-boiled eggs in some stores).
1 or 2 slices Canadian bacon
6 ounces tomato juice, low-sodium

Midmorning Snack 

1 stick light cheese
Baby carrots

More: Grasp the DASH Diet in 5 Clicks
Lunch
Quinoa Meatless Balls
Cherry tomatoes
Small side salad: dressed with Italian or oil and vinegar dressing
Strawberry Jell‑O cup, sugar-free

Midafternoon Snack

4 ounces lemon light yogurt, fat-free, artificially sweetened
18 cashews (1 ounce by weight, 1/4 cup by volume, or small handful)

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

Pepper strips. (Hint: To make the strips quickly, cut off the tops and bottoms of some red, yellow, or orange bell peppers. Remove seeds and cut in half. Flatten each half and take a very sharp knife and cut along the surface, removing the membranes. Then cut into 1‑inch strips. These are great to dip into guacamole, as a chip substitute).
2 ounces guacamole, which is about 1/4 cup

Dinner

Mediterranean-Style Chicken Kabobs
1 cup (or more) mixed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower blend: steamed or microwaved
Salad: Romaine blend with Italian dressing
Raspberry Jell‑O cup, sugar-free

More: The DASH Diet Tracking Chart

Day 2

Breakfast
Mini-Egg Beaters Southwestern Style omelet. Spray microwave-safe dish or cup with cooking spray. Add 1/4-1/2 cup Egg Beaters Southwestern Style. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, and cook an additional 15 seconds.
4-6 ounces tomato juice, low-sodium

Midmorning Snack

1 light cheese wedge
6 grape tomatoes

Lunch

2-3 Turkey-Swiss roll-ups. Cheese on the outside, as the wrap. Deli turkey slices for the meat. Add whatever condiments you like, such as mustard. You could also add lettuce as the outermost layer of the wrap.
1/2-1 cup coleslaw
Raw snow peas or sugar snap pea pods (as much as you like)
Orange Jell‑O cup, sugar-free

Midafternoon Snack

1 stick light cheese
Baby carrots

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

10 peanuts in the shell (20 individual peanuts) (Hint: Shelling nuts slows you down, so you are less likely to overeat them.)

Dinner

Roasted sliced turkey
Sautéed carrots and onions. Sauté 1 medium onion, thinly sliced, in 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil. Add about 8 ounces sliced carrots, and continue to sauté until the carrots are soft. Add 1 thin pat of butter at the end. (Hints: Top the turkey with the sautéed carrots for extra flavor. If you like very soft carrots, microwave first before sautéing.)
Side salad topped with Italian dressing
Lime Jell‑O cup, sugar-free

More: Dr. Oz Explains the DASH Diet

Day 3
Breakfast
Scrambled eggs
1-2 slices Canadian bacon
4-6 ounces diet cranberry juice

Midmorning Snack

4 ounces raspberry light yogurt, nonfat, artificially sweetened
23 almonds (1 ounce by weight, 1/4 cup by volume)

Lunch

Cold fried chicken breast (don’t eat the skin or coating). Hint: The chicken doesn’t have to be cold. This could be a fast-food lunch but only if you can choose whole chicken parts. (Definitely do not choose chicken tenders, patties, crispy chicken, or nuggets. They have too much breading for the amount of meat.) Most fried chicken places have coleslaw as a side. When you get back to your office, you can have the carrots and Jell‑O.
Coleslaw
Baby carrots
Lemon Jell‑O cup, sugar-free

Midafternoon Snack

1-2 light cheese wedges
6 grape tomatoes

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

Pepper strips
Guacamole

Dinner 

Turkey Burger
1 cup broccoli
Side salad with balsamic dressing
1-2 strawberry Jell‑O cups, sugar-free
Phase 2: Kick It Up a Notch!

Day 1
Breakfast
3/4 cup Wheaties (1 ounce by weight)
8 ounces skim milk
4-6 ounces strawberries or raspberries

Midmorning Snack (Optional)

1-2 light cheese wedges
Grape tomatoes

Lunch 

2-3 turkey and Swiss roll-ups
Baby carrots
Small plum

Midafternoon Snack

6 ounces blueberry light yogurt
10 cashews 
Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)
10 peanuts in the shell (20 individual peanuts)

Dinner

Pan-seared tilapia. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook about 4 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Before finishing, place about 1 pat of butter or margarine in the pan, and allow the melted butter to coat all the pieces. (To serve four, choose four 4‑ounce tilapia filets.)
Mango-Melon Salsa
Fresh asparagus
Strawberry Jello‑O cup, sugar-free

More: The Complete DASH Diet Guide

Day 2
Breakfast
Hot chocolate. To 8 ounces skim milk, add 1 heaping teaspoon unsweetened cocoa and 2 packets Splenda or Truvia.
1-2 hard-boiled eggs
6-8 ounces light cranberry juice. Hint: Light cranberry juice has more calories than the diet version, but you may prefer it.
4-6 ounces strawberries

Midmorning Snack (Optional)

6 ounces key lime light yogurt, nonfat, artificially sweetened
10 ounces almonds

Lunch

Turkey and Swiss sandwich. Put 2-4 ounces turkey and a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese on two pieces light whole wheat bread; add lettuce, tomato, and any other veggies or condiments that you choose.
Pepper strips
Coleslaw or side salad
Raspberry Jell‑O cup, artificially sweetened

Midafternoon Snack

1 clementine orange
1-2 light cheese wedges

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

Pepper strips
1/4-1/2 cup hummus

Dinner

Vegetable Stir Fry with Quinoa
Side salad, with Italian, oil and vinegar, or vinaigrette dressing
Fudge bar

Day 3

Breakfast
1/2 cup oatmeal, cooked: topped with cinnamon, Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, or Truvia, and 1 tablespoon chopped almonds (optional)
1/2 banana, medium or large
4-6 ounces tomato juice, low-sodium
Latte: 8 ounces skim milk, 2 ounces espresso

Midmorning Snack (Optional)

1 stick light cheese
Baby carrots

Lunch

Three-Bean Kale Saute with Brown Rice
Sliced bell peppers
Orange Jello‑O cup, artificially sweetened

Midafternoon Snack

4-6 ounces strawberries
10 cashews

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

10 peanuts in the shell (20 individual peanuts)

Dinner

White Bean and Cabbage Soup
Green beans
Sliced tomatoes
Side salad, with Italian dressing
4-6 ounces raspberries on 1/2-1 cup frozen yogurt, nonfat, artificially sweetened

Day 4

Breakfast
1-3 scrambled eggs
1 slice whole-wheat toast (light, if desired)
1 tablespoon jelly or jam
4-6 ounces orange juice
Latte or 8 ounces skim milk

Midmorning Snack (Optional)

4-6 ounces blueberries
10 almonds

Lunch

2-3 Muenster cheese and roast beef roll-ups. (Hint: Accessorize per your taste. You could add lettuce for the wrap and stuff with grated carrots or red cabbage in the center.)
Italian coleslaw (Hint: This is regular coleslaw with thin pepper strips, grated carrots, and an oil and vinegar dressing.)
Small peach

Midafternoon Snack

6 ounces strawberry light yogurt, nonfat, artificially sweetened

Before-Dinner Snack (Optional)

Baby carrots dipped in 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Dinner

Salmon Stuffed Avocado 
Side salad: Lettuce, grape tomatoes, red cabbage and blue cheese crumbles or small slice of goat cheese, with oil and vinegar or vinaigrette dressing.
Fudge bar or other low-calorie, low-sugar, low-fat ice cream bar

Source

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