All the Foods You Can Still Eat on the DASH Diet
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet recommended by many doctors to naturally lower one’s blood pressure. Some people prefer not to take medication and instead start on the DASH diet to get their blood pressure levels back down to normal. But starting on a strict diet doesn’t mean you have to give up every food you’ve ever enjoyed. Actually, the DASH diet still leaves room for some of your favorites, even if it means a slightly healthier take on them. Here are some tasty foods and beverages you can still enjoy while on the DASH diet.
While you shouldn’t indulge in greasy, fried potato chips, you can still enjoy the baked chips. It’s important to eat everything in moderation, but baked chips come with far less fat, calories, and sodium than their fried counterparts. It’s easy to find baked chips in the grocery store, but stick with the original flavor. The added powder on the seasoned chips often means added salt.
Instead of an 80% lean beef burger, go with 98% lean beef burger or a turkey burger. Swap out a regular bun for a whole wheat bun, and you’ll still get the juicy flavor of a burger but on a much healthier scale. Red meats are fine in moderation, but if you’re a burger lover, you might want to consume mostly turkey burgers. Veggie burgers can be healthy, but be careful — they’re often loaded with sodium.
Ice cream contains a lot of added sugar, but frozen yogurt is a healthier, still-sweet alternative. Plus, “froyo” places are popular nowadays, so you can swirl your own frozen yogurt, then load it up with fruit and nut toppings. It’s the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth, and it’s something the DASH diet won’t require you to give up.
As long as your chocolate milk isn’t made with whole milk, you can still indulge once in a while. The DASH diet wants you to limit sugars, so this one should only be a sweet treat for every now and then. However, you don’t need to completely give it up, since there are healthy chocolate milk mixes (such as Ovaltine), and you’ll still get the low-fat or nonfat dairy benefits the DASH diet wants.
Bean-based dips, such as hummus, are encouraged by the diet. And who doesn’t love grabbing some healthy crackers and indulging in hummus? Other dips, such as salsa and guacamole, can be healthy but often contain a lot of sodium. If you want one of these, make it yourself. This way you’re in control of how much salt it contains.
There are three things to remember when ordering sushi: Order brown rice, avoid tempura, and limit the soy sauce. An avocado roll or tuna roll with brown rice is a very healthy lunch. But if you order anything fried (tempura) and load it with soy sauce, you’re ruining the sushi’s nutrition. Soy sauce is loaded with sodium. Plus, white rice contains the simple sugars you’re trying to avoid.
A glass of red wine each night can actually promote heart health, so there is no need to give it up on the DASH diet. Red wine contains resveratrol, which can be good for your heart, but only in moderation. Stick with just one glass per night.
Good news: Coffee is still your friend on the DASH diet. But don’t load it up with whole milk and sugar. Add some skim milk to your coffee and avoid the sugar to keep it DASH-friendly. It will give you the caffeine boost you need without veering you off your healthy-eating course.
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