Section: Make DASH Work for You


With less time devoted to meal planning and preparation, mini-meals or snacks play an important role in helping your body function at its best.  Nutrient-rich snacks keep your energy level up, satisfy your hunger, and prevent overeating. 

Snacks also help you achieve your daily DASH goals as they provide opportunities to include servings of fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods in your daily food intake.

Use the DASH eating plan to help you decide what to have on hand at home, in your car, desk drawer, work refrigerator, and your backpack, bike bag, or purse. 

Having the right stuff in the right place at the right time will put an end to hunger when you’re in a pinch.  Take a look at the following suggestions for your DASH snack stash. 


The Car Stash

Pack snack-size zip bags with ¼ cup nut, seed and dried fruit trail mix

Make snack packs of whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds

Stock the glove box with whole grain granola bars that have less than 200 calories

Bring along small boxes or cans of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

When a cooler is an option, pack string cheese, yogurt and fresh fruit and vegetable slices


The Desk Drawer

Just like the fruit bowl at home, keep fresh fruit on your desk for snacking

Keep trail mix made with nuts, seeds and dried fruit- ¼ cup is a serving

Stock up on plain nuts and seeds, snack on a few with a piece of fresh fruit

Instant whole-grain hot cereal and cold cereals make a snack in a flash

Whole-grain crackers or pretzels

Low sodium canned or dried soup (vegetable, bean, split pea or lentil) or chili

Canned fruit in its own juice

Canned tuna or sardines packed in water


The Lunchroom Refrigerator

Lowfat or fat-free cottage cheese

Lowfat or fat-free yogurt

Lowfat or fat-free milk   

Lowfat cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese

Fresh fruit- washed, sliced and ready to eat

Frozen fruit or berries

Baby carrots, vegetable slices and low-calorie salad dressing 

Deli turkey, chicken or roast beef

Lowfat cheese sticks or cheese slices 

Nut butter, hummus, or bean dip


Hard boiled eggs

Whole-wheat or corn tortillas  

Bottled salad dressing


In Your Handbag, Briefcase or Backpack

Pack snack-size zip bags with ¼ cup nut, seed and dried fruit trail mix

Make snack packs of whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds

Toss in a few whole grain granola bars that have less than 200 calories

Whole-grain breakfast bars

Small can or box of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

A piece of packable fresh fruit, like a banana, apple, or orange

Pack a zip bag of crunchy cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower for a long commute or a short flight


The Vending Machine (1 to 1-1/2 ounce; Single Serving Size)

Whole-grain breakfast bars


Baked potato or tortilla chips

Trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit

100% fruit or vegetable juice (serving size= 12 ounces or less)

Single serve bottle of lowfat or fat-free milk or flavored milk


Mix and Match

With a well stocked snack stash, you’ll be able to mix and match a number of satisfying snacks.  Make it a goal to get at least two food groups with each snack, three is even better.  Don’t forget to count your snack foods toward your daily DASH eating plan goals.  Here are some simple snack ideas that can be thrown together in no time.

  • Cereal with milk & fresh or dried fruit  
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Yogurt with fruit and whole-grain cereal
  • A bagel half with nut butter or lowfat cream cheese  
  • Combine plain lowfat yogurt with sliced fresh fruit or frozen berries
  • Blend a smoothie made with lowfat milk, yogurt, and fresh fruit (pour leftover smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for a cool treat)
  • Munch on a few whole-grain crackers or fruit slices with low-fat cheese
  • Top ½ of a whole grain bagel with nut butter or reduced fat cream cheese
  • Spread whole-grain crackers, apple slices or a banana with peanut butter
  • Dip whole-wheat pita bread or sliced carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, celery or cauliflower in hummus, black bean dip or tzatziki
  • Wrap slices of turkey, cheese and lettuce into a whole grain tortilla
  • Have a mini-meal of vegetable soup, whole grain crackers and lowfat milk when pressed for time