Things to remember:
Shopping for the DASH diet is fun and easy if you remember a few simple guidelines.
- The first thing you want to do before you go shopping is prepare.
- Make a list of the ingredients you will need for your meal plan for the next several days or week. Include all the foods you will need, including snacks and breakfast. A good list of everything you plan to eat for the coming days is the best way to save money and to stick to your diet plan.Without a list, it is easy to veer away from
- your plan into tempting, unhealthy foods.
- Don’t go to the store hungry. Make sure you eat before going to the grocery store. The surest way to end up with a bunch of unhealthy foods in your cart is to go to the store hungry because everything looks appetizing when you are.
- Remember what the DASH diet is all about.
- The DASH diet is predominantly a diet of fresh, whole foods. So when you go shopping, concentrate on freshness. The less processing the better.
- That means you stick to the produce, poultry and seafood, and diary sections. You want to concentrate most of your time in the produce department.
- Fresh foods are full of nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and are also high in fiber. Those are all the things you want when eating the DASH diet. Stay away from frozen foods like pizzas, lunch meats, and food in cans. The fresh food sections are usually around the perimeter of the the grocery store.
- Read the labels. This can’t be emphasized enough. The majority of Americans eat processed foods but have no idea what is in them. Get comfortable with taking the extra minute to read the label and be aware of what you are buying. There is often hidden sodium in many products. Stick to low sodium, low fat, low calorie products.
- Keep DASH diet friendly items in the house.
- Fruit is one of the best staples to have around the house because it can easily become a substitute for unhealthy sweets. Fruits such as bananas, oranges, apples, grapes and dried/unsweetened fruits are great for snacking and adding to salads.
- Vegetables are not always everyone’s first choice, but after a while you will come to love your fresh salads. The trick with vegetables is to have a wide variety. The greater the variety, the more flavors you will get to enjoy. Vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, mixed greens, and spinach are great staples to have around the house for everyday cooking.
- Whole grains will become a large part of your diet and can be nicely mixed together with salad vegetables. You want to have a variety of whole grains on hand for different flavors. Some great examples of whole grain foods are brown and wild rice, whole grain bread, quinoa, millet, whole grain cereal, oatmeal and more. Explore the world of whole grains. Legumes, seeds, and nuts will become an important protein source on the DASH
- diet. Beans such as kidney beans and navy beans are packed with protein. Lentils are an excellent source of iron and make a very hearty soup. Seeds like sunflower seeds are a lower fat alternative to nuts, which are also a great option. Seeds and nuts are excellent to add to raw salad meals. When picking nuts and seeds, make sure you get unsalted or low salt varieties.
- Lean meats, fish and poultry will round out your protein needs. It is best to stick to poultry and fish. Choose skinless chicken or turkey. Fish is naturally low in fat. Extra lean ground beef is an option, as is round and sirloin beef cuts, in addition to pork tenderloin.
- Low fat dairy products such as low-fat or non-fat milk, low fat kefir, cheese, yogurt and sour cream are permissible on the DASH diet. Excellent substitutes for table salt are herbs, spices, olive oil, and flavored vinegars, which all add flavor to meals without adding salt.
- Choose your cookware.
- Nonstick cookware is a great way to reduce the need for oil or butter when cooking meat or vegetables.
- Use a vegetable or rice steamer instead of a pot to reduce the need for butter or oil.
- Using a garlic press or spice mill to make it easier to add flavor without the extra salt.
- Be aware of healthy cooking practices.
- Add plenty of spices, herbs, garlic, ginger, lemon, flavored vinegar, and peppers to add flavor without adding salt.
- Rinse your canned foods like canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, and tuna to rinse away the extra salt in the packing liquid.
- Many broths include a great deal of sodium. You can make your own vegetable broth by sautéing mushrooms, onions, and other vegetables with water. Or you can purchase no sodium broths at the store.
- Reduce your meat intake. At first this might be difficult, but after a while you will become comfortable with vegetarian meal options and will not miss the meat at all. You can also reduce meat in recipes by simply adding a fraction of the meat the recipe calls for.
DASH Diet Food List
Skinless chicken breast
Skinless turkey breast
Lean ground turkey
Top round steak
Top sirloin steak
Extra lean ground beef Lean ham
Tofu Low sodium veggie burgers
Low sodium tempeh
Unsweetened soy milk
Fruits and Vegetables
Whole-wheat pita bread
Low fat or fat-free yogurt
Low fat or fat-free milk
Low-fat cottage cheese
Low sodium feta
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
Great northern beans
Grape seed oil
Flax seed oil
More information for the DASH DIET here