(I originally posted this last year and, like Christmas, it’s that time of year again! Enjoy!)
‘Tis the season to be eating! At every turn, we’ll be faced with the questions like, “What can I eat?” and “What can I cook?” and they’ll be more often than usual.
Since cooking has become a hobby with me, I have some very good sites where this information is available. Perhaps the best site for recipes and meal planning is Davita.com/recipes. I visit there often to get ideas. It’s sort of a kidney-friendly Cooks.com (another place I visit for ideas but they are not kidney-friendly.
Davita also has a great diet planner that’s especially valuable to new dialysis patients. You enter your nutritional information that you can get from your dietitian and it will give you a meal plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks along with nutrition information. Simple, eh? After a time with that, you’ll be a pro at diet planning. They even have a diet prescription form you can print out to take to the dietitian.
The National Kidney Foundation has a webpage with dietary information and recipes in it. It’s particularly nice because it includes information for CKD, diabetes and dialysis patients and each recipe is identified as applying to each group. You can view it here. Also, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP.org) has a whole host of publications in their library that contain recipes.
Most pre-processed and pre-cooked frozen meals have lots of phosphorus, potassium, and sodium (salt) in them so my advice is to prepare your own food. Here, for example, is a workaround for Alfredo Sauce as an alternative to a packaged Italian meal from a popular source. Dialyspa’s Renal Support Group wrote about it in this blog posting. After a couple years of reading container labels at the store for pre-packaged foods, I started cooking most of my meals. It’s turned into a hobby of sorts but it helps me control the amounts of those foods I can and can’t consume plus the preservatives and additives that aren’t kidney-friendly.
In researching for this post, I found a new site I hadn’t seen before. It’s KidneysDoThat.org and they have a recipe for Egg Nog which, in it’s traditional form, is NOT kidney-friendly. However, they use non-dairy coffee creamer and that help reduce the phosphorus. It’s labelled as non-alcoholic but that can be remedied quickly and easily.
I’ve focused mostly on kidney-friendly recipe sources because they make it easy to create meals that are kidney friendly. If you want to access sources for specifics about what food to avoid and what you can consume, Here are some helpful links. Davita (again) has a webpage that identifies the top 15 foods that are kidney-friendly. It’s a helpful, general look at kidney-friendly foods.
You’ve probably seen posters of foods to avoid due to high phosphorus and/or high potassium. The problem is they are sometimes contradictory or confusing. It’s also hard to remember what they warned against when you’re at home or out shopping. I asked the dietitian for and received a smaller version of the poster that I put on my refrigerator. That helped in the early days of dialysis. I eventually learned the goods from the bads.
A website called LiveStrong has some good information in general terms about foods that are kidney-friendly. In their case, the site is pointed towards maintaining good kidney health and not necessarily for dialysis patients. But, what they have to say seems to apply to us. You can view the website here.
The manufacturer of Renvela, the binder pill, has a good checklist for low phosphorus foods. You can view it here. I like it because it identifies specific brands of foods that are low phosphorus along with categories of foods. It’s also a checklist format and able to be printed to take with you to the grocery store. Pretty clever actually.
The VCU Health organization from Virginia Commonwealth University has a publication about diet called, “The Renal Diet” and on pages 9 and 10 a grocery list that you can print and take with you to the store. It also has loads of information about all things associated with kidney failure and diet. Very informative!
I found another store-ready checklist you can print and take with you when grocery shopping. It’s from the Canadian Central East HLIN and the list is on pages 88 and 89. You can view the publication here and just page down to 88 and 89. However, there is a large amount of valuable information in it so, if you have time, go through the whole thing.
A group called Nepgrology Physicians LLC in Indiana has webpage of the traditional lists of foods high, medium and low in the various items we must attend to like phosphorus, potassium. protein, sodium, etc. I include this because it lists foods and sometimes specific brands which makes it easier to use on a practical basis while shopping.
I know how difficult it is to manage a kidney-friendly diet. It’s numerous times per day that I am looking at an item and asking, “Is this kidney-friendly?” or “Is this high or low in __________ (fill in the blank)” But, importantly, I am asking those questions. It’s taken a while to come to that. In the beginning, it was all very confusing but after a couple years, you learn what to eat and what to avoid.
© 2012 DevonTexas