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Kidney Diet Tips

August 6, 2014

  Please pass over the salt

iStock_000000597146Small-Salt Shaker PassFollowing a low-sodium diet would be easier to monitor if you bought only fresh, whole foods and prepared them at home. In current times, that just doesn’t seem so doable all the time. Enjoying the convenience of packaged foods and prepared meals as well as the pleasure of eating out at a restaurant means you really don’t know how much sodium is in the food you consume. One of the easiest ways to cut down on sodium intake is to pass up using table salt. It may take some getting used to, especially if it’s been a lifelong habit to add salt to foods—sometimes even without tasting first. Always check the sodium content on food packaging and choose the lowest sodium options. Even foods that don’t taste salty can contain a fair amount of sodium. Keep in mind that nutrition labels will show the sodium amount for one serving. If you eat more than one serving, you will need to do the math to figure out how much sodium you’re really eating. Avoiding foods that are obviously high in sodium, such as canned meats, deli meats, processed cheese, canned soups, chips and other salty foods is another way to pass on salt. Avoiding and limiting salt doesn’t mean you can never have a salty treat. Just make sure your other meals are very low in sodium to make up for a salty “cheat”.

To learn more about your sodium intake, use the Nutrition Tracker feature in DaVita Diet Helper to track your food and see how much sodium in your meals and snacks.

Resources from DaVita.com:

July 21, 2014

Is sea salt or kosher salt better than table salt?

SaltSea salt features a coarse texture and stronger flavor compared to table salt. Sea salt is made from evaporated seawater, so sea salt contains traces of additional minerals and is natural instead of processed. Kosher salt has large crystals and contains no preservatives. Kosher salt can be derived from seawater or underground sources. Table salt has fine granules and is mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is processed with anti-caking agent to prevent clumping. Some table salts are fortified with iodine, a mineral important for thyroid hormones.

While there are textural and processing differences in sea salt, kosher salt and table salt, all of these salts share one thing in common; all are high in sodium. While none of these salts is lower in sodium, due to the size of the sea salt and kosher salt crystals, a measured teaspoon will contain less sodium compared to the fine granules in table salt.  When following a low sodium diet, all salt should be limited. However, using larger textured sea salt and kosher salt may help reduce sodium by a very small amount.

Resources from DaVita.com:

June 24, 2014

Kidney Diet Tips Live Conversation at Google+ Hangout on Air

KDT Twitter ImageLet’s talk!

You are invited to join me for a live Kidney Diet Tips conversation on Tuesday, July 1st at 5 pm PT/ 6 pm MT/7 pm CT/ 8 pm ET. @DaVita Kidney Care is hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air sharing tips for managing the kidney diet. The panel will feature myself and another renal dietitian and two dialysis patients. We will answer kidney diet questions from viewers, so come prepared with your questions. RSVP to join the Hangout: http://bit.ly/KidneyDietTipsSummer

June 24, 2014

Hemodialysis and fluid intake: How much to drink?

iStock_000013019978Small-Water-IcePeople on in-center hemodialysis usually have dialysis treatments three times a week. The amount of fluid they can have is limited since the kidneys lose the ability to remove excess fluid from the body. Too much fluid can increase blood pressure, make the heart to work harder, and may cause shortness of breath.

To determine how much fluid to consume each day several things are considered, starting with urine output. Many hemodialysis patients no longer urinate due to complete kidney failure. In this case, liquids are usually limited to 32 ounces or 1000 ml each day. This amount will result in a daily fluid weight gain of 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds. Some hemodialysis patients still urinate due to residual renal function. For them, the fluid intake is usually more liberal. All obvious liquids like coffee, tea, juice and water plus items that are liquid at room temperature like ice, sorbet and gelatin count as part of a person’s fluid allowance.

How much liquid can dialysis patients consume each day if they still make urine? To find out, a 24-hour urine collection is measured. The measured volume is added to 1000 ml (1 liter or approximately 32 ounces) fluid allowance. For example, if the 24-hour urine collection is 500 ml, the fluid restriction is 1500 ml per day instead of 1000 ml. This is approximately 48 ounces or 6 cups of liquid each day. Residual renal function can decrease over time and fluid goals may change as a result. For people on home hemodialysis the treatments are usually more frequent—5 to 6 days a week. Fluid is removed more often so the daily allowance is greater. Dialysis patients are advised to weigh themselves daily to help keep track of weight and fluid balance.

June 13, 2014

What’s the difference between salt and sodium?

Eat Less SaltSalt is composed of two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Table salt (NaCl) contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. As much as we are told to limit sodium in our diets, we all need some sodium for good health. However, the average American diet contains about three times more sodium than is healthy, which leads to high blood pressure and other health issues.

Many natural foods contain sodium organically; however, in much lower amounts than processed foods. Processed and restaurant foods are the culprits for the high levels of sodium in today’s diets. By reading food labels you can see how much sodium foods contain to make better choices. Looking for labels with “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” and “no added salt” is helpful, but always look for the nutrition label to see the actual amount of sodium. Eating natural foods and cooking these foods yourself are the best ways to control your sodium intake. For people with chronic kidney disease, the goal according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010  should be to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day or the amount prescribed by their doctor. People on dialysis find it easier to control fluid intake when sodium intake is lower.

Basically, when it comes to the difference between salt and sodium, remember that consuming salt and processed foods is the ways we get sodium in our diets.

Resources from DaVita.com:

May 1, 2014

Renal Diet Recipes for Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

Fiesta RollUpsSoftTaco145Cinco de Mayo is celebrated throughout the US on May 5th. According to Wikipedia, “It originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War,  Read more…

April 28, 2014

DaVita Diet Helper “How to” Part 3: Using the Meal Planner to plan your own meals

Today’s post covers using the Meal Planner feature of DaVita Diet Helper to plan meals for a day, week or month. Pre-planned meals take the worry out of what to eat on a kidney diet, but planning your own meals allows you to select foods you like and plan from what’s on hand in your pantry and refrigerator. There are two ways you can use DaVita Diet Helper to plan your own meals. You can use the database to add recipes and foods in the Meal Planner section for each day, or you can first create meals using the “My Meal Creations” feature, then add the meals in the Meal Planner. I prefer the second option because the meal ingredients are entered only once and saved for future meal planning. This works great for meals that consistently contain the same items.

To plan your own meals in the Meal Planner first go to “View Day” for the day you are planning.  Remove the pre-planned, DaVita suggested meals by clicking on the delete icon for each meal occasion.

Diet Helper Add ItemsNext, click the Add Item button. The box that opens allows you to search for a recipe or food from the Diet Helper database or you can select an item from My Favorites, My Foods, My Meals or My Recipes—items you add to your personal DaVita Diet Helper database.

Select the foods, recipes or meals you want to plan for each meal occasion. After you have planned meals for the day, scroll down to the Nutrition Facts at the bottom to compare actual nutrients to your target nutrients. If necessary you can make adjustments in portions or items selected to be sure you are within your goal for important nutrients like protein, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

Diet Helper Nutrients

Next, click on any of the recipes in your meal and select ‘printer-friendly version’ to print the recipe. You also have the option to include nutritional information on your recipe. Continue the above steps until you have planned your meals for the week or time period desired. Use the Monthly Meal Plan feature to print a menu that includes the meals you have planned.

A second way you can use DaVita Diet Helper to plan meals is to first create your meals using the My Meal Creations feature. I will detail how this feature works in a future post, but it’s easy to figure out. From the Diet Helper dashboard or drop down menu select “My Meal Creations”, then “Add New Meal”.  Plan and save your meal. Now return to the Meal Planner and instead of typing in the foods and recipes for your meal simply select the meal from “My Meals”.

DaVita Diet Helper makes planning kidney diets easy—and you have a choice to plan your own meals or use the meals already planned to meet your daily nutrient targets.

The next DaVita Diet Helper “How to” covers creating your own recipes and meals using the My Creations feature.

Resources from DaVita.com:

April 18, 2014

Recycling Easter eggs for a protein boost

Deviled Eggs by DaVitaHappy Easter! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate life with family and friends and share a meal and fun activities. No doubt many of us are boiling, coloring and decorating eggs in preparation for Sunday’s Easter egg hunt. But what do you do with  the leftover hard-boiled  eggs?  Here are some kidney diet tips for recycling this tasty, high quality protein source. Read more…

April 10, 2014

DaVita Diet Helper “How to” Part 2: Meal Planner Pre-planned Meals

The Meal Planner feature in DaVita Diet Helper provides pre-planned meals, or allows you to create your own meals. The pre-planned meals, or DaVita suggested meals, provide kidney-friendly menus and recipes for 3 meals and 2 snacks each day. These meals are designed to meet daily nutrition targets for protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus selected in the meal plan settings.  The meals are on a 2 week rotation, plus additional meals are available in the “Substitute” list. Read more…

April 3, 2014

DaVita Diet Helper “How to” Part 1: Account Creation and Daily Nutrition Targets

DaVita Diet Helper is an online meal planning and tracking tool created specifically for kidney diets. You will benefit from using this tool if you are concerned with:

  • eating healthy for kidneys and tracking nutrients
  • limiting sodium for blood pressure control
  • balancing carbohydrates for diabetes control
  • reducing intake of phosphorus
  • getting the right amount of potassium

This “How to” blog series aims to  help you get started, and teach you to use the new features in DaVita Diet Helper.

Part 1:  Account Creation and Daily Nutrition Targets

The first step is to go to the DaVita Diet Helper promotion page at www.DaVita.com/DietHelper . On this page you can watch a short video to see an overview of the features. Next, click on the “Get Started Now” button to go to the account registration page. After completing the form click “Create My Account”. Be sure to record your email address and password for later reference. If you forget your password, use the “Forget your password?” feature to create a new one. If you already have a myDaVita.com account, click on “Sign in Now” to access your account and activate DaVita Diet Helper. Read more…

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