A renal diet menu can be several types of renal diets.
Are you looking for a predialysis renal diet or a dialysis renal diet? Your menus will be drastically different. As you progress in kidney disease, you eat less protein to spare your kidneys. Then when you are on dialysis, you eat more protein because the dialysis wastes a lot of protein.
Let's talk for a moment about a predialysis renal diet menu. This type of diet will involve some of the most severe restrictions of any diet. You will work to lower your sodium, potassium and phosphorus – as well as eat lower protein.
Start with Salt!
2000 Mg per day. Can you read labels, because the information is right there? You should limit yourself to about 2000 mg per day. Learn where the salt amount is listed on the label. It's called sodium. Midway down on the label. If you are sticking to 2000 mg per day, then you should limit your meal time intake to 600 mg (three times per day). It can be very hard. Think of what you have to give up. You will no longer use shakers at the table. (And you cannot use potassium chloride for salt either!) If you can give up salt, you will need to find a good way to replace the flavor, and that is how you make it permanent. On the label, make sure you are following the amount for the serving size. It might be smaller than you think. Use spices instead of salt, and start appreciating that it is a way to bring out some of the flavor that may feel like it's missing.
Modify Your Protein Intake with a Renal Diet Menu
Protein is important in many ways to your body. You will not stop eating it. You will probably need to eat less. A 150 pound male would likely eat only 55 gm or protein per day as part of a renal diet menu. A woman who weighs about 135 pounds would need to eat about 40 gms of protein for the day. So, that is not very much for you to eat, about 3 ounces at lunch and 3 ounces at supper. Three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards. You should really watch the amount of animal protein that you eat, but you can go over a little with the vegetables and whole grains. Because you will need to have some fullness in your diet.
Beef has about 7 grams of protein per ounce of meat, same for poultry and fish. Bread and cereal only have about 4 grams per serving (slice or cup). Animal protein also adds other vitamins and minerals that you may want to be cautious with on your renal diet menu. You should be fine approximating amounts of servings, just don't go overboard with too much!
Next Step on a Renal Diet Menu – Potassium
Potassium is important to your body's function, but as your kidney disease worsens, you will find that they are unable to continue to keep the levels of potassium in your blood at normal levels. You don't want it too high or too low. As I mentioned in another post – potassium is an important nutrient in a renal diet menu. Knowing what foods are high and low potassium is valuable and will keep you in line. You don't have to stop eating high potassium foods, but you do need to eat them less often and eat your low potassium foods more often. A good balance is important, but you should know your kidneys are having a hard time with potassium, and watching your renal diet menu closely is important.
Next Up – Phosphorus
It's not very often that you need to control phosphorus. You should stop drinking dark colas because they contain a lot of phosphorus. But aside from that, your doctor would prescribe medication to help control your phosphorus as part of your renal diet menu. Drink clear sodas instead, and avoid chocolate and ice cream or milk. When I say avoid, I mean to drink or eat a minimal amount. Most of the time, unless you are told to do so, you should be fine with just a little restriction.
As part of a renal diet menu, there are renal diet recipes that you will be looking for that meet your needs. You can sign up for one of our meal plans to get new recipes and nutritional information weekly for your renal diet menu.
Click on one of the above links to find out more!
Also published on Medium.