The DASH diet is an eating plan that promotes low-sodium meals filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Eggs, oats, whole-wheat toast, and yogurt loaded with fruits or vegetables make up a DASH-approved breakfast. Wraps, smoothies, overnight oats, and parfaits are great on-the-go options for a healthy breakfast. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Dietitians are calling the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet one of the healthiest ways to eat, and it's no surprise why. DASH emphasizes eating foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. In addition, the diet is said to help followers lower their sodium so they can better regulate their blood pressure. The eating plan is pretty straightforward — followers try to stick to minimally processed ingredients and foods that are low in sodium. It also emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with small portions of low-fat dairy, fish, and poultry. Insider consulted nutritionists and dietitians to come up with a bunch of DASH-friendly breakfast ideas packed with protein, vitamins, and healthy fats. Avocado toast with salmon and arugula is a protein-packed breakfast idea.
Registered dietitian Rima Kleiner of Dish on Fish shared an elevated twist on classic avocado toast with Insider. Kleiner recommended smashing an avocado onto a slice or two of whole-wheat toast, then topping it with arugula, smoked salmon, and a light drizzle of olive oil. "This easy bistro-style breakfast provides one to two servings of whole grains and a serving of vegetables, which are both rich in dietary fiber to help lower blood cholesterol levels and provide important nutrients and phytochemicals," she said. Overnight oats are filling and simple to prepare.
Registered dietitian and nutritionist Shena Jaramillo told Insider that overnight oats are an easy way to start off a DASH-friendly day of eating. "This is a high-fiber food that will help to keep cholesterol in check and provide you with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Best of all, it's ready when you wake up, and it can be prepared in advance," said Jaramillo. Overnight oats can be made with low-fat dairy or non-dairy milk, your favorite fruit, and even a sprinkle of coconut or chocolate chips if you like. Simply mix uncooked oats with your choice of milk and let the mixture sit in the fridge until the oats are tender. Clean out your fridge and boost your protein with a vegetable omelet.
Whipping up a veggie omelet is a sneaky way to use up leftover produce and start your day with some protein at the same time. "For this dish, throw in all the leftovers from the fridge. Spinach, onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños are some of my favorites. This is a higher protein food to help keep you full throughout the day," said Jaramillo. Along with the protein punch from the eggs, the vegetables in this dish will deliver some healthy fiber and micronutrients. Start your day on a tropical note with a juicy mango bowl.
Certified nutritionist and skin-health specialist Ann Ramark told Insider that a mango bowl may be the perfect breakfast for those who have a sweet tooth. She suggested topping thawed-out frozen mango chunks with fresh berries, a scoop of pea protein powder, and a handful of chopped almonds. "With this sweet breakfast alternative, you get an extra boost of antioxidants from the fruit and protein from the powder. The healthy fats from the nuts will also increase the uptake of the antioxidants from the fruit and berries," said Ramark. Try a Mediterranean sandwich for a grab-and-go DASH breakfast.
If you don't usually have time for a sit-down breakfast, Ramark suggested making a Mediterranean-inspired sandwich with sourdough bread, hummus, bell pepper, tomato, and a few slices of avocado. "By choosing a whole-grain bread like sourdough, you're avoiding added sugar and sodium. Hummus is also a great spread with lots of extra fiber, protein, healthy fats, and even extra antioxidants from the chickpeas," said Ramark. This breakfast can also be cobbled together the night before to keep your morning routine as streamlined as possible. A carrot and ginger smoothie is packed with vitamins and flavor.
Carrot and ginger may sound like an odd breakfast combo, but Ramark told Insider that this smoothie is a great way to load up on the fruits and vegetables required with the DASH diet. To make the smoothie, blend a handful of kale with some chopped carrot, a knob of fresh ginger, some mango chunks, a scoop of protein powder, and a squeeze of lime. Serve it up with a handful of nuts or seeds on top. "This is a powerful smoothie with tons of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats from the nuts to make sure you get a great nutrient uptake," Ramark told Insider. Peanut-butter toast topped with berries can keep you full for hours.
Registered nutritionist and dietitian Erica Ingraham told Insider that peanut-butter toast made with whole-wheat bread and topped with berries is a fantastic DASH option that's both sweet and savory. "This breakfast has all the macronutrients: carbs, protein, and fat. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy. Fruit is also a good source of fiber ... fiber may also help lower blood pressure and inflammatory markers in some individuals, contributing to a healthy heart," said Ingraham. Vegans may be be delighted by this DASH-friendly tofu scramble.
The DASH diet recommends reducing animal products such as meats, cheeses, and butter, and adding in more plant-based foods. So, Ingraham told Insider she recommends trying a tofu scramble to boost your protein and fiber intake sans animal products. "Sauté tofu with onions, peppers, greens, mushrooms, or whatever vegetables you have left in your fridge. This tofu scramble is a great way to get some plant-based protein and an extra few servings of veggies into your day," she said. Try an egg-white "tortilla" with vegetables for a low-carb morning snack.
Melissa Nieves, registered dietitian and founder of Fad Free Nutrition, told Insider that whipping up an egg-white "tortilla" and packing it with veggies is a hearty, low-sodium breakfast option. "Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein, which can make for a filling breakfast," said Nieves. Adding potassium-rich vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, and broccoli will further help increase not just potassium, but also overall daily vegetable intake as well. To make an egg-white "tortilla," simply separate the yolks from the whites of two to three eggs and allow the whisked whites to cook in a non-stick pan until they are solid enough to flip. Take the hot "tortilla" and ladle in as many veggies as you please. A granola and nut parfait is a healthy and spoonable breakfast treat.
This heart-healthy meal comes together in seconds and can easily be taken to go. Nieves recommended loading a cup or so of Greek yogurt with a spoonful of unsweetened granola, chopped fruit, and a handful of nuts such as walnuts or almonds. "I like to recommend Greek yogurt over regular yogurt since it's much higher in protein and therefore keeps you fuller for longer. Also, yogurt is full of potassium and calcium, minerals which are necessary for healthy blood pressure and which the DASH diet emphasizes," said Nieves. A nut butter and yogurt smoothie can keep you full until lunchtime.
Short on time for preparing breakfast? Nieves said she suggests blending up a smoothie that uses a base of low-fat yogurt with a dollop of nut butter and a handful of frozen fruit. "Adding nut butter to your smoothie increases the protein content and provides heart-healthy plant-based fats. Nuts may also help reduce the tightness in blood vessels, which contributes to high blood pressure," said Nieves. Smoothies have the added bonus of being super easy to prepare, and you can even batch-prepare the ingredients and freeze until ready to use. Mix chia seeds with dairy or plant milk for a satisfying morning pudding.
Registered dietitian Madeleine McDonough told Insider that chia pudding is a surprisingly easy and filling DASH-approved breakfast. "Chia seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats as well as insoluble fiber. If you're making your own at home, you can opt for a low-fat milk or milk alternative as the base and top with your favorite fruit or nut butter for the perfect DASH breakfast," said McDonough. Add cinnamon to your chia pudding for some sugar-free sweetness, or sprinkle on some fruit for an additional vitamin boost. Read more:
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