Avoid oversized portions

The DASH diet recommends specific serving sizes. But if you've eaten in restaurants in recent years, you know that portions are often heaping. To avoid overeating:

  • Ask for the lunch portion, even if you're eating dinner.
  • Substitute an appetizer for an entree.
  • Split a meal with a companion.
  • Put half the meal in a takeout container before you start eating.

Be cautious with fast food

Fast-food restaurants can be dietary danger zones. But with these tips, you can occasionally enjoy a fast-food meal while sticking to the DASH diet:

  • Ask for no added salt.
  • Get familiar with the restaurant's nutrition information, either on-site or online.
  • Opt for healthier fare, such as a plain, single hamburger (lower in sodium than a chicken or fish sandwich), whole-wheat bread, low-fat milk and yogurt.
  • Stick to regular size or even children's meals.
  • Be cautious about fast-food salads, which often have unhealthy extras, such as cheese and dressing.
  • Choose items that are grilled, broiled or steamed. Avoid those that are fried or battered.
  • Choose healthier side dishes, such as baked potato or fresh fruit.

Dine and DASH

It's getting easier to make healthy choices when dining out. Most restaurants recognize that many people are trying to follow healthier diets, such as the DASH diet. Many now use icons on menus to identify low-fat items, or they list healthier fare in a special section. Many also accept special requests to prepare a dish with less fat and salt.

May. 18, 2013 See more In-depth