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No-Cook DASH Diet Meals

The DASH diet is all about balance and eating real food. But perhaps the real beauty of it is that you can follow it without cooking every single meal. To meet the goals of DASH, keep these four points at the forefront of your mind as you walk through your day:

  • Add a fruit. In other words, if you have a pita sandwich, add a fresh pear, an apple, or a fruit salad.

  • Add a vegetable. Add spinach leaves, alfalfa sprouts, peppers, or tomatoes to your sandwiches; add a side salad to your dinner.

  • Limit sodium and salt. Read labels and look for foods that say “no salt added.”

  • Include low-fat dairy. Have a glass of skim milk or add yogurt to your snack.

For some inspiration to get your creative juices going, check out these quick-and-easy ideas for no-cook breakfasts and snacks:

  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt topped with 1/4 cup granola and sliced banana or berries, drizzled with 2 teaspoons maple syrup

  • Banana spread with natural peanut butter

  • 20 almonds with an apple

  • Small homemade oatmeal raisin muffin with 8 ounces skim milk

  • Baby carrots or sugar snap peas dipped in 2 tablespoons hummus

  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with cubed cantaloupe

  • One slice whole-grain toast spread with 2 tablespoons low-fat ricotta cheese, plus 1/2 cup fruit salad

Lunches and dinners can be no-cook meals too. Run with the following ideas or use them as a springboard to develop your own no-cook recipes:

  • Hummus spread on 1/2 whole-grain bagel topped with alfalfa sprouts and chopped walnuts

  • Leftover pork loin cut into strips: in a pita pocket with chopped bell pepper or shredded cabbage, topped with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette or sweet-and-sour salad dressing

  • Chicken Caesar wrap: leftover chopped chicken breast topped with chopped romaine lettuce and spinach, plus 1 tablespoon Caesar dressing

  • No-cook tuna salad: Mix a pouch of low-sodium tuna with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, minced apple, minced onion, and celery; add about 2 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning of your choice and serve on a bed of tossed salad greens or put into a whole-wheat pita pocket

  • Salads are the easiest no-cook meal: You can top them with all sorts of chopped veggies and add a lean protein, and you’re all set. Make a dinner salad with mixed field greens, chopped bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, and chopped carrots, topped with 2 ounces of leftover chicken, beef, cottage cheese, or beans (use canned, rinse well). Add 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

  • Thai beef wraps: Mix 2 tablespoons lime juice with 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, one minced garlic clove, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Purchase 3/4 pound low-sodium roast beef from deli. Cut slices into strips. Place chopped lettuce onto a whole-wheat tortilla, top with beef, julienne-cut carrots, and chopped fresh mint. Drizzle 1/4 of dressing over, and repeat for remaining three tortillas.

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