Perhaps like myself and Editorial Director Faith Xue, upon reading our post yesterday about the DASH diet, you immediately wondered if it had any relation to the Kardashian-owned boutique chain Dash (hey, we're not proud of it). No, this diet has nothing to do with America's most talked-about family, and it's actually not much of a diet—it's a lifestyle.
Short for "dietary approaches to stop hypertension," DASH was recently ranked the number one diet of U.S. News's Best Diets Overall, and truthfully, we were surprised not to see as a pound-shedding diet like Atkins or Weight Watchers at the top of the list. But after further consideration, it makes sense that a panel of health experts would pick a heart-healthy, low-sodium, nutrient-rich meal plan instead of a buzzy, celeb-loved diet intended to help you to drop pounds.
While the DASH diet wasn't created to help you melt fat, because it promotes healthy eating and cutting out bad-for-you foods like high-fat dairy, sweets, and alcohol, studies have found that those who coupled the diet with exercise were still able to lose weight. Win-win!
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, here's the daily basis of the DASH diet, with the goal of 2000 calories per day:
- Grains: 6 to 8 servings
- Meats, poultry, and fish: 6 or fewer servings
- Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings
- Fruit: 4 to 5 servings
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products: 2 to 3 servings
- Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings
- Sodium: 2300 mg (or 1500 mg if you need to cut out sodium even further)
Sound reasonable? We think so, especially since there are no net-carb or point calculations involved (no one wants to audit their meals every day, amirite?). If you're not sure where to start in terms of meal prep, we took a dive through Pinterest to find some DASH-approved (and super-tasty) eats. Keep scrolling for more info!
2 lbs. beef, sliced
2 bell peppers of varying colors
20 oz. salsa
2 tbsp. fajita seasoning
Add salsa to the bottom of the slow cooker. Add beef, onion, bell pepper, and fajita seasoning. Stir to mix well. Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours.
1 piece whole wheat pita bread
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium mozzarella cheese, grated
Your favorite veggie toppings: onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, olives, etc.
Slice the edge of the pita bread halfway, creating an opening large enough to add all ingredients. First, add tomato sauce, then cheese and vegetable toppings. Close pita as tight as possible, and wrap in foil. Bake in preheated 350°F oven or toaster oven for 8 to 11 minutes. Make sure cheese is fully melted, and then serve.
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus lime zest as garnish
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a shallow baking dish, combine the onion, lime juice, jalapeños, mustard, and hot sauce. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, add the water, vinegar, cloves, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and add the shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Drain and transfer the shrimp to the shallow dish containing the onion mixture, making sure to discard the cloves and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
To serve, divide the shrimp mixture among individual small bowls, and garnish each with lime zest. Serve cold.
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, cubed small
1 cup prewashed white quinoa
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
Pinch of pepper
2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika, coriander, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and potatoes and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Stir in quinoa, and simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in corn and simmer until potatoes and quinoa are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and peas, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Off heat, season with pepper to taste (stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; add additional broth as needed to loosen sauce when reheating).
Sprinkle individual portions with feta cheese, avocado, and cilantro before serving.
1 large Medjool date, pitted and soaked in warm water until soft
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 or 2 brazil nuts
1 small raw beet, peeled and finely chopped (or grated if you don't have a high-speed blender)
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
3 1/2 oz. 100% frozen açaí, run under warm water to thaw slightly
Start by soaking the date while you prepare peel and chop or grate the beet.
Place the coconut milk, chia seeds, brazil nuts, and drained soaked date in the blender, and blend on high until smooth. Add the chopped or grated beet, frozen mixed berries and slightly thawed açaí packet. Blend on high, scraping down sides as necessary until thick and smooth.
Serve immediately in shallow bowls, with toppings or as a smoothie in a tall glass. Alternatively, you can prepare the bowl the night before and keep the bowl covered without the topping in the fridge overnight.
Ingredients for cookies:
1 flax egg (1 tbsp. flaxseed meal and 3 tbsp. water)
1/2 cup cashew butter (or almond butter)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 medium banana, mashed (plus slices for topping, optional)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chia seeds
Ingredients for topping:
1 tbsp. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water, and set aside.
Beat together cashew butter, syrup, and banana in a large bowl. Add flax egg and mix to combine. Pour in oats, quinoa flakes, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir together. Fold in chia
2 tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet and repeat until no dough remains. Gently flatten them and then sprinkle with the cinnamon coconut sugar.
Bake cookies on center rack for 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely. Enjoy at room temp or slightly reheated in a microwave.
Ingredients for poke:
1 cup sushi rice
1 bunch baby carrots (about 3 medium), diced
1 bunch radishes (about 5 medium), diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4 lb. salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Ingredients for sauce:
1 to 2 serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
In a fine mesh sieve, rinse the sushi rice under warm water until it runs clear. Place in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Allow to sit in the water for 15 minutes. Then bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and rest for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and divide between 4 bowls.
Meanwhile, combine the carrots, radishes, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes.
Mix the ingredients for the sauce together in another small mixing bowl. Add the salmon and cilantro; toss to combine.
1 multigrain flatbread, round or rectangular
1/3 cup organic tomatoes, crushed
1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch slices
1/2 cup pineapple, crushed
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. basil, freshly chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place flatbread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread crushed tomatoes on top of the bread. Lightly sprinkle with chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle cheese, bell pepper, pineapple, and mushrooms on top. Lightly drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and ground pepper.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the cheese begins to bubble and turn golden around the edges. Remove and cool slightly. Garnish with fresh basil.
What do you think of the DASH diet? Will you give it a try? Let us know in the comments!