If you are following the DASH diet to control or lower high blood pressure (aka hypertension), you might feel limited with the types of foods you can eat or frustrated that you can’t find snacks that taste good.
If you want to be able to realistically follow the DASH diet long term, it is important to have foods that not only taste good, but are also easy to make.
Check out my favorite snack combinations below that are delicious, healthy, and DASH diet approved.
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What is the DASH diet?
The DASH diet stands for “dietary approach to stop hypertension”. The focus of this diet is to include foods naturally low sodium foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, low fat dairy and whole grains.
This diet limits salt anywhere from 1,500mg to 2,300mg of sodium a day. This sounds like a lot, but 2,300 mg of sodium is only 1 teaspoon of salt. Check with your doctor or medical professional to how much salt you need to limit for your high blood pressure.
Health Benefits of the DASH diet
Besides helping manage your blood pressure, following the DASH diet is also good for lowering your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind of cholesterol) because you will be eating more fiber which helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.
Since the DASH diet is helpful for lowering blood pressure and bad levels of cholesterol, it is a heart healthy diet.
Who is the diet recommended for?
This diet is recommended for those with high blood pressure. However,the food groups that are recommended are also foods that are good for a generally healthy eating pattern too.
If you have high blood pressure and kidney disease, many of the foods in the DASH diet could help you. However, because the diet includes many high potassium foods and doesn’t provide an individualized amount of protein, you will want to work with a Registered Dietitian.
A registered dietitian can help you plan out how much potassium, phosphorus, and protein to follow based on the stage of kidney disease that you have.
Most insurances have nutrition counseling services covered, including medicaid, if you have Chronic Kidney Disease. Call your insurance member services to see if meeting with a Registered Dietitian is included in your insurance benefits.
How does it work?
By eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, low fat dairy, and whole grains you will be naturally lowering your sodium intake, while increasing your potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These 3 nutrients help relax your blood vessels which is important for lowering blood pressure.
Including more of these unprocessed and high fiber foods, it can be beneficial for weight loss, which can be helpful for lowering blood pressure if you have a higher weight.
Including DASH diet snacks in between meals can provide you stable energy during your day and prevent feeling overly hungry before your next meal.
How effective is the diet?
According to Dashdiet.org, the DASH diet way of eating can lower blood pressure in only 14 days if followed correctly.
In conclusion, the DASH diet is a heart healthy diet that is good for both lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure when followed. The emphasis on unprocessed whole foods that are high in fiber are good for your overall health and can be beneficial for weight loss as well.
Below are the best healthy DASH snacks that you can make yourself or buy pre-made.
- Celery with unsalted almond butter and raisins
- Plain greek yogurt with muesli and fresh or frozen fruit
- Sliced bell peppers + 2 Tablespoons hummus or guacamole
- Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium Sprouted Whole Grain Bread + unsalted natural almond butter + apple slices
- Unsalted or lightly salted rice cakes with unsalted natural peanut butter and banana
- 3 pitted dates topped with unsalted almond butter
- DIY smoothie- 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or low fat dairy milk, 1/4 cup riced cauliflower
- Chia seed pudding- 1/2 cup unsweetened milk of choice (almond or low fat dairy) 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds, handful of sliced strawberries. Mix everything in a jar with a lid and let sit in refrigerator overnight
- Frozen Edamame (shelled or whole) + Mrs Dash salt-free seasoning
- DIY snack mix- unsalted cashews, raisins, and air popped popcorn
1. Sargento balanced breaks
2. Think! Plant based protein bars
3. OWYN Strawberry Banana Protein shake
4. Bada Bean Bada Boom dried bean snacks (honey mustard, sweet siracha, zesty ranch)
5. Snyders Unsalted Pretzels + unsalted peanut butter
Laurie is a Registered Dietitian passionate about helping others improve their eating habits and behaviors so that they can thrive in their life, family, and career.