Learn more about how to eat when you are in the early stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.
Living with renal disease can put a bit of a damper on your diet. There are restrictions and guidelines to follow that are aimed at keeping your body functioning properly, or as properly as possible.
Restrictions do not mean that there isn’t plenty to eat, however. Renal patients might find that they can eat more than they think. The key is to read nutrition and ingredients labels and know what to avoid. [Read more…]
This week in the podcast, I talked about my experience this last Christmas with heart disease. More specifically, with someone dying and someone living from having a heart attack. I thought I would elaborate more in this blog post.
This month we are talking about how to be more heart healthy. At the end of the month, I plan to have a fairly large sized informational book about how kidney disease and heart disease can be improved together. You see, most people who have kidney disease don’t die from kidney failure – they die from heart failure. If you didn’t know that, you might find it quite a surprise. While it’s true, I want to do what I can to make sure that you are equipped to do all that you can to be healthier. [Read more…]
Eating Out for Renal Patients
While you face plenty of dietary challenges, eating out for renal patients doesn’t have to be one of those challenges. With a little advanced planning and careful attention to detail you can enjoy a great meal even if you’re out on the town. Eating out for renal patients doesn’t have to be a huge challenge if you follow this excellent advice.
Select Your Restaurant Wisely
It’s important to choose restaurants that offer food that’s made to order. These are the facilities most accustomed to special requests and most likely to accommodate your requests to make eating out for renal patients much easier. If you have advanced notice, you can even call ahead of time to discuss menu options with the manager and explain your situation. For people who are sensitive about discussing medical conditions among family and friends this is an excellent option to consider.
Special requests you may consider include asking for salad dressing and/or gravy and sauce on the side or asking for no salt or butter on grilled, baked, or broiled dishes. Getting burgers without cheese and avoiding MSG in Asian dishes. These are crucial when eating out for renal patients as they may not only put you over the limit for phosphorous, sodium, or potassium for the day, but are sure to make you thirsty.
Ask Questions before Ordering
Your server should be able to answer any menu questions you have. At the very least, your server should be able to find out the information for you. Your server’s job, after all, is to make eating out for renal patients, or anyone else, as simple and enjoyable as possible.
Order Drinks in Kid’s Cups
These cups are small and won’t leave you tempted to drink too much during your lunch. Also, knowing that you have such a limited amount will help you ration your drink throughout the meal. The last thing you want is to be so careful when ordering your food is to be undone by drinking too much when eating out. For renal patients it’s really hard to leave liquid in a glass so don’t give yourself the temptation.
Practice Proper Portion Control
Most restaurants are not accustomed to cooking for people in renal failure. While this can be a challenge when it comes to eating out for renal patients, if you pay attention to portions and bring home what’s left for a future meal you shouldn’t have too much trouble staying on track even with super-sized portions. If taking it home is a problem, consider sharing a plate with someone else at the table or asking your server to remove what you will not be eating immediately so that you’re not tempted to overindulge when eating out for renal patients. Check out this portion control tool!
Eat Dessert First
You’re faced with so many restrictions while eating out for renal patients. Don’t wait to the end of the meal and hope you have room. Take the bull by the horns and eat dessert first. It’s not something you want to do at every meal, but eating out is generally a special occasion. Make the most of it and celebrate. It’s a great way to feel exciting about your eating out without being weighted down with fears or concerns over restrictions.
Little things like this make eating out for renal patients a pleasure rather than a pain. This will add years to the life you have remaining as well as the life you have remaining in those years.
It’s The Holidays!
It’s almost time for the big Turkey Day – Thanksgiving, and many people with kidney disease have been left to wonder what to eat on this holiday. It probably feels difficult to follow a low protein, or low potassium or low anything type diet on the day that is the poster child for overeating! Never fear, let me make your day a little easier.
You can enjoy the main course – turkey! It is low in fat (without the skin) and healthy. Just make sure if you are on a low protein diet that you eat about 3-4 ounces which usually looks about the size of a deck of cards. Add a little gravy and you are set with this yummy entrée. If you are on dialysis, you can eat more protein since your diet requires higher levels of protein. So, eat turkey accordingly. PS – you can make low sodium broth for use later with the bones. If you don’t want to make a large bird for the day, try roasted chicken or a smaller turkey breast.
For gravy, make it from pan drippings and thicken with flour or cornstarch to keep the sodium content low. Gravy is low in potassium and phosphorus, but packaged gravy is high in sodium. Watch out, though, pan drippings contain a lot of fat – you need some for the gravy but use caution. Cranberry sauce is something you can eat – it’s low in potassium and phosphorus and can add a little sweetness to your meal.
Side Dishes for a Healthy Renal Diet
Now, the rest of the food is possibly higher in potassium, but you can work around this. Balance is the key. Many people want the candied sweet potatoes, but they are high in potassium. So eat a small amount of those with a larger portion of green beans. Green beans are low in potassium and make a delicious choice. You can take it one step further by leaching the sweet potatoes before cooking. That way they have less potassium before they ever get cooked.
Start out by peeling the sweet potatoes, cut them into thin slices, and soak for about 4 hours in warm water. Once you have soaked them, you drain the water and add fresh water to cook them. Making them candied with some brown sugar or honey and margarine doesn’t add potassium. Watch out for the amount added if you are a diabetic and need to watch your carbohydrate exchanges. You could also choose candied or glazed carrots – we have a recipe in this newsletter.
To make a sweet potato casserole for diabetics, you can layer the pre-soaked boiled sweet potato rings with apple rings, add a little dot of margarine over the tops and sprinkle with cinnamon. Then you can scoop out what you like – you can bake it for a little bit if the apple is not soft enough.
Most of the time, with turkey comes stuffing. Find out if it was made from scratch or from a box. Unfortunately, most people take the short cut and it can be high in sodium. The good news is that it’s probably fine for potassium and phosphorus levels. Check out a box of Stove Top® stuffing at the grocery store next time and see how much sodium it contains. If you are in charge, see about making it from scratch and eliminating the seasonings that contain salt. If you want to add flavor, add celery, mushrooms and carrots – they are low potassium. And low sodium broth or stock to decrease the added salt. If you eat the stuffing, skip the breads and rolls. It’s easy to overeat – and almost everything has sodium.
Your Favorite Part of the Meal – Dessert!
Now it is time for dessert. The sweet potato pie has the same caution as the sweet potato casserole – it’s really one or the other. So eat a small slice if you must have both. Pecan pie is high in phosphorus so just a dab of it as well if you want some. Low potassium and phosphorus pies are apple and cranberry pies. While you still need to watch your overall calories if you are a diabetic, they are a good choice. If you are going to someone’s house, bring one along so you can have a dessert.
You probably are going to eat a larger meal than normal on this day – adjust the amount of your insulin and phosphorus binders appropriately to keep this meal from wreaking havoc on your body. Other things you can do that day to help make sure you don’t overdo it too much are to eat puffed rice or cream of wheat cereal for breakfast – and eating low potassium fruit with it (if you eat fruit with breakfast). You might even use non-dairy creamer to lower the potassium even further.
What to Do With Leftovers
For the other meal of your day, you can have a light turkey sandwich if you aren’t burned out on it. Otherwise, think about another bowl of cereal or a small hamburger. Eat that with low potassium vegetables and you should have a great Thanksgiving Day. Remember that the day is meant to be spent together with others (not shopping like the retail outlets would like us to believe) so most of all, enjoy your company on that day.
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