Five tips for a good start to the DASH Diet
The DASH Diet is a simple eating plan that makes it easier to take care of your body and get your salt levels (and thus your high blood pressure) down to a healthier level.
Many people who have tried the DASH Diet have found that they are able to lower their blood pressure to such an extent that they can go off their medications and live a normal life!
While the DASH Diet is simple, it can take some adjustment. Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the best possible start to your new low-salt diet!
1: Take your time: Ease into your new meal plan. It’s easy to get excited and just jump right in! However this can quickly become overwhelming. By making one change at a time, you can ‘trick yourself’ into thinking the diet is easier.
For example, add in a serve of vegetables to each meal for one week, and then change your dressing for the next week (while keeping the extra vegetable serve) and so on until you are following the full diet. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!
2: Limit your red meat intake: Many people admit that they eat far too much red meat each week. With the DASH Diet, you can still enjoy meat, but you need to steadily cut out red meat and instead choose healthier options such as chicken and fish.
If this sounds hard, don’t try to go ‘cold turkey’ with your red meat – try cutting back by half in week one and the rest in week two to make the transition easier!
3: Substitute desserts: While that big chocolate cake might look delicious, indulging in a slice is not a good way to start your DASH Diet. Try to find something which is healthier and lower in fat; for example, instead of having a dessert which is full of calories, why not try a bowl of diced fresh fruit, or a frozen yogurt?
4: Watch the butter: Many recipes call for a ton of butter or oil as part of the baking process. However, often you do not need the full amount – the excess is just extra fat and salt in your diet. Reduce the amount of butter specified in the recipe by about half and you will still get a great tasting meal!
5: Increase your dairy intake: The DASH Diet recommends that you drink up to three servings of milk each day. If this seems a lot, remember that the milk can replace some of your other drinks, such as juices, alcohol, or soda.
Here’s an idea – have a glass of milk with each meal and you are already reaching the target! When drinking milk, remember to stick to fat-free or low-fat milk options (or lactose-free milk, if normal milk doesn’t agree with you).
This post is an excerpt from the cookbook Make Me Salt-lite… in 30 Minutes!, which is available below!