The DASH Diet Secret: 5 Steps for this Science-Backed Plan


People seem to have a love-hate relationship with eating. To illustrate, I wrote two haikus:

“I can’t eat bagels.”

 “Fermented foods only, please.”

“Only on cheat days.”


“I am eating clean.”

“I am avoiding gluten.”

“Fat is bad for you.”

And then there’s always the simple statement that is circulating these days: “Sugar kills.”

Be wary of fad diet trends. Good reasons exist to restrict certain types of foods from your diet, but in many cases, people flock to fad diet trends as a way to lose weight, not because of a particular medical condition.  The biggest drawback to fad diets: they don’t alter long-term eating behavior and are not sustainable for a lifetime.

If you’re looking for an easy to follow, evidence-based diet that you can stay on forever, The DASH Diet could your ticket to better health.  The secret? It’s proven. Due to its namesake, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, the research for this diet began as an approach to lower blood pressure.  But what’s really cool is that after several research trials, it was also recognized to support weight loss, diabetes control, and even bone health. 

Eating the DASH way is sustainable too (as in, you can keep it up long-term) – something that many fad diets can’t brag about. We all want instant gratification sometimes, but eating well is something that we have to do for a lifetime. Focus on adding foods to your diet, like a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk products, whole grains and lean meats, instead of taking away!


oatmeal-blueberries-nuts-dash-diet5 Easy Tips for Starting DASH Today:

1. Add fruit, protein and fiber to your breakfast. Add sliced banana or blueberries to your oatmeal. Top with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.

2. Enjoy 4-8 ounces of yogurt for a mid-morning or mid-day snack

3. At lunchtime, add protein to a salad – try 3-4 ounces grilled salmon or chicken on a bed of mixed greens with a vinaigrette dressing. Or top salad greens with dried cranberries, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, and cottage cheese.

4. Prepare extra veggies ahead. Steam, grill, or sauté a larger amount of your favorite vegetable (spinach, zucchini, broccoli, peppers, onions, or green beans).  Use over the next 2-3 days for lunch or dinners, or to mix into a grain dish.

5. Take a good look at your plate. Balance your plate with half fruits/vegetables, a smaller portion of protein, and a small portion of high fiber grain.


This blog is by Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN. Rosanne is owner of Rust Nutrition Services. She began freelance writing in 1994, created her virtual nutrition practice in 2000, now bringing over 25 years of experience to what she does.  As a nutrition communications consultant, Rosanne translates nutrition data into well-reasoned dietary advice so people can enjoy eating for good health. Visit her blog for more information about her books, including DASH Diet For Dummies®.