6 Easy DASH Diet Recipes That'll Make Your Brain & Your Tummy Happy
After experimenting with a number of diets since college, not only have I come to realize that dieting in general doesn’t really work for me, but also, a lot of diets simply require way too much groundwork. Between work responsibilities, class assignments, hanging out with your friends, and whatever else you’ve got going on, who has time to whip up a five-course meal highlighting ingredients you’ve never even heard of that cost a fortune? The DASH diet recipes I’ve stumbled upon during my research of this totally uncomplicated way of eating, though, can be made in a jiff and taste amazing, despite how little effort is necessary to make them.
Now, if you glazed over the whole “uncomplicated” detail and went straight to "diet," you might still be stuck on what the heck I'm even talking about. If you haven’t heard, the DASH diet is a really simple way of eating that, honestly, you probably already follow to a T or, if not, you’re pretty damn close.
See, rather than limit your caloric intake, or categorize certain foods as toxic, the DASH diet is all about balance, and eating a diet that primarily consists of the good stuff — like fresh produce, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, and the like — while still letting yourself have that wiggle room to eat treats when you want to. As long as you’re keeping your sodium intake generally low, you’re on the right track.
But why call it a diet if it’s not exactly a, well, traditional diet? Eliminate the word for a second, and just consider the benefits that come with eating this way. See, good-for-you food is optimal for your gut, and when your gut’s happy, everything's happy: your stomach, your heart, your brain, and — you guessed it — your mood. So rather than whine and dine, wouldn't you rather smile while you snack and enjoy your meals, knowing that what's going into your body is going to make you a healthier, happier person? I sure would, so to get you started, browse the recipes below for easy DASH diet meals that keep you full and full of life.
1. Avocado Toast
According to the Houston Chronicle, avocado is just one of those foods that teeters on the brink of a few different categories. Is it a fruit, or is it a fat? Well, technically, it's both, but while a lot of strict food programs would write off this green goddess as a fat, the DASH diet checks avo off under the fruit category because of its high fiber content, as well as the number of minerals, potassium, and magnesium one serving offers.
In that case, rejoice, friends, because avo is definitely up there on the DASH grocery list. Smash a bit and smear it over some whole grain toast for breakfast, or add a slice of lox for lunch to get in some lean protein that doubles as brain food.
2. Roasted Chicken And Veggies
Trust me, as someone who’s sacrificed flavor for those so-called “results” most BS fad diets advertise, I understand just how bland roasted chicken and vegetables sounds off the bat. The thing is, though, it’s because I’ve downed the dry stuff that I now know how to season certain foods to make them taste absolutely delicious.
Plus, seasons over salt keeps sodium content low, which is exactly the goal when following the DASH diet. In fact, Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, tells Elite Daily that not only should you season food using “herbs and spices instead of salt,” you should really “try your best to refrain from adding salt at the table as well.”
My advice? Keep the salt shaker in the cupboard.
3. Greek Yogurt With Fruit And Honey
Low-fat dairy is the way to go when following a DASH diet, and low-fat Greek yogurt options from Chobani (my personal favorite) and FAGE are great for either snacking at your work desk, or even for a quick, easy breakfast.
A simple recipe to follow from Eating Well tops the yogurt with additives like dried figs for a serving of fruit, chia seeds for their fiber content (also great for gut health), and a drizzle of honey.
Keep in mind, yogurt is one of those meals that’s easily customizable, so keep experimenting with different toppings, like nuts, hemp seeds, and berries, and mix it up every once in a while to cater to your cravings.
4. Hummus For Veggie Sandwiches And Dipping
Hummus is one of those versatile foods you can pair off and play with, and almost every combination I can think of would taste amazing. Hope Foods has a great selection from sweet to savory, but if you want to make your own hummus, there are a ton of easy recipes out there you can customize to your liking.
Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, so when you add veggies into the mix — like sprouts for micronutrients, and pickled beet cabbage which, as Hope Foods points out in its tweet, is amazing for gut health due to its slew of probiotics — you've got a DASH-approved meal to satisfy your hunger, and keep your body feeling great until dinner.
5. Loaded Baked Sweet Potato
The best part of the DASH diet is that it's not just about eating meals that are good for your physical body, but it's also about all the good-mood food options out there. Now, personally, I could live off of sweet-potato-everything and never get tired of the orange spud, so the fact that the starch is loaded with vitamin B6 which, Greatist reports, is known for boosting moods, is just an added bonus.
Fish is the Dish's recipe calls for topping your potato boat with pieces of mackerel (high in omega 3s, which is also great for an edible attitude adjustment), but if you want to forgo the fish, sprinkling on herbs and spices like chives, dill, and cayenne pepper will taste great, too.
6. Chewy Banana Bread
Straight off the DASH Diet website comes a decadent banana bread you can enjoy amidst your veggies, legumes, and fruits by the serving because #balance is key, after all.
What's lovely about the DASH diet is you're allowed that wiggle room because, let's be real, it's not realistic to forgo all sugars and sweet things. Plus, you'd never know by the taste that the recipe calls for non-fat sour cream over milk, so it's a total win.