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Getting Started with DASH

It's easy to adopt the DASH eating plan. Here are some ways to get started:

Change gradually.

 If you now eat one or two vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and another at dinner.
 If you don't eat fruit now or have only juice at breakfast, add a serving to your meals or have it as a snack.
 Use only half the butter, margarine, or salad dressing you do now.
 Try lowfat or fat free condiments, such as fat free salad dressings.
 Gradually increase dairy products to three servings per day. For example, drink milk with lunch or dinner, instead of soda, alcohol, or sugar-sweetened tea. Choose lowfat (1 percent) or fat free (skim) dairy products to reduce total fat intake.

Treat meat as one part of the whole meal, instead of the focus.

 Buy less meat. If it's not there, you won't eat it.
 Limit meat to 6 ounces a day (two servings)--all that's needed. Three to four ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.
 If you now eat large portions of meat, cut them back gradually--by a half or a third at each meal.
 Include two or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week.
 Increase servings of vegetables, rice, pasta, and dry beans in meals. Try casseroles and pasta, and stir-fry dishes, having less meat and more vegetables, grains, and dry beans.

Use fruits or lowfat foods as desserts and snacks.

 Fruits and lowfat foods offer great taste and variety. Use fruits canned in their own juice. Fresh fruits require little or no preparation. Dried fruits are easy to carry with you.
 Try these snack ideas: unsalted pretzels or nuts mixed with raisins; graham crackers; lowfat and fat free yogurt and frozen yogurt; plain popcorn with no salt or butter added; and raw vegetables.

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