Did you know that March is National Noodle Month? With pasta being a staple in many people's diet, it's no wonder the National Pasta Association (yes, that's a REAL thing) would dedicate a whole month to it! Whether it's pesto pasta, pasta carbonara, tomato pasta or Olive Garden Chicken Pasta even, people can learn about the dish and all it's variants and get creative with cooking it!
But, is pasta safe to eat on a renal diet? If you have chronic kidney disease, you may be wondering if you can still enjoy your favorite pasta and noodle dishes while still maintaining your dietary restrictions.
Nutrition Information for Pasta
It's hard to give you exact details for the nutritional value of pasta, since different kinds and brands will vary. However, as an example…
One serving of cooked spaghetti noodles contains 200 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbohydrates, and also 2 grams of fiber. The enriched fiber of regular pasta makes it a good source of iron, folate, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin.
Pasta is typically low in phosphorus and potassium. Since most renal diets for chronic kidney disease limit the intake of these minerals, you would be safe to eat pasta without consuming too much of them.
When you are making pasta, you want to be sure you aren't pairing it with foods that aren't a part of your renal diet. Heavy meats or sauces can contain too much sodium, phosphorus, or potassium to fit within your CKD dietary guidelines.
Precautions for Pasta in your Renal Diet
- Stick with white versions of pasta in your meals. Some whole grain varieties produce wastes in the body that are very difficult for those with chronic kidney disease to process. Choosing white pasta can help with this.
- Watch out for sodium content. It's been said many times on this blog that sodium is NOT good for the kidneys. Before eating a pasta dish, or adding pasta to your meal, check the label to find out how much sodium you will be consuming.
- Stay away from pasta with added protein. Some brands offer an “Added Protein” option for their pasta products. It is important that you note this feature if you are on a limited protein renal diet.
- Eat pasta in moderation. With your CKD renal diet, moderation is always key. Avoid having pasta for every meal, but it is something most chronic kidney disease patients can enjoy on occasion.
Healthy Pasta Meals for your Renal Diet
If you are looking for healthy ideas for a pasta dish that works with your renal diet, here are a few to help.
- Creamy Pasta Primavera – This recipe from DaVita calls for whole-wheat bow-tie pasta, but you can always substitute white pasta if needed.
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup – Our healthy soup is perfect for the cooler winter months. It's a great low-sodium option that fits in with most renal diets.
- Rotini with Mock Italian Sausage – This dish comes from a downloadable cookbook from Kidney.org. There are several good meals here, not just pasta dishes that would follow most renal diets.
- Spicy Shrimp Linguine – A delicious renal diet friendly pasta dish shared on The Kidney Foundation of Canada website from a registered dietician!
Also published on Medium.