Section: Why the DASH Diet?

DASH Quick View

The DASH eating plan outlined below illustrates the wide variety of whole, nutritious foods you can enjoy any day. The amounts listed are based on 2,000 calories. 1600 and 2600 calorie plans are also available at the Make A Plan page. 

DASH Eating Plan

DASH works by including a variety of foods from all food groups. Use daily totals and portion information to calculate how much to eat each day.

Fruits | Vegetables | Fat Free or Low Fat Milk and Dairy | Whole Grains | Lean Meat, Fish and Poultry | Nuts, Seeds, & Legumes | Oils | Sweets | Sodium | Alcohol |



Daily Goal: 2-2 1/2 cups

Examples of a 1/2 cup portion include:

1 medium fresh fruit, 16 grapes, 1/2 cup fresh, canned or frozen, 1/4 cup dried, or 4 oz 100% juice



Daily Goal: 2-2 1/2 cups

Examples of a 1/2 cup portion include:

1 cup leafy greens, 1/2 cup raw, canned* or frozen, or 4 ox 100% juice *

* Choose lower sodium


Fat-free or Lowfat Milk and Dairy

Daily Goal: 2-3 cups

Examples of a 1 cup portion include:

8 OZ milk, 8 oz yogurt, 1 1/2 oz lowfat, fat-free or reduced fat natural cheese, 2 oz lowfat or fat-free processed cheese


Whole Grains

Daily Goal: 6-8 ounces

Examples of a 1 oz portion include:

1 oz slice bread, 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta,1/2 - 1 1/4 cup dry cereal*

* Check nutrition facts label.


Lean Meat, Fish, Poultry

Daily Goal: 6 ounces or less

Examples of a 1 oz portion include:

1 oz cooked beef, fish or chicken, or 1 egg

Note: A 3 oz portion roughly equals the size of a deck of cards.


Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes

Daily Goal: 4-5 portions per week

Examples of a portion include:

1/3 cup or 1 1/2 oz nuts, 2 tbs peanut butter, 1/2 oz seeds, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, peas or lentils.

Note: These portions can count as a 2 oz portion of lean meat, fish, poultry.



Use Sparingly

Examples of a 1 teaspoon portion include:

1 tsp soft margarine, 1 Tbsp low-fat mayo, 2 Tbsp low-fat salad dressing or 1 tsp vegetable oil


Added Sugar

Use sparingly

Examples of one serving include:

1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp jelly or jam, 1/2 cup sorbet and ices or 1 cup lemonade



1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg sodium.



One drink is equivalent to:

12 ounces beer, 5 ounces wine, 1.5 ounces spirits

(Men: 2 or less drinks per day / Women: 1 or less drinks per day)



Find more information on the DASH eating plan for 1600 and 2600 calories at Make a Plan.
To get started: download the right Daily DASH tracker for you and record everything you eat on a typical day.  Then compare with your DASH goals.  In what areas are you meeting the guidelines? Where are you falling short? What would you like to change?  Write your goals down on the DASH - One Step at a Time worksheet.