If you are always on the go, there is no need for chronic kidney disease to slow you down. Don’t feel like you have to stay home or slow down just because of your diagnosis.
However, you may have to make some adjustment to your eating habits when away from home in order to stick to your renal diet. It’s not so simple to just hit up a drive-thru when you’ve got dietary restrictions to follow so your kidneys function doesn’t rapidly decline.
Tips for Healthy Eating on the Go with CKD
Thankfully, eating healthy on the go can easily be done with planning and the other tips I will share below.
- Know your dietary restrictions. This one may go without saying, but it’s too important not to mention. Before you plan a trip, make sure you are fully aware of what you can and cannot eat on your renal diet. There should be no doubts, in order for you to choose your meals and snacks wisely.
- Always plan for your outings. If you know you have a busy day ahead, you will want to make sure you’ve made proper plans for your eating. Maybe you need to have a filling meal before heading out that will hold you over until you are back home. Don’t leave home on an empty stomach – as that just spells disaster for CKD patients!
- Choose healthy snacks you can pack. Keep your purse or vehicle stocked with a few renal diet friendly snack options. That way, when you are feeling famished, you can make a good choice that is also convenient.
- Know what you are putting in your mouth. It’s not enough to just think you are eating healthy. You’ll want to read nutrition labels or the nutrition information on a website or menu, if you are eating at a restaurant. Keeping close tabs on your intake of calories, sodium, and other restricted minerals will ensure that you still following your diet even on the go.
- Keep your own seasonings on hand. You should not be adding salt to your foods, even when you are out in a restaurant. By putting a small container of salt-free herbs or spices in your bag, you’ll have a flavorful meal even away from home.
- Prepare for unexpected trips. It’s always important to know what you will do for food in the event of an unexpected outing. Maybe you have to visit a friend in the hospital or drive across the state for a loved one. “Just in case” plans for your renal diet are always a good thing!
- Continue to exercise portion control when out of the house. Just because you aren’t eating at home doesn’t mean you should go overboard. You still have to stick to your renal diet, even if you are busy. Use Ziploc bags or small plastic containers to store proper portions of your snacks. That way, you aren’t tempted to eat too much by having the whole package in your hands.
- Research your fast food options. It’s bound to happen eventually…you find yourself out without renal diet food. As soon as your get your CKD diagnosis, start learning more about the restaurants in your area. Find out what you can order at a few different places, so you have healthy options available in a pinch.
- Keep water by your side. Sometimes you may feel hungry, when in fact you are just thirsty. Have a water bottle on hand at all times when you are out of the house. Staying hydrated may help with curbing your appetite so you don’t make unhealthy choices on the go.
- Use phosphorus binders when needed. If you just cannot find anything healthy to eat while out and about, you can use binders that will limit the amount of phosphorus that enters the bloodstream. Phosphorus is one the minerals you have to greatly restrict with chronic kidney disease, since it’s difficult to remove from the blood and break down.
Packing your Lunch Every Day for Work
One of the times that may get you as far as healthy eating while on the go is lunch at work. If you are used to heading out to your favorite restaurants every day with your coworkers, you are going to want to adjust your habits.
A simple sack lunch is always better than being tempted by a restaurant menu. Having your lunch packed ensures you meet your dietary restrictions for CKD.
Here are a few healthy lunch ideas for on the go:
- Make a sandwich with low-sodium lunch meat like chicken, turkey, or pork.
- No-salt-added canned tuna
- Egg salad – make your own so you know what’s inside
- Fruits as sides – a fresh apple, peach, grapes or strawberries
- Other healthy lunch sides – unsalted popcorn or pretzels, spice cookies
- Don’t forget to pack your phosphorus binders if needed!
Planning and prep are essential if you still want to eat healthy on the go. And you should always strive for healthy eating, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
It is important to be aware of the foods you are putting in your body at every meal, so you don’t exceed your dietary restrictions and make your kidneys work harder than they should!
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Also published on Medium.