The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been voted best diet for the fourth year in a row, so more and more people are trying to adopt it. It not only helps lower blood pressure, but can help you lose weight too.

As you work toward the goal to reduce sodium, add good fats, and add more fruits and vegetables into your diet, keep these easy tips in mind:

  1. Remove the salt shaker from the table. While you may use a bit of salt in cooking, do your best to not add more at the table. Out of sight, out of mind, and your taste buds will adjust. Use other natural salt-free means to add flavor – citrus juices or peels, fresh or dried herbs, ground pepper.
  2. Add fruit to every meal. Try sliced banana on whole grain toast in the morning. Keep berries washed and ready-to-eat in a airtight container in the fridge. Have an apple for your mid-day snack. Incorporate fruit into after-dinner desserts (think: Pear or berry cobbler).
  3. Add nuts. Nuts are great to snack on as is, and also make veggie dishes more delicious. Try adding sliced nuts to tossed salads, or add slivered almonds to steamed green beans. Toss cashews into a quick and easy chicken and veggie stir-fry.
  4. Keep vegetables on hand. Make sure veggies make it to your grocery list, so that you can incorporate them into your diet. Add more veggies to your sandwiches – bean sprouts, spinach leaves, thinly sliced bell peppers or cucumbers – all make great sandwich toppers. Keep bagged vitamin-packed shredded cabbage mix on hand. Substitute for iceberg lettuce in your sandwich wraps. Or, in place of noodles or rice, saute shredded cabbage for an Asian dish.
  5. Add beans, fish and lean meats. Learn how easy it is to prepare fish and seafood! Try a fruit-vegetable mixture to top your fish or chicken. Make this easy bean soup for dinner, and use it through the week for lunch, or turn add it to wraps.

It’s easy to add these nutritious DASH foods into your diet with a little bit of planning. Make your plates more balanced and colorful, and you’ll be on your way to better health!