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1200 Calorie DASH Diet: Sample of a meal plan


If you are looking for the 1200 calorie DASH diet, you are probably fighting both hypertension and extra weight. Unless you are a very petite and inactive woman, you cannot live on a 1200 calorie diet, that’s why I assume that you are trying to lose weight. And you are doing the right thing: losing weight may reduce your blood pressure, there is a clinically proven connection between the two.

But you must be wondering how to do this on 1200 calorie DASH diet….

Easy Fruit Salads On 1200 Calorie DASH diet

Easy Fruit Salads On 1200 Calorie DASH diet

Bad news first:

  • It’s not easy. In order to meet the requirements of the DASH diet in terms of food group portions, and keep your hunger at bay, you will have to switch to the HEALTHIEST variation of the DASH diet.
    I will further explain what that means, but, for starters, it means that you cannot afford to eat any empty calories such as sugar or fat. Every calorie has to bring something into your body.
  • DASH diet doesn’t restrict calories directly. Instead, it makes sure you consume enough correct nutrients. You can end up consuming more than 1600 calories on 1200 calorie DASH diet, if you just follow its directions about recommended amount of servings.
    Servings of food on DASH diet contain different amount of calories. For example, both 1/4 bagel and 1/2 cup of rice are one serving of grains. While 1/4 bagel contains 36 calories, 1/2 cup of rice contains 85. As you can see, there is 42% difference between these two perfectly eligible foods.

Good news is, it is possible, and doing so will also reduce your blood cholesterol, improve your heart health, and aid in cancer prevention.

Why Listen To My Opinion About 1200 Calorie DASH Diet

If you wonder why should you listen to me, you are right – you should always question information received from the Net. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I have been researching healthy diets for years, and building meal plans that meet various dietary requirements for the last three.
I am not a dietitian, in fact, I have a Masters in Applied Mathematics, and this is exactly what enables me to build systems – in this case, dietary systems – when requirements to portions and calories are defined.
I also have both talent and passion for creating easy, healthy meals. If you want to try the 1200 calorie DASH diet, you can just pick any of my easy healthy recipes from my other site called Choose Healthy Food. I have dozens of well-tested DASH-compliant recipes there. The reason why I write about the DASH diet, is because I use it myself to lower my blood pressure when it starts rising from the stress I endure. It works for me and it worked for 85% of Harvard DASH diet study participants, so there is a big chance that it will work for you.

Another easy way to lower blood pressure you need to know about

There is another approach that helped people lower blood pressure naturally and without drugs within first week of using it. How would you like to lower your blood pressure below 120/80 in one week by doing three easy exercises? Discover more about lowering your blood pressure with exercises.

Of course, you should read the disclaimer and consult with your doctor before taking any advice from any website, including this one.

Healthy 1200 Calorie DASH Diet

Let us define how much of each food group we should eat on the 2000 Calorie DASH Diet.  In the table below,  you can see how many servings of each food group you should eat on the 1200 calorie DASH diet.  These values are received by calculation based on official 2000 calorie diet.  The table also gives you an example of food that constitutes that one serving ( 4.5 for Grains), and total calories that you will receive from eating recommended amount of servings of that food group( 293).  Calories are rounded.

Food group Servings Example of food Calories per serving Total Calories
Grains and grain products 4.5 1 slice bread 65 293
Fruits 3 6 ounces apple 90 270
Vegetables 3 1/2 cup cooked potato 68 204
Low fat or non fat dairy foods 1.5 2 cups cottage cheese 326 489
Lean meats, fish, poultry 1.125 chicken breast no skin 126 141.75
Nuts, seeds, and legumes 0.375 1 oz cashews 155 58.125
Fats and sweets 1.5 1 tsp oil 40 60
Total: 1515 calories

As you can see, it is easy to go over your allotted amount of calories while following the DASH Diet.

And when you look at servings, you can really see the variation in calories.

Guidelines To Keep Your Calories Under 1200

When I started creating a 1200 calorie DASH diet plan, I noticed that whole grain products provide a bit more calories than refined. For example, a cup of brown rice has 216 calories, while a cup of white rice has 189-205. So it is very tempting to use refined grain products instead of whole grain ones when you are trying to keep total calories under 1200. Don’t do it! First of all, you will be hungry, as refined grain products provide a spike of sugar in your blood, and once it is over, you feel hungry again. Complex carbs in whole grains are released slowly and you don’t want to eat, don’t spoil your health, and have better chances to stick to the diet.

In order not to get bored with same old same old tasteless rice, explore different varieties.


I will post the precise 1200 calorie DASH Diet plan in my next blog post. Here are the smart things you could do right now to make sure your DASH diet plan is right:

    1. Eat your fruit raw instead of canned: you never know how much calories are in the canned fruit due to the added sugar – and it is easy to go over your very modest sugars allotment for the week
    2. Choose nutrition-dense berries that are lower in sugar: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries. Use them on your morning cereal
1200 DASH Diet Plan Breakfast

1200 DASH Diet Plan Breakfast

    1. Do not use 100% fruit juices as a part of Fruit group. If you have a juicer, you will be much better off using green leafy vegetables juices with the addition of fruit and vegetables that lower blood pressure ( celery, watermelon, pomegranate, etc)
    2. Vegetables: Select mostly green leafy vegetables and not starchy ones, like potatoes. Not only do they contain Calcium, so that you don’t need to eat much dairy, but they also have tons of other benefits to your overall health. Stronger bones, better vision, cancer and heart events protection, to name a few. Eat more kale for it is the most nutrition-dense green leafy vegetable known.  Here are my very popular healthy kale recipes. Dietitians agree that eating more vegetables is beneficial for you, so if you are feeling hungry on your 1200 calorie DASH menu plan, i suggest you just eat more veggies.
Kale And Other Vegetables That Lower Blood Pressure

Kale And Other Vegetables That Lower Blood Pressure

  1. Eat more veggies and less grains.
  2. Include L-Arginine foods that produce Nitric Oxide into your menu: beans, turkey, garlic, etc.
  3. Try a no-fat diet, where the only fat you eat comes naturally from foods. This way you can save some fat calories
  4. Eat only whole foods, as they always contain less calories and more nutrition than processed foods
  5. Instead of sugar, try figs, dates and dried apricots.

So check out my recipes – they are all very low in fat and overall in calories and suitable for the 1200 DASH diet – just make sure to adjust portions. I will post an example of the plan soon to show you what exactly to eat on the 1200 calorie DASH diet plan.

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