Why DASH Might Be Great for Your Family

When you are trying to eat for a healthy heart, you can sometimes hit stumbling blocks. For many people, it’s the problem of eating with family. While the Mediterranean diet is excellent for heart health, many others have also been proven helpful, and it’s not right for everyone. If you have picky eaters, sometimes the Mediterranean diet doesn’t work as a family plan. The Mediterranean is rich in fish and almost entirely sugar-free, and for people with kids still at home, that can be a deal-breaker.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, is a way of eating to help maintain healthy blood pressure. It focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. It cuts out a lot of the sodium found in most processed foods but resembles the standard American diet. Whereas the Mediterranean diet can seem a bit foreign to picky eaters. Unlike the Mediterranean diet, you can still eat a little candy. You eat six to eight serving of whole grains a day, four to five servings of veggies, four to five servings of fruit, two to three servings of dairy, two to three servings of healthy fats or oils, six or fewer servings of lean meat a day, four or five servings of nuts or legumes a week and five or fewer servings of sugary treats. That is a lot of variety to work with and very malleable to suit your family’s tastes!

DASH has also been linked to a lower risk for some cancers, metabolic syndrome, blood sugar problems and heart disease. That makes it a fantastic family diet as it keeps everyone healthy. Both the Mediterranean diet and DASH have been shown to have tremendous impacts on heart health and aid weight loss. But, if you’re choosing between the two and cooking for a crowd, DASH might be a winner.

While some people might think that switching the family to a “diet” seems harsh, having everyone start a healthy plan together can be great. It can help your kids, teens or spouse learn more about nutrition and make better choices when alone. Everyone can use some help! And, whether or not you’re the person who usually cooks meals, it’s less expensive to buy groceries for just one family meal. DASH meals don’t have to be boring! We recently read a great blog written by a mother of a child who had to follow DASH. She switched her family to DASH and kept everyone happy with delicious family-friendly foods. You can check out a menu she shared here. One of her most significant problems was that there is too much salt in ketchup and kids love ketchup.

DASH doesn’t get the attention it deserves, perhaps because its benefits have been known for so long, and the Mediterranean diet is relatively “new” to us westerners. There are many wonderful, healthy eating styles you should explore while looking for ways to boost heart health. But, if you are looking to try something with your whole family, DASH might be right for you!   

Image: Olha Mishchenko via Unsplash
May 05, 2021
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