DASH diet: Guide to recommended servings

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can help you control your blood pressure. The DASH diet is rich in grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. It limits total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and provides plenty of fiber, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The DASH diet also limits sodium to between 1,500 milligrams and 2,300 milligrams a day.

Here are recommended servings from the food groups for the two calorie levels of the DASH diet, along with examples of serving sizes. Use these details as you plan your meals.

Food groupServings for 1,600 calories a dayServings for 2,000 calories a dayExamples of 1 serving
Grains (mainly whole grains) 6 a day 6 to 8 a day
  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread
  • 1 oz. dry cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
Vegetables 3 to 4 a day 4 to 5 a day
  • 1 cup raw leafy green vegetable
  • 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz.) low-sodium vegetable juice
Fruits 4 a day 4 to 5 a day
  • 1 medium fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid oz.) 100% fruit juice
Low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products 2 to 3 a day 2 to 3 a day
  • 1 cup (8 fluid oz.) milk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 oz. cheese
Lean meats, poultry and fish 3 to 4 or fewer a day 6 or fewer a day
  • 1 oz. cooked lean meat, skinless poultry or fish
  • 1 egg (no more than 4 a week)
  • 2 egg whites
Nuts, seeds and legumes 3 to 4 a week 4 to 5 a week
  • 1/3 cup (1.5 oz.) nuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 oz.) seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked legumes (dried beans or peas)
Fats and oils* 2 a day 2 to 3 a day
  • 1 teaspoon soft margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons salad dressing
Sweets and added sugars 3 or fewer a week 5 or fewer a week
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon jelly or jam
  • 1/2 cup sorbet
  • 1 cup (8 fluid oz.) sugar-sweetened lemonade

* The amount of fat in a food changes the serving size for fats and oils. For example, 1 tablespoon of regular salad dressing is one serving, but 1 tablespoon of low-fat dressing is half a serving.

Adapted from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2013

May. 07, 2013 See more In-depth