Young boy holding an apple Eating the right foods can support cardiac health and help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Melodee Mendoza, a nurse practitioner with the Cardiac Center, offers a healthy eating plan known as DASH — Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The plan includes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, nuts and seeds. This eating plan is also low in salt and sugar.

DASH Ideas for every meal

Breakfast

  • Low-sugar instant oatmeal with 1% or skim milk. Add raisins, dried cranberries or walnuts.
  • Smoothie made with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, fruits and vegetables.
  • Multigrain waffle with low-fat yogurt or low-fat cream cheese, peach or strawberry slices.
  • Whole-grain tortilla with peanut butter. Add a peeled banana, and roll it up.
  • Low-sugar, high-fiber cereal with 1% or skim milk. Add fruit.
  • One or two scrambled eggs, turkey or Canadian bacon, fruit and water.

Lunch

  • Sandwich with whole-wheat bread, lunchmeat turkey or chicken, low-fat cheese and your favorite veggies. On the side: fruit or vegetable sticks, low-fat yogurt and water
  • Turkey chili, veggie chili or minestrone soup, with whole-wheat crackers, carrot sticks and skim milk
  • Whole-wheat pasta salad with chopped veggies, low-fat cheese, chickpeas, sliced olives, and low-fat vinaigrette dressing. On the side: peach and water
  • Whole-wheat tortilla filled with fat-free refried beans or mashed black beans, low-fat cheese and salsa. On the side: strawberries and water
  • Whole-wheat pita filled with low-fat ricotta cheese, apple slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon. On the side: raw broccoli, low-fat ranch dressing, a snack-size bag of nuts and water

Dinner

  • Baked or grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, brown rice, and 1% or skim milk
  • Baked or grilled salmon, baked sweet potato, green beans, and 1% or skim milk
  • Turkey burger, low-fat cheese, whole-wheat bun, mixed greens salad with vegetables, low fat-dressing and water
  • Whole-wheat pasta, 1/2 cup low-salt marinara sauce, three small turkey meatballs, part-skim parmesan cheese, salad with low-fat dressing and water
  • Ground chicken or turkey tacos, with black beans, salsa, low-fat shredded cheese, shredded dark lettuce leaves, side of corn and water
  • Low-sodium, three-bean vegetarian chili with chunky tomatoes

Snacks

  • Multigrain baked tortilla chips and salsa
  • Small orange and 15 almonds
  • Low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup of berries
  • Kabobs made with pretzel sticks, low-fat cheese cubes and grapes
  • Mini pizza made with whole-grain English muffin, pasta sauce, and low-fat, shredded mozzarella cheese, topped with peppers, spinach or broccoli

And remember to go low in sodium when possible.

CHOOSE

  • Foods labeled: low sodium, no salt added
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, rather than canned
  • Packaged foods with less than 140 mg sodium per serving
  • Meals that contain less than 500 mg sodium, and snacks that contain less than 150-200 mg sodium

AVOID

  • Instant or flavored rice or noodles and canned foods
  • Salty snack foods and frozen meals
  • Pasta sauces, marinades and dressings that are not labeled low sodium
  • Adding salt, soy sauce, or seasonings that contain salt to cooked foods

Happy and healthy eating!

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