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!

Posted on
Your Video is Loading

DASH Diet Secrets Revealed, Pt 1 (5:41)

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


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


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