Kidney Diet Tips

Healthy Eating Tips to Celebrate National Dietitian Day

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day to all the dietitians reading today’s post! Today is a celebration for healthy eating!

DaVita dietitian Donna Roy interviewed a group of DaVita dietitians to share their healthy eating insights.

March is National Nutrition Month®, a time when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. This special dietitian day is a way to bring attention to healthy eating. In an age obsessed with health fads and diet trends, it seems like the idea of simply eating “healthy” has taken a back seat to things like juice cleanses, restrictive diets, and dietary supplements. So what exactly does eating for a healthy lifestyle entail? And how do you combine this with the kidney diet? A few of DaVita’s Registered Dietitians share their advice and general nutrition tips on plain and simple eating healthy.

A healthy lifestyle starts at the grocery store, and dietitian Emily Phillips shares how to shop a little healthier. “Shop the perimeter of the grocery store,” she says. “This is where the freshest and least processed foods (fruits/vegetables, meats, eggs, dairy) are. The center aisles of the store are often carry most of the prepackaged, processed foods.” Seems easy enough right? But what if you find yourself wandering into the chip aisle? “Get in the habit of reading food labels when you grocery shop, and pay attention to serving sizes given on the label compared to what you normally eat,” says Kelly Kroiss, RD. Be familiar with your kidney diet or review your food guide while making a shopping list. After grocery shopping comes meal preparation. “Get back to basics with more home/slow-cooked foods versus fast food fare”, encourages Anne Ishmael, RD. Home cooking gives you much more control over sodium and means fewer ingredients with phosphate additives.

For some, the words “healthy and nutritious” are synonymous with “restrictions and limitations”, which is not the case at all. Anna Graml, RD advises, “Consistency and moderation is key; don’t exclude any particular food group. Variety is the spice of life”. This means that contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are safe to eat, and eating healthy does not have to be boring!  There are so many food choices today that are quite delicious and nutritious.  “Make your plate a rainbow of color!”, says Terry Wicke, RD. This means choosing a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources at each meal, within the guidelines of your kidney diet eating plan. “Utilizing this plate method to set up your meals can be beneficial whether at home or out at restaurants to maintain a heart-healthy, portion controlled meal plan for any lifestyle,” says Keri Yee, RD. Don’t stress out though– it’s okay to fit in a dessert occasionally in a healthy diet,” says Donna Roy, RD.

Food is not the enemy, it’s actually our body’s greatest friend. Use it to your advantage! Do you want more energy? It starts with healthy eating. Tina Watson, RD believes it’s important not to skip breakfast. Luz Cramer, RD adds that adequate protein for breakfast starts the day off best. Want to lose a few pounds? Megan Wilder, RD advises to “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” to help reach weight goals. Demetrius Manning, RD believes that a good source of protein at all meals helps maintain fullness during the day. “Try plant-based proteins, which are fat-free and high fiber in most cases,” encourages Matilde Ladnier, RD, and also try eating 5-6 small meals per day to keep up your metabolism, which decreases when your body goes too long without food. Also it is important to remember that our diet doesn’t just consist of food, but beverages as well. “Avoid liquid calories if you’re watching your weight. Sodas, coffee beverages, sports drinks, and other sweetened beverages can add a lot of calories to your daily total. Also steer clear of the artificially sweetened versions. They may have only a few calories, but their sweet taste can entice you to eat other less nutritious foods.  “Water is a better option,” says Donna Sonnier, RD.

Want more information? Consider consulting with a Registered Dietitian! Ask your physician for a referral or search for consulting dietitians in your area online at eatright.org. Remember licensed health professionals are the only individuals with training and authorization to give diet advice. Be wary of nutrition gimmicks and don’t trust everything you read on the Internet.

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.