Your renal diet is one of the most important pieces of the “living with chronic kidney disease” puzzle. You have to fuel your body with the right foods, and avoid those that aren’t beneficial to your condition.
With mindful eating, you can be sure you are following your renal diet and feeling happy and satisfied when doing so.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindfulness refers to being in the moment and aware of what is going on. As far as mindful eating, it’s all about paying attention to the foods you are choosing, the portion sizes you are filling up your plate with, and how these foods affect your mind, body, and mood.
When you are eating mindfully, you’ll notice you are making the best decisions for following your renal diet. You won’t have to worry so much about getting too much potassium or phosphorus – two minerals you need to be careful of when suffering from CKD – since you are will be choosing the right foods based on the renal diet your doctor has given you.
Mindful Eating Tips for Following your Renal Diet
- Assess your mood at mealtime. Comfort foods are likely your renal diet’s worst enemies. They usually aren’t healthy, and more often than not, they are on your food restriction list. These typically include foods that are loaded with carbs and sugar, such as cookies, cake and chocolate.
While these items may be okay in moderation, if you are mindlessly eating them to feel better, forget the sadness, or to reduce stress, you are putting your health at risk. Rather than grab the sweetest item in the store when you are feeling down, find other ways to handle your emotions, including yoga, walking, or talking to someone.
- Turn off the television. Eating while you watching your favorite show is the easiest way to eat mindlessly. You won’t realize how much you have eaten, and you can totally blow your renal diet out of the water if you are occupied while you snack. Be sure to put all electronic devices, books, and magazines away while you eat, so you can focus on the task at hand and be more mindful with your eating.
- Keep a food journal. Reflect on your meal choices each day. Note the amount of food you are eating, and what ingredients they contain (especially important if you are limiting intake of sugar, potassium, phosphorus, or other nutrients). This written account of your daily diet will show you where you need to make better choices, or where you need to keep up the good work!
- Learn portion control. Many people do not know true portion sizes when it comes to eating meals. They lob spoonfuls of meats and sides onto their plate until it’s full before sitting down to eat. However, portion control is a VERY essential part of mindful eating. When you know how much is “enough,” you’ll be able to better follow your renal diet.
- Keep healthy choices on hand. When you don’t have any unhealthy or restricted food in your home, you won’t be breaking your diet rules! Healthy snacks already properly portioned in storage containers or Ziploc bags make it easy to eat mindfully. Preparation is key in following your renal diet!
As you can see, mindful eating is important for following your renal diet. When you are aware of the foods you are consuming each time you sit down for a meal or snack, you can be sure you are eating only foods that are healthy for your body, and for your chronic kidney disease.