Building a Renal Diet Grocery List – Canned Vegetables vs. Fresh Vegetables – Which Is Better for My Renal Pre-Dialysis Kidney Disease?
If you live in an area where fresh vegetables are not readily available or affordable, you may feel your options are limited to canned vegetables. It may also be the case that fresh vegetables are not available at this time of year for you to choose. If this is the situation that you are facing, you must consider many factors when choosing these items and you need a renal diet grocery list.
With kidney disease, you must take care to limit your consumption of protein, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. You may need to watch your carbohydrate intake if you have diabetes as well. Unfortunately, because of these factors, canned vegetables can be a little trickier to pick than fresh vegetables. Don't forget you can choose frozen vegetables, and they are similar in nutritional content to what a fresh vegetable would be. So they may be a great compromise when you are really wanting to use fresh vegetables but they are not available. And remember, even though they may cost a little more, you will be eating less meat or protein so your grocery bill should be in a better place!
Generally, canned foods are high in sodium. Fortunately, these items also are required to list the sodium content on the nutrition label. This part of the label can be consulted to see if the item would be acceptable or not. The percent daily value (%DV) that is on the food label should be no more than 6-10% to stay within the limits of your pre-dialysis renal diet. Most canned foods are significantly higher than this amount. Look for items that are marked sodium free, very low sodium or low sodium. Items are marked as reduced sodium or light in sodium may be reduced to an acceptable level . Sometimes these canned foods are still are a sodium level that is too high for your intake.
Another tip – you can rinse canned vegetables and reduce the sodium content by an average of 35%. It's a great way to use regular canned vegetables if you already have them in the house and don't want to discard them.
Sometimes if there is no salt added, there may be added potassium. You can notice if this is the case by checking the ingredient list. One form of potassium that is often used as a salt substitute is potassium chloride. If this is added, usually the food is too high in potassium to consume. When reading the label, check for the word potassium in the ingredient listing – if it's at the top, you probably have too much.
Potassium is not required to be marked on nutrition labels, yet some manufactures add it for certain products. If a food is under 200mg the RDA may label it as 6%. This is what is acceptable for you intake. If it is 100mg or 3% the RDA, this is a low potassium food. If the item is above 6% it is too high for your current intake.
If potassium is not listed, you still need to be careful. You must be aware of vegetables that are low in potassium. If you are not sure, it is better to make note of the vegetable and check before you risk it being high in potassium.
Labels are not required to post the phosphorus in foods either. If it is posted as an RDI (recommended dietary intake) make sure it is under 15%. These foods would be 150mg. If an item is 50mg (5%) or less it is a low phosphorus food. More than 15% is considered a high phosphorus food and should be avoided if your levels are high, which your doctor or dietitian can help you determine based on labs. Canned beans (black beans, re-fried beans, kidney beans) are particularly high in phosphorus and should be avoided. Canned green beans and mixed vegetables are lower in phosphorus.
Check out our listing of potassium and phosphorus levels of a lot of foods and a huge variety of foods right now – go to the store armed with the list! Click Here
Sometimes canned vegetables have added sugar. If you have diabetes, you should be particularly concerned with this value. One carbohydrate serving is considered 15g. This information can be found in the “total carbohydrates” category on the food label. Total sugar that is in a food is grouped into this value, making it a more accurate number to look for if you have diabetes. Fiber also is something that you should pay attention to on the nutrition facts label. The higher the fiber, the better it is for your blood glucose control. A good source is considered 10% of the %DV and a high source is 20% of the %DV.
Be careful to note what the serving sizes are in food since often they are much smaller than you would assume. If you are consuming double the serving size, it is important to note that you are consuming double the sodium, potassium, phosphorus and carbohydrate amounts and thus they can be above your restriction. The serving size is listed in the nutrition facts label.
It is rare that canned foods are better than fresh foods. There is much more to consider regarding canned vegetables. You still must be aware of which vegetables are high versus low in potassium and phosphorus. Yet, it is possible to include these items in your diet by taking note of certain items that may be added such as sodium or potassium.
You can choose fresh and frozen vegetables, which will be lower in sodium, but you still need to pay attention to the potassium and phosphorus amounts in them because they could be a product that is high in potassium or phosphorus naturally. Check out the potassium and phosphorus lists we have – Click Here – and go to the store with a great renal diet grocery list.
Also published on Medium.