DASH Up Your Diet

High blood pressure is something everyone one needs to worry about — even if you’re a registered dietitian like me! I try to follow the health recommendations that are encouraged by the American Heart Association to keep my blood pressure within normal ranges.

These recommendations include no smoking, little to no alcohol, being active for at least 30 minutes each day, limiting sodium intake and following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. This plan includes 2 to 3 daily servings of low fat or fat free dairy foods and 8 to 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and is also recommended by the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to prevent and control high blood pressure.

Dairy foods are an integral part of DASH because they contain a trio of minerals — calcium, potassium and magnesium — that play an important role in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Here are some easy ways to DASH up your diet and make healthy food choices.

Begin at Breakfast

Get ahead of the game and start your day with whole grain cereal, fruit and low fat milk or yogurt, which are all included in this Berry Nutritious Acai Bowl, or a grab and go option like Overnight Oats or Yogurt and Berry Popsicles.

Milk With Meals

Make low fat or fat free milk your beverage of choice with meals. Use these lower fat options to modify your favorite tea latte or hot chocolate to warm up your day.

Vary Your Veggies

Color your plate with a variety of vegetables and try them with a low fat yogurt dip for added benefits and flavor. Roasting vegetables like acorn squash, kale or beets will bring out their flavor and if grilling, skewer vegetables into kabobs. Don’t throw away vegetables that are past their prime, instead, toss them into a stir fry, soup or veggie quiche. Remember low sodium canned and frozen vegetables are healthy options too!

Savvy Up Your Snacks and Make Every Bite Count

Dairy foods and plants make the perfect pair! Explore seasonal pairings of fruits and vegetables with dairy foods, like tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil or cottage cheese, bananas and pecans. Create a smoothie with low fat milk, yogurt and your favorite fruits and vegetables.

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