On A Pre-Dialysis Diet, You May Need To Eat On The Go
What does that mean, eat on the go? A pre-dialysis diet requires that you follow certain restrictions and limit your intake of certain types of foods. Namely salty foods and foods high in protein. That will pose a challenge to you as you follow the limitations. I know that it's sometimes hard to understand what to eat, and that is why – for the majority of the time – we recommend that you eat at home and eat food that you prepare. This allows you to control the portions and how the food is made.
A Pre-Dialysis Diet Can Be Followed When Eating Out
In the early stages of kidney disease, you need to limit the amount of sodium and protein that you eat to limit the damage you do to your kidneys. If you can reduce the damage that is done to your kidneys through eating healthier, that is the best way to help your kidneys work longer and help you to not have to go to dialysis. So following a pre-dialysis diet will really help you in the long run.
3 Tips To Follow When Eating Out On A Pre-Dialysis Diet
1. Plan ahead and know where you will be while you are trying to follow a pre-dialysis diet. That seems to be reasonable, right? But most people don't do it. You will need to know where you are going and research what is in the area. The other part of planning ahead is to bring food with you. If you are driving all day, you may find it helpful to keep a cooler in the car with you and have foods that you can eat. You can take food with you, like plain low salt crackers. Crackers (not whole wheat) are a good snack. You can eat some apple slices and crackers and be doing quite well. You can download an app for your smartphone if you need to learn more about your foods. Another book that I suggest you get and carry with you is the The Calorie King Calorie, Fat, & Carbohydrate Counter 2012. It's got all kinds of foods and references restaurants as well. In a pinch, you can guesstimate the best foods to eat as part of your pre-dialysis diet. I love this book, it has a large amount of information. In a pinch, you can guess using another item that is close to the item you need at another restaurant.
2. Know what the low protein foods are on the pre-dialysis diet. Your main concern is to reduce your intake of protein and salt. If you can order the lunch size portion, please do. Even if it is a little higher outside of lunch hours. Or order items “ala-carte” from the menu. You do not have to order the entire meal! Even if it costs less, unless you are going to split it with someone – order what you will eat. You will be setting yourself up for failure if you can't portion this food out. Order a vegetarian style meal for your pre-dialysis diet dinner. If you can get the spaghetti with just alfredo sauce, and no meat, you would do great. If you can eat some white bread with butter or chips and a small amount of salsa. I would also consider getting the vegetable plate – corn, green beans, squash, lettuce, carrots and cauliflower are great things to eat that are low potassium foods. Ideally you can order a small portion of meat (if you want it) and the rest as grains – like pasta or rice, and vegetables.
One of my friends used to take her own bread with her to restaurants where she knew it would be a problem. That is thinking ahead, she knew where she was going and what the problem could be so she was prepared.
3. Ask for alterations in how your food is prepared. People are used to this by now – especially in restaurants. I would recommend you explain that you have special dietary needs, and you need to understand how the food is prepared. If people don't understand that, it's not a place that you want to eat. You don't have to tell them that you have kidney disease, but you may need to explain what types of alternatives that you would like. Food that has not been salted or seasoned or marinated to reduce the amount of sodium in the final product. One of the safest bets will be a plain chicken breast, you can get that at most places. You can ask for your server to not add the dressing to the salad, and to put it on the side. You can ask them to not add cheeses or sauces to items. Those are just a few thoughts but you really need to know that you can ask for items to be changed in the restaurant or establishment. If they are unwilling to do that, you should avoid eating there.
So to recap, if you are out and about on the town, to manage your pre-dialysis diet needs, you should follow these tips for better eating.
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Also published on Medium.