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Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?

Could it be? Is there really a “best diet?” If such a thing exists, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan may just be it. In 2017, for the seventh year in a row, an expert panel of health and nutrition experts assembled by U.S. News & World Report rated DASH Best Overall Diet.

DASH has been repeatedly lauded by expert panels for its proven plan for healthy eating, diabetes prevention and heart health. With nearly 20 years of research to support it, the DASH Diet is recommended by both the 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

What’s unique about DASH is that it is really not a traditional diet but rather an eating plan that you can follow for life. It also works well for families, couples, co-workers and individuals. The focus is on food – simple, easy-to-prepare and tasty food. No pills or special ingredients. Simply food.

The DASH eating plan emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and dairy foods. In fact, milk, cheese and yogurt are critical components of DASH because of the nutrients they provide. This combination of foods provides enhanced health benefits that are not seen when dairy foods are not included.

DASH was originally shown to be as effective in treating high blood pressure for some people as medications can be. Further research has confirmed this time and again, but also has shown that DASH can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes while at the same time improving bone health. A 2016 study showed that a modified DASH diet with full fat dairy foods, no juice and fewer sugars maintained and enhanced the health benefits of DASH, including:

  • Similar benefit of lowering blood pressure
  • Reduced blood triglyceride levels
  • No difference in total LDL cholesterol
  • Did not reduce the blood HDL cholesterol levels

So, is it time for you to get started with the DASH eating plan? We can help with the information and tools you need. Visit to find DASH recipes to help you reach your daily goal for each food group.







The DASH eating plan lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and may help prevent osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Make DASH choices every day by choosing luscious fruits, crunchy vegetables and delicious lowfat dairy foods.

Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?





How does your plate measure up? TAKE THE QUIZ!


One step at a time
Take it one step at a time and set goals for your success. Your transition to the DASH eating style will happen gradually, not all at once.


Meal plans and tracking
Record what you eat on the Daily DASH Tracker to monitor your success. Use the DASH Meal Planner to plan your meals and snacks for the week. Use the samples as a guide. Choose tools based on your individual calorie needs (1600, 2000 or 2600.) To figure your calorie needs, create a profile with the MyPlate Super Tracker

1600 Calorie Goal

2000 Calorie Goal

2500 Calorie Goal


Stock up on DASH foods
Keep DASH foods in your kitchen to make following your plan easy. Use the DASH Shopping List to help you find healthy foods at the store. Plan ahead with the DASH Meal Planner and then add the foods you’ll need for your plan to your list.

What’s in a Waldorf Salad? Watch this Video and Find Out!

No better time than apple season to indulge in this DASH friendly Waldorf Salad

Serves 6

dash-recipehealthy-recipeSide dish recipe



Dietitian’s Tip: This recipe uses fat free yogurt in place of mayonnaise to reduce fat and boost nutrient content. The toasted walnuts, celery, raisins and dressing compliment the tartness of the apples. To put together a complete DASH friendly meal, enjoy this salad with:

  • A whole wheat grilled cheese sandwich
  • A whole wheat roll with a glass of milk
  • Whole wheat crackers with cheese

1⁄3 cup walnuts, chopped
2 apples, cored and diced
1 cup celery, diced
1⁄2 cup raisins
1⁄4 cup fat free plain yogurt
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally until they are evenly toasted.

Combine apples, celery, nuts, and raisins.

Stir together yogurt, sugar, and lemon juice. Pour over apple mixture and toss lightly.

Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


Per serving: 120 calories, 4.5 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g fiber, 20 mg sodium, 40 mg calcium



Bean and Smoked Cheddar Salad

Bean and Smoked Cheddar Salad
This tasty bean salad comes together in no time, and the smokey cheddar adds bonus flavor. No smoked cheddar? Try using sharp cheddar or pepper jack.

Serves 4

dash-recipehealthy-recipeentree-recipeSide dish recipe



Dietitian’s Tip: Build a DASH meal with this salad by adding a side of fresh fruit and a whole grain roll

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup red onion, minced
½ cup celery, sliced
2 15-ounce can 50% less sodium beans (garbanzo, kidney or black), drained and rinsed
4 ounces smoked Cheddar cheese, cut into ¼ inch cubes

In a large bowl combine Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, salt, sugar, black pepper and olive oil: whisk until well mixed.
Add remaining ingredients to large bowl with vinaigrette and mix until evenly coated. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per serving: 240 Calories, 11 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 310 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein, 192 mg calcium


These materials are available to Oregon residents and organizations at no charge.
If you are not an Oregon resident, please contact
your local dairy council.


Select from the suggested quantities or choose “other” and use the box at the end of the list to tell us what quantity you want. Product availability is subject to change. Please allow 2 weeks for standard delivery.

Questions? Call 503-229-5033  M-F 8 AM to 5 PM or email us at



activity-and-eating-small-steps-to-a-healthier-you_lgActivity and Eating: Small Steps to a Healthier You (Adults)

Self-guided workbook to improve food and activity choices. Also available in Spanish. 8 pages.













a13s-largeCalcium: Are You Getting Enough? (Teens–Adults)

Compute calcium intake, set goals and learn about calcium and health. Print version available in Spanish only.

a124-lgDASH Savor Choices

Known as the “diet for all diseases” DASH is a healthy eating plan for everyone. These tear sheets will get you started. 50/pad. Measures 8.5″ x 11″.

exercise-your-options_lgExercise Your Options (Grades 6-8)

Nutrition and physical activity program helps students form healthy behaviors. Kit includes: teacher guide, 50 student workbooks, DVD with teaching materials. Read more about this program here.

a20-largeGrab and Go Foods

Poster featuring nutrient-rich food choices when you are on-the-go. Measures 25.5″ x 33″.

a172-largeMyPlate Wheel

One side is for males, the other for females. Select age and activity level to show MyPlate recommendations for calories and food groups.

Food Amounts Count/Meet the Five Food Groups

Wheel companion handout (1) included with wheel order. Also available for download.

a168_lgNutrition Note Pad

Magnetic note pad for your grocery list or other notes. Measures 2.75″ x 8.75″.

a121-largeOne Body for Life

Poster features nutrient-rich foods and the benefits iron, calcium, potassium, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins C, E and A provide for the body. Measures 25.5″ x 33″.

plan-it-snack_lgPlan-It Snack (Grades Pre-K-5)

Guide for parents to help form healthy snacking habits. Includes sample grocery list and snack ideas. Print version available in Spanish only. Measures 3.5″ x 8.5″.

pregnancy-a-special-time-for-nutrition_lgPregnancy: Healthy Moms + Babies

Guide for healthy eating, weight gain and physical activity for peri-conception to postpartum. 8 pages.

a105-largeSee the Difference Nutrient Bar Graph Cards

Set of sturdy, colorful cards that show the calories and 10 nutrients in one serving of each food. Includes foods from all food groups, as well as combination foods. 50 cards + 8-page leader guide.

start-your-head-eat-breakfast_lgStart Your Head: Eat Breakfast (Grades K-5)

Poster with three activity masters all about the benefits of breakfast.  Measures 22″ x 25″.

a165-lgThink Your Drink

Poster compares labels and the nutrient values of 8 different beverages. Eight activity masters help students learn how to read labels and evaluate sugar content. Measures 24″ x 31″.

a104-lgToss ‘N Tell Ball (Grade 4-adults)

When you catch this ball, answer the question closest to your right thumb. Answer guide and simple directions make tossing and telling fun. Inflatable ball measures 24″ diameter.


Milk Chocolate Pudding

Did someone say guilt-free chocolate? Here’s a dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth for under 200 calories.

Serves 4

dash-recipehealthy-recipeDessert recipe



Dietitian’s Tip: Top pudding with sliced bananas or strawberries to add a serving of fruit to your dessert. You can even try sprinkling pudding with ground flaxseed for a slightly nutty flavor and a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Use lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance.

3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups nonfat milk (or lactose-free milk)
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, mix cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar and salt until well combined. Whisk in milk. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until thickened and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips and vanilla until chocolate chips are melted and pudding is smooth.

Pour into 4 serving dishes or one large dish and chill until set. To prevent a skin from forming on top place plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving: 197 calories, 5 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 31 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber, 138 mg sodium, 1 mg potassium, 0 mg magnesium, 125 mg calcium

Recipe from Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council

Tandori Chicken with Rice

Tandoori chicken is packed with flavor from various spices, but isn’t necessarily hot. The combination of spices will keep you warm on cold days.

Serves 6




Dietitian’s Tip: Tandoori chicken is spice-filled and offers a lot of flavor. Consider cutting back on the amount of crushed hot red pepper flakes if you’d like to go easy on the heat. Tame the spiciness with a dollop of cool plain lowfat or fat-free yogurt. Serve with steamed brown basmati rice and green peas.

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
½ cup lemon juice
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp yellow curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes (use ½ tsp for milder flavor)
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-2 inch pieces
6 skewers soaked in water for at least 15 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, yellow curry powder, ginger and red pepper flakes in a blender and process until smooth.

Skewer an equal amount of chicken pieces onto each of the soaked skewers. Place chicken skewers in a shallow casserole dish. Add half of the yogurt mixture, reserving the remainder. Cover and chill for about 15 minutes.

Spray another shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Remove chicken skewers, discard the yogurt marinade, and place chicken skewers in prepared dish. Brush chicken with reserved yogurt mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear when meat is pierced. Serve immediately. For a slightly more authentic preparation grill the chicken skewers over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving: 165 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 8 g carbohydrates, 30 g protein, 101 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Yogurt and Dill Smashed Potatoes

Smashed potatoes all dressed up with flavors of the Mediterranean. Serve these flavorful potatoes warm as a side dish or chill and serve as a refreshing potato salad.

Serves 4

dash-recipehealthy-recipeSide dish recipe



Dietitian’s Tip: Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium and fiber. They also contain almost half your Daily Value of vitamin C. So, keep potatoes on your table with this flavorful, nutrient-rich and easy-to-prepare recipe.

1 pound small red potatoes, cleaned, unpeeled
½ cup red onion, diced
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to simmer and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.Leave skin on and smash each potato on a cutting board using the bottom of a glass. Add the smashed potatoes to the yogurt dressing and stir to coat potatoes.

Nutrition Information:
Per serving: 127 calories, 1 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 25 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 2 g fiber, 196 mg sodium, 120 mg calciumRecipe courtesy of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

Breakfast Bread Pudding

Wake up to warm baked bread pudding with apples and cinnamon.

Serves 4




Dietitian’s Tip:
Make this dish up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake. This bread pudding tastes great with other fruit too. See what’s in season at the farmers market. Instead of apples, try using pears, plums, peaches or berries.

1 1/2 cup low fat 1% or fat free milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups cubed whole wheat bread, about 4 slices
1/2 cup peeled and diced apple
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until well combined.

Add the bread cubes, diced apple and raisins, and mix until all ingredients are combined and the bread has soaked up much of the liquid.

Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick spray or butter.
Transfer the bread mixture into the baking pan. Cover with foil and bake, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Place the bread pudding into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown, about 20 more minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Per Serving: 250 calories, 6 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 320 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 13 g protein, 170 mg calcium.

Recipe courtesy of the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.


taste and health header

Good and good for you, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council programs help Oregonians enjoy tasty food and choose foods that will enhance their health. Milk, cheese and yogurt provide a powerhouse of protein and essential nutrients and are a key component of a healthy diet. Few other foods provide such a nutritional bargain in such an affordable, appealing and readily available way. If you have questions, just ask us and one of our registered dietitian nutritionists will have answers.

RESOURCES  Fact sheets on: Protein, Calcium, DASH Diet Eating Plan, Science Summaries, Mealtime, MyPlate, Sports Nutrition, Milk vs. Alternatives and more

STORIES  Read Taste and Health news

ORDER PRINTED MATERIALS  Oregon residents only


Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt can be a core part of nutritious, sustainable healthy eating patterns because they deliver a unique combination of essential nutrients in an appealing, affordable and readily available way. The health benefits from drinking milk and eating cheese and yogurt have been well documented by decades of nutrition research and that’s why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend dairy every day.

Read more about the science supporting these dairy and health topics. [Science Summaries]

  • Bone Health
  • Whole and Reduced Fat Dairy Foods
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Nutrient Contribution
  • Milk and Beverage Trends


dash-diet-eating-planDASH is an eating plan that encourages you to eat a wide variety of foods and enjoy delicious flavors every day. The DASH diet is flexible and adaptable to your favorite foods, tastes and lifestyle.  DASH is recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and as a healthy eating plan for people of all ages.

Find resources to help you learn about and follow the DASH Diet Eating Plan.


The Nutrition Council of Oregon (NCO) is a group of nutrition professionals concerned with public health nutrition issues affecting Oregonians. Members represent public health, health care, academia and research, food and nutrition programs and non-profit organizations who promote the nutritional health of Oregonians.
Learn about our shared meals initiative.

The Dairy Good Cook BookThe Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families
Jun 2, 2015
Lisa Kingsley

Featuring Oregon dairy farmers, 115 recipes and a day in the life photos.
Purchase book


This is where taste and health meet-up in your kitchen. Choose from the categories here.

dash-recipehealthy-recipeindulgent-recipeentree-recipeSide dish recipeDessert recipe
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