November is National Diabetes Month. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH Diet) is associated most with high blood pressure (i.e., hypertension), but did you know that it’s also a great eating plan for those with diabetes?

If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor when you eat, and how much. Taking carbohydrates into account at each meal can help you maintain healthy blood sugars and avoid the complications that can go along with a diabetes diagnosis.

The DASH Diet is low in sugar. If you have diabetes, sugary foods should be limited and sugary drinks should be avoided. The diet also encourages you to include sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat in your diet. One way to do this is adding foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados to your salads. You can also use vegetable oils such as canola or olive oil for cooking.

The DASH Diet also includes three servings of lowfat dairy daily. Including dairy in your diet can help control weight and lower blood pressure. Healthy blood pressure also keeps your risk for stroke at bay.

Here are five easy ways to get your three daily servings of dairy:

  1. Include lowfat milk in the morning. Have a bowl of high-fiber, low-sugar cereal with milk or simply enjoy a glass of milk with a slice of whole grain toast topped with peanut butter. Cook your oats with milk instead of water.
  2. Mix up a yogurt parfait for a mid-day snack. Layer plain yogurt with fresh fruit (e.g., sliced berries or bananas) and a few tablespoons of granola.
  3. Add flavor with cheese. Use lowfat cheese as a flavor agent when cooking. A few tablespoons of cheese can add some zing to rice or vegetable dishes!
  4. Enjoy a smoothie after work to get you through the dinner crunch. Add milk, yogurt and frozen fruit to the blender and give it a whirl.
  5. Add lowfat cottage cheese to your tossed salad or serve a bowl of it at the dinner table as a starter or side dish. Some enjoy it with cracked pepper; others may prefer a dusting of cinnamon.

Even if you don’t have diabetes, the DASH Diet has some good eating tips to keep a healthy diet. Happy eating!