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February 23, 2015

Staying on Track with Your Kidney Diet

So far February has been packed full of holidays and events. Super bowl XLIX, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Chinese New Year and even the Oscars. Everyone has something to celebrate!  We’ve been tempted by chocolate candies, jambalaya, King cake, Dim Sum dumplings and chicken wings. These temptations can have an impact on how you feel and your lab results. As February winds down this week, it’s a good time to refocus on healthy eating for your kidney diet.

Here are 3 ways to get back on track, plus a 1-day menu to get you started.

  1. Clean up:  Get rid of the extra candy, cake and holiday foods that tempt you.
  2. Make a plan: Plan a menu for 3 days using kidney-friendly recipes.
  3. Stock up:  Take a trip to the grocery to stock up on staples and ingredients for your favorite renal diet meals.


Kidney Diet Healthy 1-Day Eating Plan


Cran-Apple Oatmeal Plus Egg

This one dish meal is a healthy and satisfying way to start the day. If you need more protein add an extra egg white. Cook fresh berries with the oatmeal instead of the cranberries if you prefer more fresh fruit. Complete this meal with toast, jam or fruit spread, and your favorite breakfast beverage. You can make a triple batch of the oatmeal with fruit and refrigerate the extra servings. The next day heat a serving of oatmeal and add the egg as instructed in step # 3.


Hawaiian Chicken Salad Sandwich ChickenSaladHawaiian-1914

Complete with high quality protein, fruit and bread, this island sandwich is tasty and nourishing. Adjust the portion to meet your protein goal. Select a lower sodium flatbread or crackers instead of tortillas or sandwich bread to keep sodium lower. Complete this meal with a side salad or serve the chicken salad on salad greens with crackers on the side. An extra dish of pineapple, plus water flavored with your favorite flavor enhancer drops make the perfect lunch.


Southern-Style Stuffed Peppers Stuffed Pepper2108632969_1cacc03117

Perfect for a weeknight dinner, stuffed peppers help you meet your vegetable quota and give a nutrition boost to the meal. This flexible dish can be made ahead then baked or reheated, plus you can adjust the amount of ground meat to meet your protein goal. Try different colors of peppers, couscous or barley instead of rice, or ground turkey instead of beef.  Add a dish of strawberries with whipped cream and iced tea to round out this healthy dinner.

Suggested SnacksStyle: "Neutral"

Honey Maple Trail Mix makes enough for snacks all week long!

Fresh chilled Gala apple (or your favorite variety).

Easy Salt-free Seasoning Dip paired with raw veggies or low-sodium crackers.

Add your favorite go-to kidney diet meals or select more kidney-friendly recipes from DaVita.com to finish a 3-day plan. Keep a go-to meal plan on hand to get back on track and refocus on a healthy kidney diet.

Check out these additional kidney resources from DaVita.com:


February 5, 2015

Kidney Diet Tip: Choosing the best milk substitute

MilkSubs-273Cow’s milk is naturally high in protein and minerals. An 8-ounce cup of 1% low fat milk contains 8 grams protein, 366 mg potassium, 232 mg phosphorus, 305 mg calcium, 107 mg sodium and 27 mg magnesium.

Because of the high levels of potassium and phosphorus in milk, people with severe or total loss of kidney function (stages 4 and 5 chronic kidney disease) are generally advised to limit milk to 4 to 8 ounces a day. Non-dairy milk substitutes such as almond, rice or soy milk are recommended instead. Read more…

October 8, 2014

Sandwich-High Blood Pressure Connection: Try These Lower Sodium Sandwich Tips

MyPlatePork-425Is your daily lunchtime sandwich contributing to higher blood pressure and weight gain? Medical News Today has a must read story “Your daily sandwich may be chewing up nearly 50% of your sodium allowance”.   The article describes a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that reveals a typical sandwich can contribute one fifth of daily sodium intake. In addition, people who consumed sandwiches averaged an extra 300 calories a day. Read more…

September 16, 2014

How can I make my kidney diet foods tasty?

Herbs and spicesWhenever a diet limits sodium, people tend to think that means their food will be bland. However, think of a low-salt diet as an invitation to introduce your taste buds to new sensations.

Here are some ideas to give your renal diet foods extra flavor: 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…

September 19, 2013

Kidney Diet Tips: Pumpkin and Kidney Diets

PumpkinsYesterday a  farmer friend delivered a fresh pumpkin to my mom’s front porch. Yes, it’s that time of the year— the beginning of fall harvest, cooler evenings, and soon-to-be leaves turning vibrant colors in celebration of another year passing.

As we were discussing what to do with the pumpkin, the question came up “How does pumpkin fit into a diet for stage 3 CKD?”  To answer, I’ve gathered  some kidney diet tips facts and figures on pumpkin  to share with you. Read more…

August 21, 2013

Summer cookout recipes for a kidney diet

iStock_000016880339XSmallLabor DayThe end of summer is approaching, and August  and September weekends are best times to stay out of the kitchen and plan a few last summer cookouts. One great way to stick to your kidney diet and still enjoy a backyard cookout is to host it at your house. Read more…

January 3, 2013

A Fresh Food Start for Your Kidney Diet

Happy New Year!

This is my favorite time of the year to not only reflect on the past year, but to start changes that will make 2013 even better. Today, my focus is on fresh foods in the kidney diet as a healthy change. The whole nation is experiencing a transformation in how we think about our food, with a renewed focus on

  • where and how food is grown
  • how it goes from the farm to food distributors, then to our tables
  • the amount of food processing and impact it has on personal health and the health of our country

This food transformation has an impact on kidney diet and food recommendations. New research on the best foods for kidney diets and health outcomes will further influence recommendations made by kidney health professionals in the future. Gaining control over how and what we eat means choosing fresh foods and preparing food at home instead of relying on takeout, fast foods, convenience foods and restaurants. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, used in policy making, education materials and nutrition programs, is a valuable resource with guidance for building healthy eating patterns and making healthy choices.

For kidney patients, a fresh food start means lower sodium, phosphorus and potassium intake from processed foods, and more control over what goes in or stays out of the foods consumed. Think about ways you can make a fresh start with your foods in 2013. Here are some of my suggestions. Read more…

June 7, 2012

Save your kidneys with a DASH Diet

A big question after diagnosis of kidney disease is “What can I eat to save my kidneys?” If you are in early stages 1 or stage 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD), or if you have normal kidney function but are at high risk for kidney disease, today’s kidney diet tips may save your kidneys and prevent or delay the need for dialysis in the future.

The June issue of Renal and Urology News contains an article by Alison Steiber, PhD, RD, LD titled “DASH-style Diet Effective in Preventing, Delaying CKD Progression”.  DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, so as you may guess part of the focus is to reduce sodium intake, which is recommended for anyone with high blood pressure or kidney disease.

The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. Emphasis is on lean proteins such as fish and poultry, whole grain products, legumes and nuts. The DASH diet is reduced in red meats, sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages.

Composition-wise, the DASH diet is high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, protein and fiber. Calcium, potassium and magnesium in the diet play a role in reducing blood pressure.




Steiber explores several DASH diet studies and makes observations for those with CKD:

  • The DASH diet and variations of the DASH diet are proven to result in significant reductions in blood pressure.
  • High potassium and phosphorus content of the DASH diet usually is not an issue in early stages of CKD, as these restrictions may not be prescribed until stage 3 or stage 4 CKD. (Dialysis patients are not advised to follow a DASH diet due to high potassium and phosphorus content.)
  •  ACE inhibitors prescribed for blood pressure control may cause more potassium retention, so routine monitoring is important.
  • A vegetarian DASH-style diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts but lower in protein may reduce protein (albumin) in the urine (measured as albumin excretion rate) in patients with proteinuria.
  • The DASH diet is associated with lower risk of kidney stone development.

High blood pressure, protein in the urine, and kidney stones are damaging to the kidneys and can speed the progression of kidney failure. For early stage CKD consider a DASH or vegetarian DASH-style diet to reduce blood pressure, reduce protein in the urine, prevent kidney stones and save your kidneys.

For more information on the DASH diet check out “Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with Dash”  or go to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to read more about DASH.

Consult your doctor or dietitian for advice on the best diet for your individual needs. 

 Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

April 24, 2012

The Delicious Dietitian: A new line of kidney-friendly seasonings and vinegars

How about some new flavor blends to spice up your every day meals?

I’ve discovered  a new line of spice blends and vinegars created with the kidney diet in mind. Jen Neese, CEO and Founder of The Delicious Dietitian, once worked as a dietitian in the renal community, plus her grandmother was a hemodialysis patient. Jen took her passion for flavor and her compassion for kidney patients and  created a line of kidney-friendly spice blends and wine vinegars. Each unique blend is intense in flavor, adding depth to vegetables, meats, salads, dressings, sauces and just about any other dish you want to try.

  • Seafood: a blend with lemon zest, sweet paprika, onion and ginger
  • Creole: Rich, warm Lousiana Bayou cooking flavors, including garlic, onion and thyme
  • Italian Mediterranean: a hearty balanced blend of basil, oregano and thyme
  • Southern All Purpose: a hint of French flavors with lavender
  • Southwest: savory south of the border taste
  • Thai: exotic Asian curry, ginger, garlic with additional herbs to balance the flavors

I tried the Southern All Purpose blend on sliced eggplant,  sauteed in olive oil until tender–excellent and tasty, no salt needed. If you have low potassium greens, like kale or turnip greens, add a splash of one of the fruit wine vinegars and a sprinkle of the Thai blend. For blackened fish or chicken, try the Creole. One word of caution–go light on the seasonings because a little bit goes a long way with these intense flavors!

The wine vinegars are produced from apple, muscadine and blueberry, giving a fruity mild flavor that lingers on the taste buds. I mixed the red muscadine wine vinegar with  extra virgin olive oil and the Italian Mediterraneon blend and served over spring mixed greens.

Jen is aware of the importance of regulating sodium, potassium and phosphorus in the kidney diet. Her products are not only free of sodium. There’s no potassium chloride or phosphate additives either. In addition, this dietitian made sure many people dealing with health issues could benefit from her product line. There’s no sugar, gluten, MSG or fillers added to any of the spice blends or vinegars.

If you are interested in trying these flavor enhancing products, visit The Delicious Dietitian website or download the TDD Flyer.


What are your favoite ways to use seasoning blends and vinegars?



 Kidney diet resources from DaVita.com

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