Choosing the right snacks is a vital part of any healthy and balanced diet. For people living with renal issues, the right snacks can be even more difficult to find.
For some, a vegetarian diet might seem like it would make snacking more difficult for people on a renal diet, but you might be surprised. A vegetarian renal diet can be beneficial for renal patients.
How is a vegetarian diet beneficial for renal patients?
In most cases, following a healthy plant based vegetarian diet can lower your lipid profile. This means that there is less fat in your blood, making it easier for your body to process. This is beneficial for renal patients because there is less for the kidneys to filter through. Plant based proteins have also been shown to reduce kidney damage and lower the amount of protein filtered through urine. All of this makes it easier for your kidneys to function.
Are there any downsides to a vegetarian renal diet?
While a vegetarian diet can be quite beneficial for renal patient, there are some downfalls. At some stages of kidney disease, patients might require dialysis. During dialysis most patients are recommended a higher protein intake than in the beginning stages of kidney disease. In some cases, patients find it difficult to consume enough protein on a vegetarian diet, especially because of protein and potassium restrictions that limit many vegetarian meat replacements.
In these cases, however, a physician or nutritionist can help a patient choose the right kinds of foods to eat to ensure proper protein intake, or supplements can also be prescribed.
What foods should not be eaten on a vegetarian renal diet?
For vegetarians and all diets alike, renal patients should stay away from foods that are high in phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. These nutrients are dangerous to renal diets because they affect how blood flows and how easily it can be filtered through the kidneys.
Some popular vegetarian foods that fall under this category include: tomatoes, bananas, nuts, legumes, seeds, and some fruits should be monitored, limited, and in some cases avoided.
What are some recommended snacks for a vegetarian renal diet?
Despite the many restrictions of a renal diet, vegetarians still have many options available to them for daily snacks.
- Unsalted soft pretzels
- One cup of berries with whipped topping
- Nut-free trail mix
- ½ cup red grapes
- Raw sweet peppers
- ½ cup fresh strawberries
- Berry smoothie
- Raw cauliflower with light ranch dip
- Kale chips
All of these are healthy vegetarian options for renal diet snacks. Of course, everything should be eaten in moderation to maintain proper potassium levels. You might be surprised to find that, in moderation, most fresh vegetables are likely to be on the list of things that are okay to eat on a renal diet.
Be sure to discuss your diet, and especially any diet changes, with your renal dietician and/or physician. Your specific diet might be different than another renal patient’s, and it is best to be safe than sorry. With your physician’s guidance, you will easily find many snack options for a vegetarian renal diet.